Row over road is rumbling on
PUBLISHED: 12:38 11 May 2006 | UPDATED: 10:09 06 May 2010
Rectory Lane, Stevenage, I hope you will allow me to respond to a number of points made by various correspondents in the last couple of weeks. 1) If you compare Rectory Lane with Walkern Road, the traffic volume is quite similar. Certainly the parked cars
Rectory Lane, Stevenage, I hope you will allow me to respond to a number of points made by various correspondents in the last couple of weeks.
1) If you compare Rectory Lane with Walkern Road, the traffic volume is quite similar. Certainly the parked cars in Walkern Road are a hazard but at least in Walkern Road there are areas kept clear of parked cars near the schools, where children crossing the road have a clear line of sight. In Rectory Lane, pedestrians are forced to cross the road on dangerous bends where visibility is severely restricted. This is a danger to all pedestrians, particularly children walking to school, and the elderly.
2) During the experimental closure of Rectory Lane, traffic counts proved that it made only a small difference to traffic in neighbouring roads. The increase in safety since then is no doubt due to the extra measures such as speed humps in these other roads.
3) Around 60 per cent of traffic using Rectory Lane is now rat-run traffic cutting through from the St Nicholas or Great Ashby area. It is not heading into Stevenage, but for the A1 or other routes out of Stevenage. If this cut-through was closed, almost all the traffic would be diverted onto the nearby dual carriageway. It would not take more roundabout routes through other local roads as suggested by one correspondent - those routes are longer, and rat-run motorists head for the shortest route.
4) Traffic in Rectory Lane is increasing far faster than on other local roads. This is due to the continuing expansion of housing in NE Stevenage, generating more and more rat-run traffic.
5) The experimental closure of Rectory Lane was not at the request of residents. It was asked for by parents and teachers at the local schools, who felt the lane was too dangerous for pupils walking and cycling to school. The right to use roads applies to pedestrians and cyclists as well as motorists.
6) Residents certainly do not want a private road. We simply want a reduction in traffic to safer levels. There are various ways this could be achieved - closure of Rectory Lane is only one possibility. In any case, there are many cul-de-sacs in the Old Town (some created fairly recently by blocking off roads) and half the houses in the New Town are in cul-de-sacs. No-one sneers at those as private roads. Around 20 years ago, an independent inspector said that the lane was totally unsuitable for the amount of traffic it carried. This is all the more true now.
7) The residents were recently asked to approve a scheme for traffic calming. Due to the nature of the lane, this would have required major lighting and drainage work, and the total cost was estimated at half a million pounds. It was then admitted that there was no money in the budget for such a scheme, so it would probably not happen for years, if ever. We believe a much more effective solution is possible at only a fraction of this cost.
8) The proposal by one correspondent last week for tidal flow - one-way downhill during the morning rush-hour, and uphill during the evening rush-hour - would be fatal (possibly literally). It would simply raise the speed of the traffic, making the lane far more dangerous to pedestrians.
With great respect to the residents of Rectory Lane Stevenage and the needs of road users, I wish to make the following comments and suggestions:-
1) It should be accepted Rectory Lane should be used for the benefit of all road users not just for the exclusive needs of residents.
2) It is a fact the road, especially on bends and other places is narrow and difficult to negotiate for vehicles travelling in opposite directions.
3) I therefore suggest the flow of traffic entering Rectory Lane should be restricted or controlled so that traffic is allowed to travel in one direction only. Ideally, this should be arranged with a traffic-light system to allow traffic to outflow morning and inflow in the afternoon.
4) Finally, the road is in a disgraceful state of disrepair. It is badly rutted and pot-holed, like a Third World cart it desperately needs completely resurfacing.
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