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Frustrated motorists spur calming rethink
A traffic calming trial along Corsham’s South Place has proved unpopular with motorists, a study of the two-week project has shown.
The road adjacent to the Methuen Arms pub was reduced to one lane, with a priority system added, to see if it made the stretch safer.
The scheme resulted in pedestrians feeling safer when walking along the pavement, but also frustrated motorists who had to give way to oncoming vehicles.
Corsham town councillors announced last week that they would now explore, with Wiltshire Council, a range of other measures for the road.
Free parking passes for the High Street car park could be issued to parents who add to congestion along Lacock Road and Pound Pill as they drop children at school.
A new footpath could also be created from the High Street car park, skirting around the Methuen Arms and joining The Avenue, exiting through the kissing gate at the top of Pound Pill.
But one town councillor said the suggested alternatives failed to address the real problem and he has looked to a radical traffic calming scheme in London for inspiration.
Councillor Nicholas Keyworth, who has lived in the road for 12 years, said: “The proposals offer tame, unimaginative and unworkable solutions. We need to look at a more radical approach in which the space is shared between all users.
“Currently, the road is dominated by traffic, which squeezes through the narrow street, sidelining and intimidating pedestrians who feel unsafe.
“All over Europe, we see much bolder approaches to creating shared spaces in our town centres, where they are predominantly people spaces into which vehicles are invited to pass through with care and consideration.
“Exhibition Road in London is just one such example, where the whole surface of the road has been changed, the pavements removed completely and an attractive new environment has transformed what was just another road into a really pleasant, safe and accessible space for us all.
“The whole road from the Mansion House to the Almshouses should be treated like this. The shops would benefit and it could reinstate The Horsefair, a wonderful square in front of the Methuen, for eating and drinking al fresco.”
Councillor Pete Anstey, chairman of the town council, said: “I am really pleased that the trial went ahead. It certainly made us more aware of people’s driving habits and there was a certain amount of frustration from people who were delayed by just a moment or two.
“Now we are looking for a positive result and a way forward from the trial.”
Corsham town councillors are now working with staff at Wiltshire Council, to analyse the findings and come up with a plan of action.