Strategy to Reduce Volume and Speed of Traffic Within Christleton

Background

  1. We all use motor vehicles as part of our daily life and most of us complain about the volume and speed of traffic on the local and major roads.  As the population increases, the number of vehicles on the roads will increase leading to more congestion.  To avoid congestion most of us will depart from our normal routes and travel along minor roads which often takes us through small villages such as Christleton.  We might not like it but this action is regarded as “rat running”.   As the population increases, the number of vehicles on the roads will increase leading to more congestion.  Christleton, like other villages, is not immune for the effects of this increase in traffic.
  2. Concerns by a number of residents about the increase in traffic speeds and volumes in 2007 led to the formation of the Christleton Traffic Action Group (CTAG).  The group undertook extensive surveys of traffic volume and speed as well a consultation with residents.  The conclusions of this work was presented to the Parish Council (PC) in October 2008[1].  The full details of the study were posted on the Christleton web site[2] but have been transferred to the Parish Council’s web site[3] for completeness (to access the original CTAG studies follow this link).
  3. The main conclusion from this work were
    • Reduce traffic flow
    • Physical calming measures
    • Reduce parking (particularly between Birch Heath Lane and the “toast rack”) although parking was put to one side until flow and speed were addressed.
    • “Saturation” parking by the Bridge Club cause significant congestion.
    • Parking at school times causes significant congestion.
  4.  It is less clear from the work carried out by CTAG how the reduction in traffic volumes and speeds would be achieved.
  5. When the Community Plan[4] was prepared some of the questions from the original CTAG work were included in the questionnaire.  These included changes to the priority at the Plough Lane junction, a pavement along Rowton Bridge Road, parking restrictions, reduction of speed limit to 20mph.  The comments received from residents were in many respects similar to in the CTAG survey with respect to reducing parking, traffic speed and volume but little consensus on how these changes could be achieved. There was however very strong support for a reduction of the speed limit to 20mph and this was reflected in one of a number of traffic actions in the Community Plan.
  6. In reviewing these actions the PC has discussed the feasibility of introducing some changes to traffic circulation that were proposed in the CTAG study and mirrored in the Community Plan survey with officers at Cheshire West and Chester Highways Department (Highways).  The PC was advised by Highways that the
    • Suggested changes to the priority at the Plough Lane/Rowton Bridge Road junction could not be implemented, as they would not meet the necessary highway standards.
    • There was insufficient road width to provide a pavement on Rowton Bridge Road but it may be possible to provide a painted one (need to confirm)
  7. In these discussions with Highway, the PC requested an assessment of traffic volumes and speed to determine whether it would be feasible to introduce a 20mph limit on the spine on the village (Little Heath Road to the canal bridge on Rowton Bridge Road). The PC prepared and outline strategy with some preliminary costs to implement the lower speed limit if deemed practicable. This strategy was displayed at the PC Open Morning (March 2015) and subsequent Farmer’s Markets at the Ring o’ Bells.

Results of the Traffic Survey

  1. The Results of the Survey[5] were made available to the PC at the end of August. The traffic survey was undertaken at 10 locations throughout the village. The initial assessment suggested that while much of the study area met the criterion for a 20mph limit some roads within the village would not unless additional measures (e.g. chicanes, speed humps) were introduced.
  2. The validation meeting with the Area Engineer and the Police accepted the initial recommendations.  Following further consideration of the character and mean speeds within the village, however, the validation team agreed to the introduction of a “signed only” limit on sections of Little Heath Road, Plough Lane, Birch Heath Road and Rowton Bridge Road that did not quite meet the 20mph criterion.  Additional measure would need to be introduced at a later stage if the required level of speed reduction was not achieved.  The final recommendation of the validation meeting is shown in Image 1 below.

Image 1 Final Recommendations (5)

20mph area

  Consultation

  1. Highways advised the PC that first stage in the process of introducing a 20mph limit would be a demonstration that at least 51% all households who responded to the consultation and lived within the proposed area were in favour.  This demonstration would need to take the form of a written consultation.
  2. The consultation was conducted during September 2015.  The number of consultation forms distributed was 467 of which 277 were returned. Of the returned forms 89.5% were in favour and 10.5% were against. The PC also decided to implement a 20mph limit rather than a zone, as this would reduce the amount of signage required.

Traffic Updates

Footnotes
[1] Report presentation to Christleton Parish Council on Traffic Issues in Christleton, Christleton Traffic Action Group October 2008
[2] http://www.christleton.org.uk
[3] http://www.christleton-pc.gov.uk/?page_id=2514
[4] Christleton Community Plan A Vision for the Future 2012, Christleton Community Plan Steering Group August 2012
[5] Speed Limit Assessment: Site 087: Christleton, Cheshire West and Chester Borough Council, May 2015