October 21, 2016

Update on recent traffic calming meeting

There was a packed village hall on Thursday 22 September 2016 to hear some suggestions put forward by ORPS for traffic calming measures in Ovingdean The suggestions were based on a report commissioned by ORPS from GTA Civils. (A copy of the report is available here)
Apart from interested villagers there were our ward councillors, Mary Mears and Joe Miller and importantly Gill Mitchell, the councillor who heads up the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee. She in turn was accompanied by two council employees Len Holloway Highways Engineer and Matt Thompson Road Safety Officer.

Important points to emerge upon which ORPS intends to take future action are noted below. It was clear from the feedback by the council that there is a very limited budget for road improvements and monies that are available are targeted at the top ten accident spots in Brighton. In these circumstances it was unlikely that Ovingdean low accident record is going to move us into a position for priority funding. It was argued that Ovingdean road does represent a serious safety hazard and we pressed for this road to be made a special case. Gill Mitchell did agree to return to conduct a further traffic study in addition to that which was carried recently.

1. Traffic data
ORPS obtained just before the meeting some data from a study carried out on Ovingdean Road, Greenways, Wanderdown road and Longhill road for seven days commencing 12 July 2016 . The study makes for very interesting reading, it showed that the average speed limit was exceeded on all Ovingdean roads over the period of the survey. It also showed there were 13,482 traffic movements on Ovingdean Road over the week of the monitoring. This was compared with 11,482 movements along Longhill Road and a mere 2,591 along Ainsworth Avenue. We are asking for more detailed information as averages can hide extremes, such as how many cars exceeded the average and what their speeds were etc. Remember it only takes one car to go too fast !

2. Traffic priorities
Although ORPS is keen on a village wide solution it is very clear that funds are limited at present to achieve all the suggestions made. It is therefore proposed that
a) We focus on where the Council is prepared to help. There was an indication at the meeting that Gill Mitchell is prepared to come back and do further traffic monitoring on Ovingdean Road . It should also be recognised that we are hoping to have a new footpath installed between the Old Rectory and the entrance to Beacon Court . Also we have asked for the bulbs in the lamp posts to be replaced on this stretch
b) We should be insisting on simple cost effective traffic calming measures in Ovingdean road, that could be carried out now such as ( thanks to Barry Sugg for these suggestions)
*repainting the (now very faded) road markings (the ‘slow’ signs and the pedestrian area along the west side of the hill)
*maybe introducing some new carriageway markings like a ‘mothers and children’ symbol
*some simple but obvious signs that tell drivers they are entering a ‘shared space’ and to watch out for pedestrians
*cutting back the undergrowth south of Ovingdean Grange to allow pedestrians to walk on it rather than on the road as mentioned above
*making a simple pavement on the verge between the allotments and the entrance to the college, again so that pedestrians can avoid walking on the road( as noted above)

It should be noted that a separate petition has just closed that calls for road humps on the stretch of road coming up the steep hill on Ovingdean road.

c) Do our own thing. Certainly encourage more parking on roads to create ‘pinch points’ i.e. where one car has priority over another,. The council conceded that installing flower troughs was a good effective and legal option for us to consider here .We are also looking at the dangers of parents dropping off their children at the nursery school and having to walk from the village hall.

3. Community Speed Watch
To quote “Motorists who speed through residential neighbourhoods are often unaware of the impact their actions have on other road users or the dangers they pose. Speed checks show that drivers exceeding the speed limit are often local to the village or surrounding area.
Community Speed Watch is a partnership initiative using the combined efforts of local residents and parish councils.By working together, Community Speed watch enables local people to become involved in helping to slow down traffic within their community, possibly through the use of hand held speed cameras.” ORPS will be progressing this idea

These are the conclusions that ORPS has so far reached. We thank you for all your comments so far arising from the traffic meeting, keep them coming!!! We will keep the village appraised of progress on the above points
What can villagers do?

One issue that keeps coming up is the lack of hard information on when there has been a traffic incident, a near miss, an extreme speeding event etc. ORPS needs to know times and dates of incidents so it can maintain a log for future use. Please send details to Russell Smith at jrussellsmith@icloud .com

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