For a while now the Parish Council have been considering the merits of making the village a 20mph zone; this is where we have got to so far. Here are the headlines - click for more details:
Background - idea originated at Neighbourhood Plan consultations
Project timescale and consultation
Basic principles of a 20mph scheme
Design ideas to keep speeds down
Radical traffic ideas - buses only in parts of the village centre?
What do you think?
The idea came out of consultations in the village over the Neighbourhood Plan in 2015. We have looked at the practicality of such a measure by conducting a road-speed survey and have asked some designers for ideas about how to do it and how much it would cost before the Parish Council makes any proposals.
We have not rushed ahead with the project as much of the funding for this work would come from the new housing that is proposed for the village and it gives us time for extensive consultation with residents which will begin now with the next issue of Eynsham News. There are also other initiatives such as the parking restrictions suggested by Eynsham retailers, which must relate well with any such scheme.
20mph has to be self-enforcing, that is drivers naturally keep their speed to 20mph by driving sensibly according to the actual road conditions without having to watch the speedometer all the time. Techniques such as narrowing the apparent or actual width of the road or chicanes are used so people naturally drive slower without having to clutter everywhere with signs and we would like to avoid speed humps which encourage slow-down then speed-up driving which wastes fuel (and generates more CO2) and is both unpleasant and ineffective. We have to understand that the police won't enforce a 20mph limit and speed cameras won't be used but even if people do go at 5mph more than a 20mph limit that is a lot safer than 5mph above a 30mph limit.
The initial design report from The Urbanists [replaced by a more accessible version in March 2018] gives some idea of what might be done to provide a clear 'entrance point' to the 20mph zone and combine the speed notification with an attractive village entrance feature of the “Welcome to Eynsham – please don't rush through the village” nature. It also shows how expensive replacing the road surface can be so we may be looking to a cheaper option of simply painting the surface as they suggest for an experiment. If this works we may have to look again at the expense of a new surface when the paint starts to wear although some places such as Witney Road are already in need of a new road surface to repair the pot-holes!
Some other ideas emerged when we discussed the design opportunities which have been noted as they also came up during Neighbourhood Plan consultations. The most radical is to restrict traffic through the central section of the village from Acre End Street at the junction with Station Road past the Co-op corner through to the Square. The only traffic permitted on this section would be buses and residents who need access for parking or loading. This would have a significant impact on passing-trade for the shops and would require through traffic going west-to-east to use Station Road and the southern bypass or use Spareacre Lane. East-west traffic could still use Swan Street instead of Acre End but there would need to be a length/weight restriction as the corners are so tight; parking restrictions outside the Pharmacy would help minimise chaos when coaches need to turn into Station Road.
Ultimately people may prefer to leave things as they are in the village centre, chaotic as that can be on occasion, rather than accept the restrictions but this is something that the Parish Council will be considering as it firms up plans over the next 6 months. We need feedback from local residents, please. Are we addressing the right problems? What are your concerns about traffic and road safety within the village? Are there more important things we should spend parish funds on? You can respond by clicking on the link.