So; the traffic calming build-out on New Road in Chiseldon is probably going ahead. This is despite my robust objection to the plans, and no real evidence to support it in terms of the road safety or accident reduction being offered. In fact, from a Freedom of Information request I put into the Borough Council, I found that over the last 10 years there have been 12 recorded accidents along the road, of which only one occurred in the vicinity of the proposed build-out. In that single incident, it was unlikely that the cause was attributable to speed and thus any build-out installed probably would not have prevented its occurrence.
While I believe that the "speeding problem" has come about along the road due to the speed limit being lowered when it didn't need to be (a point which the Traffic Planning Officer probably disagrees with me on - he feels that he is only following government advice) there is now an issue with traffic travelling at speeds in excess of the posted 30mph limit. Installing a build-out treats the symptoms of the problem rather than the root cause; people speed because they believe that they can get away with it, and the reason for this is due to a lack of proper traffic policing. The actions of groups such as Community Speed Watch are extremely helpful in this regard, but nothing hits home more than a fine and points on your licence. To make this happen, local traffic policing needs to be stepped up a notch and the problem dealt with properly using the fixed-penalty system.
Not yet having seen the plans for the build-out, I'm still a little unclear as to what will be installed. If what I believe is to be put in gets put in, I'm unconvinced that the speed reduction envisaged will be achieved; at least in one direction of travel. Furthermore, I believe that at peak times in the morning and afternoon, it has the potential to create traffic problems in terms of delays to villagers and other users of New Road alike. I firmly believe that it will become more of a nuisance in itself than the original speeding issue.
I'm not entirely against some form of traffic-calming along the stretch of New Road, but I feel that a build-out isn't the right solution, primarily because it has the potential to restrict traffic flow as opposed to just speed. Other alternatives such as a raised junction at Canney Close or a mini-roundabout may offer better speed reduction, but probably at higher cost.
The responses from the Borough Council have been lacklustre in their content and haven't answered all of the questions raised. That disappoints me. But then I have a long history of being disappointed by the Borough Council - particularly by the council tax department.
While I will admit defeat to some extent on the subject of the build-out, it will nevertheless be interesting to see how this one pans out. Will the speed reduction become a reality? Will there be traffic delays as a result? Will there be a riot in the village immediately after its installation? Only time will tell.