Public to be asked for views on traffic in the town centre
13 June 2016
Residents of Bridgend County Borough are to be asked for their views on options that could see traffic returning to some of Bridgend town centre’s pedestrianised streets.
The Cabinet of Bridgend County Borough Council has agreed to carry out public consultation after considering a report produced by independent experts.
The report focused on creating an additional ‘gateway’ into and through the town centre via Queen Street (from its junction with Water Street / The Rhiw), Dunraven Place and Market Street (up to its junction with Quarella Road).
It was commissioned following requests from local businesses and other organisations asking the council to look at whether an element of vehicular access could be safely re-introduced.
A range of factors were considered as part of the report, including collision data before and after pedestrianisation was introduced, risk assessments, the specific needs of different types of pedestrians and road users, what sort of changes might be required for parking and loading bays, signage and road lining, pedestrian crossing points, the availability of suitable funding to carry out work and more.
Now Cabinet have agreed that residents will be asked to give their views on whether they would like to see partial traffic access restored, and what their preferred option for delivering this might be.
Councillor Charles Smith, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, said: “Pedestrianisation was originally introduced to address a number of problems in Bridgend town centre and to help create a safer, more pleasant shopping environment which it has achieved.
“But between issues such as the rise of the internet and the ongoing recession, shopping patterns are a lot different now, and a number of once-familiar high-street names have become a thing of the past.
“We want to consult local people and establish how much support there might be for allowing traffic to return to part of the town centre and replicating the successful ‘gateway’ approach seen along Nolton Street.
“Once this has been done, we can decide whether we need to give serious consideration towards finding the best way of carrying out this work.
“Depending on the outcome of this, a statutory process would need to be applied to amend the town centre’s existing Traffic Order, and external funding would have to be sourced for the work and any adaptations that might be required.
“It’s important to realise that it will take time to carry out the process from beginning to end, and there is no such thing as a cheap option when it comes to doing something like this.
“The cost of the physical works alone could be anywhere from a quarter of a million to a million pounds, and we will also need to account for things like legal costs as well.
“Each of the options has its own pros and cons, and they all require careful consideration. That’s why it is important for as many people as possible to take part in the consultation, and help the council to make a balanced, informed decision.”
The independent report identifies the following options for clearly marking the route that traffic will follow along Queen Street, Dunraven Place and Market Street while maintaining pedestrian safety.
The options all incorporate the provision of two pedestrian crossings, a mandatory 20mph speed limit and the possibility of additional options such as rumble strips, coloured surfacing and carriageway narrowing:
Option one: Signage and road markings (Approximate cost: £247,000)
Under this option, signs would be erected alongside the traffic route, road markings amended and speed bumps installed. This is the cheapest option, but the markings and signage could be hard to detect for visually impaired people.
Option two: Tactile paving (Approximate cost: £349,000)
Tactile paving – i.e. an uneven ridged surface which can be felt underfoot – would be installed on either side of the traffic route. This option would be beneficial for the visually impaired, but would not prevent vehicles from entering the pedestrianised area. It may also be an issue for parents with prams and wheelchair users.
Option three: Bollards and street furniture (Approximate cost: £552,000)
The edge of the carriageway would be clearly marked with bollards and / or street furniture. This visually appealing combination would prevent vehicles from mounting the pedestrianised areas, but could be an issue for visually impaired pedestrians.
Option four: Raised kerbs, signage and road markings (Approximate cost: £855,000)
This option would raise kerb levels on either side of the traffic route up to 60mm. While useful for visually impaired pedestrians, it could also pose a trip hazard and be difficult to navigate for parents with pushchairs or wheelchair users.
More details about the consultation and how to take part will be issued soon.