Spaced out plans to stop traffic danger

A VILLAGE in North Somerset could become one of the first in the country to adopt a radical new system for putting the brakes on speeding motorists. If the scheme gets the go-ahead, kerbs, traffic signs and road markings would all be removed in Wrington i

A VILLAGE in North Somerset could become one of the first in the country to adopt a radical new system for putting the brakes on speeding motorists.If the scheme gets the go-ahead, kerbs, traffic signs and road markings would all be removed in Wrington in a 'shared space' system pioneered in Holland.With the Dutch system, traditional barriers between cars and pedestrians are taken away to create 'psychological traffic calming.'The shared space idea, combined with a reduction in the speed limit to 20mph through Wrington, has been proposed by Phil Parker, a civil engineer who lives in the village. Mr Parker was awarded money by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust to go on a fact finding study to Holland, Denmark and France, where 'shared space' schemes have been introduced.Mr Parker, of Havyat Road said: "When a driver sees the usual things like road markings and traffic signs, they will drive accordingly. But when these are removed, the drivers are disorientated and they adjust their speed. It's known as psychological traffic calming."A driver entering a space occupied by people and with no clear road defined by kerbs, markings and signs automatically modify their speed and behaviour. The car then becomes of secondary importance and is forced to interact with the people. Eye-contact is established and civility returns."Mr Parker, a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and Institution of Highways and Transportation, has already given presentations on the subject to the parish council, highways officers at North Somerset Council and the police. He said: "The principal officers involved are sympathetic to a 20mph shared space zone for the village and have offered in-principle support for the proposals. "However, highways officers at the council need a developed village statement that they can follow as an accepted strategic policy. They would then be able to actively support the policy to ensure all proposed future development is consistent with it."This could be the ultimate community project, providing a testament to values that are important to the village and would enhance the quality of Wrington community life. We should not leave the design of our village streets to chance. We should take ownership of the design of its streets and not leave it solely to the whim of council engineers.


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