MUCH relief that the trial to close Chippenham High Street to traffic between 6.30am and 9.30am on a Friday morning was abandoned. It had an obvious adverse impact on traffic flow from east to west.
In fact, as the unfortunate over-run of this last Monday’s overnight water works at the Pheasant roundabout demonstrated so clearly; a main road obstruction in the peak hours of road usage, anywhere in Chippenham, will result in quite a rapid spread of traffic jams, and often leads to traffic standstill.
The reality is that Chippenham has very little or no spare capacity on its main roads during peak times.
Car school runs – a fact of today’s life – do make a big contribution to the traffic congestion during morning peak usage. They even create their own afternoon peak.
This is then followed by the evening congestion peak, about an hour or two later. So anything that could reduce traffic congestion in Chippenham would surely be welcome, wouldn’t it?
Further to the suggestion of one-way traffic in last week’s Letter of the Week (congratulations to David Poole on winning the prize, by the way); may I ask why can it not be that: 1. Market stalls are situated actually in the Market Place pedestrian area and maybe the slip road part of Market Place that has a few parking spaces where the war memorial is?
This would be away from vehicles using the High Street, and therefore market stall holders would then be kept very safe from traffic competing for the same space.
2. To further improve safety for all pedestrians, the High Street closes between 9am and 6pm or 6.30pm?
Now this would be worth trialling to see how traffic flow was affected. In my 19 years of living in Chippenham, I’ve never understood why the High Street closure is not more aligned to Emery Gate and High Street shops’ opening hours.
3. The High Street becomes a more flexible road space 24/7?
This would be especially welcome, surely, by emergency services, who on market days have no chance to use our High Street which is full of obstacles.
A flexible one-way traffic system along the High Street could indeed be swiftly implemented when the need arises (such as a closure of Avenue La Fleche, necessitated by a serious collision) – even on a market day.
If there are any like-minded people living in our town or from outside of Chippenham, using our roads and our High Street; then perhaps a campaign (for common sense, really) to implement these three suggestions could begin.
Such implementation would benefit our whole town wouldn’t it?
If there’s a will, there’s a way!