Safety and congestion fears over Devizes traffic light bid
12:22pm Friday 30th May 2014 in By Jill Crooks, Devizes area senior reporter
‘Dangerous’ traffic lights planned for New Park Street, Devizes, would be likely to lead to more congestion through the town centre, it has been claimed.
Wiltshire Council wants to improve access for pedestrians and cyclists from Quakers Walk to Devizes town centre and is consulting on the idea.
Money from the developers of the Quakers Walk housing estate would pay for the changes.
These include making the zebra crossing outside Charles S Winchcombe & Son funeral directors traffic light-controlled and making the footpath in Couch Lane and Snuff Street a shared one for cyclists and pedestrians to allow cycling in both directions.
But Devizes Town Council and local traders say the plans are unworkable.
Andy Sheppard, owner of Rangebourne Pet Care in New Park Street, said installing traffic lights on the zebra crossing is absolutely crazy and suggested that a 20mph speed limit be introduced instead. He said: “We don’t need another set of traffic lights in New Park Street.
“This road is a nightmare most of the time with traffic congestion.
“The zebra crossing is well used and if you put traffic lights there then they will be on red half of the time, increasing pollution.”
Jim Lynch, landlord of The Crown pub in New Park Street, said: “I don’t see what benefit traffic lights would have on the zebra crossing, it’s not as if it’s an interchange.
“If anything you could do with traffic lights on the corner at the Wadworth Brewery, where it is busy and to help the flow of traffic.”
He and funeral director Charles Winchcombe said Couch Lane is used as a rat run by motorists avoiding congestion in New Park Street and suggested it be pedestrianised, but allowing access for firms.
Mr Winchcombe said: “Cyclists ride down Couch Lane, sometimes two abreast, and cars impatient at being in the traffic in New Park Street often roar up Couch Lane as a short cut.
“It’s dangerous and someone is going to be killed.”
The town council’s planning committee is objecting.
Coun John Parker said: “I walk my dog across the pedestrian crossing in New Park Street and it seems to work perfectly well for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.
"There is very good visibility both ways. I can’t see any reason to change it to traffic lights, it will probably cause more delay.”
A Wiltshire Council spokesman said: “The proposals have been developed with a local working group and are at a very early stage.
“The consultation is designed to find out what local people think before we take any of the plans further and we welcome people’s comments.”
The consultation, which runs until Saturday, can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/lz2qvwg
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