Barton le Clay Road Traffic Calming Works
The Barton-le-Clay Traffic Calming Plan was initiated in 2014 and the stated objective of the initiative is:
“A proposal by Barton-le-Clay Parish Council to solve excessive traffic speeds within the parish, thus improving safety for our children and elderly residents, reducing traffic induced noise levels and improving the quality of parish life for all our residents”.
The initiative commenced due to the excessive traffic speeds encountered within the village resulting in the issues below:
- Correspondence on excessive speeds goes back many years between parishioners, the parish council, local county councillors and various authorities including the police and CBC (Central Bedfordshire Council).
- Residents are greatly concerned for their safety while walking on village footpaths due to excessive speeds by passing through traffic.
- Residents are greatly concerned for their safety while crossing B class roads within the village due to excessive speeds by passing through traffic.
- The excessive speeds by through traffic, and by passing traffic on the A6 bypass, is causing considerable vehicular noise pollution within the village.
- Accidents and incidents are only avoided currently due to residents minimising general pavement pedestrian movement, restricting children’s cycling within the village, parental escorting of children for all village activity and by severe restrictions on elderly residents movements.
- The stress, anxiety, hazards and noise caused by the excessive traffic speeds is not a tolerable long term situation for the residents of Barton-le-Clay, with clear evidence of psychological retreat manifest.
From correspondence received to the PC (Parish Council), pleas and delegations to the PC in session and investigations conducted, it was clear that the vast majority of residents wanted the situation resolved by a comprehensive integrated traffic management plan.
CBC 2015 Speed Survey
The intolerable traffic speed situation was brought to the attention of Central Beds Council in 2014 and CBC commissioned an independent traffic speed survey. The key points of the survey were as follows:
The Survey was conducted over period 01 May to 30 May 2015 by independent consultants.
Survey Output Highlights:
- Substantial excessive speed on all class B and C roads through Barton-le-Clay village.
- Hexton Road (B655/30mph): Average Fastest Speed (7 day average): 63.1mph
- Luton Road (B655/30mph): Average Fastest Speed (7 day average): 66.5mph
- Sharpenhoe Road/30mph): Average Fastest Speed (7 day average): 50.4mph
- Bedford Road/30mph: Average Fastest Speed (7 day average): 56.9mph
- Higham Road/40mph: Average Fastest Speed (7 day average): 62.7mph
The Survey Output fully supported empirical observations by residents.
The Five Year Plan
Due to limitations on CBC budgets the only possible scheme available to the village and CBC was the utilisation of the Rural Match Funding (RMF) a scheme designed for ‘minor’ works whereby initiatives by Parish Council are funded jointly by the parish council themselves and the local council.
BPC submitted a five year plan in 2015 to CBC that would address (in co-operation with CBC expertise), the problem road by road and without too drastic an effect on the parish precept (the parish levy within the council tax).
The plan calls for one road calming measure to be introduced each year starting with the road that experiences the worst of the excessive speeds, in accordance with the CBC 2015 Speed Survey.
Thus in 2015 RMF was granted to introduce traffic calming works on the Luton Road, which has recently been completed. The calming measures are designed by road management experts and approved by CBC and are a combination of proven speed reduction measures.
Over the years there have been well intentioned calls for speed cameras on our village roads. This was investigated by the Parish Council and while speed cameras might be considered by many a ‘prime solution’ the fact is by law they cannot be installed, unless there is a history of local siting fatalities or another critical reason for installation.
It has been possible however to install a speed camera on the Hexton Road, opposite the Arnold Academy due to the unusual circumstances of pathway access to the school, which is permitted within the regulations. We would like to ensure residents of Hexton Road, and all residents using the footpath to/from School, Recreational Ground, Church, Graveyard and the Hills that the speed camera is not the total traffic calming solution for the road, just addressing the immediate problem of speed in the environs of the school.
We are delighted to report that the reaction of the residents has been overwhelmingly supportive of the plan in general and the Luton Road works in particular. We have received highly positive feedback from residents of the Luton Road, supportive phone calls and positive reactions to both Parish Councillors and staff.
As might be expected there are a small number of negative reactions to the measure, many from those utilising Barton-le-Clay as a route to/from work. While we realise that at peak times the Luton Road measure (and measures to follow) will add minutes to those passing through Barton Village we hold the welfare of all our residents both young and old as our priority. We hope you will come to support us in time.
The Parish Council is very much looking forward to working closely with CBC, and achieving the required funding and design expertise to tackle the remainder of the village’s roads, over the forthcoming four years. We look forward to the continued support of our residents.