Blind spot fear over bus route
5:30am Thursday 10th July 2014 in By Mike Benke, @Michael_Benke
CONCERNS have been raised about the roads opposite the new University Technical College and the potential risk to students and residents.
The new college is set to open in September and will see several hundred students begin, with a potential capacity of 600 in a few years time.
It will be located off Bristol Street and the entrance is on a double bend with Church Place also joining nearby, creating a triple blind spot.
With the recent announcement that buses will be running in both directions, heritage group Swindon Civic Voice has said the road is not suitable and there is a high level of risk.
Chairwoman Martha Parry has said a far better option is for the buses to travel along Park Lane and Faringdon Road to reduce any danger and protect the area’s heritage.
She said: “The UTC provision is to be welcomed as it re-establishes a form of education which historically was highly successful in Swindon.
“At the bends it is not possible to see around the corner so we are relying on the bus drivers to slow down.
“There are only plans for four disabled car parking spaces so it is likely we will see a high number of pedestrians using this entrance at the beginning or or end of each day.
“When the buses are going in each direction there is on average one a minute so they are going to have to back up which will surely reduce punctuality.”
The Civic Voice has long argued the Village Centre is not suitable for buses and believes this is yet another reason why the routes should be moved.
Martha said: “Buses have been travelling along Faringdon Road now for a number of months and there has been no public outcry.
“When part of Bristol Street was shut for road repairs, because it was not built for buses, the world did not end. We are told there are going to be measures carried out so slow the buses down but this is just mitigating for the problem rather than fixing it.”
A number of measures are being taken to make the area safer for the students using the UTC.
A council spokesman said: “The traffic calming work is required as part of the planning permission for the UTC. Proposals have been put together to improve the pedestrian access at the UTC entrance on Bristol Street and to put in a speed table to enable a 20mph speed limit to be introduced should it be deemed necessary – speed surveys have shown that speeds are sufficiently low at present.
“Work is expected to start towards the end of September and neighbouring properties will receive notification of the exact dates and nature of the works together with any possible temporary diversions.”
Paul Jenkins, managing director of Thamesdown Transport, said: “Safety on the roads around the UTC is a priority for us and we are working with the UTC, and the other bus providers who operate in the town, to ensure that potential risks are minimised.
“We are each undertaking a risk assessment of the location, which will identify measures that need to be in place in time for the UTC opening later this year and these will be shared between all parties involved. It will include guidance to our drivers about a suitable speed when passing the UTC entrance.”
Angela Barker-Dench, the Principal of the UTC said: “We have met with Civic Voice and we are working together with all concerned to support the local community.”
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