One of my focusses continues to be traffic in the centre of South Molton. By this I mean the speed of the traffic and the type of traffic,
The pavement along Broad Street on the south side of the Medical Hall is very narrow indeed. That on the north is not much wider. This often means that pedestrians have to walk in the road, putting their life at risk from fast moving vehicles. Frequently these are heavy vehicles such as large lorries and very big tractors.
Many people live in flats above the shops in the centre of town. The amount of traffic, and the speed at which it travels, means that this is a very noisy environment indeed. It’s exacerbated by the large number of heavy vehicles driving at speed in the early hours of the morning and the preponderance of ‘boy racers’ late at night.
Broad Street currently has a weight restriction in place which runs from the junction with New Road to the end of the Enhancement in front of the Post Office. This weight restriction appears to be completely ignored.- as do those that apply to West Street and North Street (particularly the former).
If the weight restriction were to be enforced, this would reduce noise and improve the safety of residents. It would also help protect the fabric of the many historic listed buildings in the town centre from vibration damage.
In addition, I think that because of the nature of the centre of South Molton it would be entirely appropriate to have the whole of the town centre covered by a 20mph speed restriction zone. On average 40% of road deaths in the UK occur on urban roads. Speed limits of 20mph rather than 30mph have been shown to reduce deaths and casualties by anything up to 60% (RoSPA, TRL, BMJ).
Quite apart form reducing casualties, and the number of accidents, lower speed limits also result in significantly less road noise. Thus resulting in a safer and far more pleasant environment for residents.
I therefore believe that the police should be encouraged to:
- enforce the current weight restrictions;
- enforce the current speed restrictions.
Devon County Council should be lobbied for the introduction of:
- a 20mph speed limit in the centre of town;
- traffic calming measures (traffic calming measures, along with a reduced speed limit, are far more effective than a speed limit on its own).
North Devon District Council should be asked to close the lorry park and consider turning it into a coach park. The lorry park is mainly used at night, with the vehicles leaving very early in the morning and driving through South Molton. Coaches would generally only use the parking facilities during the day and would bring business into South Molton – which is more than can be said for the lorries.
The Town Council should consider the purchase of a mobile speed activated camera to show motorists what speed they are driving at.