County council to support Hitchin transport plans

A SERIES of proposals intended to solve transport problems in Hitchin will move a step nearer when a county council considers the proposals on Tuesday.

A final draft of the Hitchin Urban Transport Plan - which consists of a number of short, medium and long term measures for the town - is expected to be endorsed by a Herts County Council (HCC) Highways and Cabinet Transport Panel.

The report includes changes to some of the original plans, which were deemed controversial by councillors and residents.

It was suggested to create one central bus stop on Hermitage Road, and to block off all access by vehicles on that road other than buses.

But it is now proposed to create a shared access, where cars will be allowed on the road providing they recognise that pedestrians have the same rights as they do, while still creating the centralised pool.

Cllr David Billing, who sits on a special steering group for the transport plan as well as the North Herts Highways Joint Member Panel, said: “The original proposal was not acceptable to Hitchin people, both drivers and businesses on the road.

“Residents may not immediately understand the concept of shared access, but it’s proven and we know that it will work.”

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Plans to prevent vehicles turning right at the lights were also challenged, and have now been removed from the draft.

It was originally suggested that the proposal was put in place to prevent HGVs from turning right, but these claims were quashed and it was suggested that the move would only create traffic chaos.

Other measures that will be considered by the HCC panel include improving pedestrianisation of the town centre, improve signing on the cycle network and introducing real time information for car parking.

If the proposals are approved, it will be down to the county council to decide how much funding can be allocated and to what sections of the scheme.

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