Close off the rat run

PUBLISHED: 12:32 20 April 2006 | UPDATED: 10:01 06 May 2010

In response to Sue Peachment s letter of last week and comments related to the closure period of Rectory Lane and traffic flow on nearby routes during that time, may I refer her and others to the Hertfordshire Highways report issued after the closure peri

In response to Sue Peachment's letter of last week and comments related to the closure period of Rectory Lane and traffic flow on nearby routes during that time, may I refer her and others to the Hertfordshire Highways report issued after the closure period. In that report on page 15 the highest acceptable flow levels are included. They were preset prior to closure for Walkern Road, Letchmore Road, Almonds Hill and Sish Lane.

Also included are all the statistics for volume and speed collected prior and during closure along these routes during the 12-hour daytime period over a week. You will see that those acceptable flow levels were not exceeded and the police summary states that the closure has not had a significant effect on other residential roads, but has steered traffic back onto the main road network and it would be a retrograde step to reopen Rectory Lane. Closure has revitalised walking and cycling along Rectory Lane. An explicit statement from those with superior traffic judgement should not be ignored.

There is also a county council traffic policy stating the county council will encourage through traffic to use primary routes. The main function of a local access road such as Rectory Lane is to provide access to properties. This in turn should result in a safe area for schoolchildren which is the objective of the safer routes to school project. It should be borne in mind that it was the authority which selected Rectory Lane as part of that project and not the residents of the lane.

How is it that infrastructure improvements are not put in place in readiness for such vast areas of development as Great Ashby prior to creating the problems which now exist for drivers wishing to reach the motorway and other routes out of town? Inevitably rat runs are created without major road improvements.

In January another traffic survey took place in Rectory Lane. It proved a 35 per cent increase over a 16-month period each 12-hour daytime. During those few months there was modest expansion of Great Ashby compared with the next phase of 700 new dwellings. Inevitably that will only exacerbate traffic problems along Rectory Lane unless a preventative measure is introduced by the county council who has recently had the matter referred to them.

Do we have to wait for the inevitable to happen to one or more pedestrians in the Lane before appropriate action is taken? Surely it is only common sense to provide safety by closing off a rat run rather than 15 humps which would only reduce volume for the national average of 5-7 per cent and costing half a million pounds. Put this money towards improvement of the primary routes.

ROSEMARY TOMPKINS, Rectory Lane, Stevenage

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