Regent Circus road layout leaves residents stranded
Updated 11:20am Thursday 26th June 2014 in By Dominic Gilbert
REGENT Circus’ new shared space crossing requires a leap of faith according to pedestrians, who feel they have to dodge moving traffic.
The area between Victoria Road and Commercial Road has now been transformed into a raised pedestrian island, with a 20mph zone in which traffic should give way.
But walkers feel motorists are either unaware of the system or unwilling to stop, leaving them stranded and forced to cross three lanes of traffic.
Swindon Council says the crossing is incomplete, but two independent safety reviews have already taken place with another scheduled for when the work is completed.
Claire Vernon, 39, of Dover Road, was trapped on the side of the road with her three-year-old son in a pushchair.
“It does seem that it is now like a pedestrian crossing at the bottom, but they are not putting anything in to help pedestrians cross,” she said. “I had to cross Victoria Road because part of the footpath was closed, and I ended up by Rudi’s. “It was really busy and I was waiting to cross but cars just weren’t stopping. I just didn’t know what to do.
“My boy was telling me to cross the road, and usually I tell him we have to wait for the green man. “This time I realised I didn’t know what to tell him because I didn’t know what to do myself. Other people were just running in between the cars.
”I just got incredibly stressed and frustrated, and so many people have since said they are having the same problems. “We wondered what you would do if you were blind or impaired in some way or had a disability. “When it is complete we will have hundreds of people trying to use that crossing. “To put something like that on a really busy junction just beggars belief.”
Peter Green, of Swindon Back Garden resident’s association, said: “There are two issues here. There are plans for what will be going down there and the idea is that it will be a 20mph limit. “The issue is will the signs make it sensible and work in the long term?
“The pavement on Vic Hill is also closed between Cross Street and Rudi’s, so people are simply having to walk in the middle of the road. “There needs to be a proper space for pedestrians, and there has to be proper signage down there because it is very dangerous.
“There are lots of places where this works, like in Leicester and Oxford, but the traffic there is shared with buses, whose drivers are briefed.
“I do think it is a great idea to be joining up new town and Old Town around Regent Circus and I like what they are trying to achieve, but they are doing it in all the wrong ways.”
A spokesman for Swindon Council said: “The work is not yet finished and we would urge everyone to make a judgement once the scheme is completed. “We aren’t saying it’s necessarily going to be perfect straight away, which is why it will be subjected to an independent safety audit and if things need to be changed as a result of that, they will be. “The scheme has been designed and paid for by the developer, and the council approved it because similar schemes have worked well in other parts of the country and have made things safer overall for all road users and pedestrians. “The design was also consulted on widely before work started.”
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