Bradford on Avon’s Historic Core Zone scheme aims to ‘rebalance’ the relationship between pedestrians and vehicles, but has divided opinion in the town.
One side says it will be a ‘boost’ while the other says ‘dream on, get real’...
Godfrey Marks, who has campaigned on traffic issues in the town for 16 years, believes the HCZ promises the opposite of what it claims to do, calling it the ‘Dream and Reality’.
“Traffic, mostly local, is both the life blood and blight of Bradford. Sheer volume causes congestion, pedestrian intimidation and exhaust pollution.
“With a bypass recognised as unrealistic, and a one-way system counter-productive, how then to optimise the balance between traffic flow and pedestrian mobility and safety?
“In 2008, the Taming the Traffic conference debated how to prevent further strangulation of the town. The outcome was surprising: change the name of the game. Accept traffic volume, set aside congestion and pollution, and invent a new problem, driver aggression.
“Let’s experiment with deregulation, the flavour of the decade for highways planners and consultants; removing the normal rules of driver/pedestrian interaction, and blurring the demarcations of street space, to create uncertainty, and make drivers more cautious and considerate.
"Very theoretical, since this approach has no precedents comparable to Bradford’s situation.
“The resulting Historic Core Zone scheme is the stuff of dreams and very serious food for thought.
"We dream of funding to transform the town centre, decluttering and upgrading materials and street furniture; road markings replaced by new colour-coded paving; the whole area ‘re-civilised’ with mutual tolerance among street users, benevolent drivers, happy shoppers.
“But now think – how? Is pedestrian confidence and mobility helped by removing their right of way on a regulated zebra crossing (1,196 signatures on the petition for its retention), or expecting them to confront two-way traffic on voluntary courtesy crossings?
"Doesn’t removing the guidance and protection of raised kerbs contribute to a pedestrian discomfort zone, and a no-go area for some?
"Will drivers’ tolerance of pedestrians be encouraged by replacing one crossing in Market Street with four? Why invite traffic blockage in the narrows by removing the yellow boxes?
“The emerging HCZ scheme promises the very opposite of its aims and claims – discriminating against the elderly, infirm and children... let’s dream on, but get real too.”