This week’s meeting of the Traffic Management Committee at CBC has two items on the agenda for Leighton Buzzard.
Hockliffe Road crossing
The first is to consider a petition for an additional crossing on Hockliffe Road.
The petition has received 109 signatures, and calls for for the Council to implement an additional around the junction with George Street, to improve safety and make it easier for pedestrians to cross the road.
Full details can be found here on the CBC website.
I fully support the residents’ petition, and will be writing to the Committee Chair asking for the Committee to accept the report’s recommendations and investigate the options further.
Parking and Junction Improvements
The second item is for various safety improvements – including parking restrictions – around Leighton Buzzard. In particular, the study looks at parking around junctions.
Parking close to junctions gives rise to safety issues for road users and pedestrians, and highlights how dropped curbs become blocked making it difficult for users of mobility scooters, wheelchairs and pushchairs.
It also highlights the problems that can be caused by parking opposite junctions, making it difficult for larger vehicles – including both refuse collection lorries and fire appliances – to turn out of junctions.
The Highway Code is quite clear about parking close to junctions, and that drivers may be committing an offence if they park carelessly and inconsiderately.
The full list of junctions included in the proposal is:
- Atterbury Avenue, at the junction with Vandyke Road
- At the mini-roundabout with Ashwell Street, Mill Road, Bassett Road and Queen Street
- East Street, at the junction with St Andrew’s Street and Beaudesert
- Baker Street, at the junction with Doggett Street
- Brooklands Drive, at the junction with South Street
- Bedford Street, at the junction with St Andrew’s Street and Beadesert
- Cutlers Way, at the junction with South Street
- Doggett Street, at the junction with Mill Road
- East Street (access to Rushmere Park Academy and Leighton Buzzard Children’s Centre)
- George Street, at the junction with Vandyke Road
- Lammas Walk, at the junction with Beaudesert
- Millbank, at the junction with Bassett Road
- Pear Tree Lane, at the junction with Garden Hedge
- Plum Tree Lane, at the junction with East Street
- Steppingstone Place, at the junction with South Street
- Regent Street, at the junction with Vandyke Road
- Regent Street, at the junction with Hockliffe Road
- Summer Street, at the junction with East Street
- Summer Street, at the junction with Newman Way
- Woodman Close, at the junction with South Street
- South Street, at the junction with Albany Road
- Heath Road, at the junction with Plantation Road
- Restrictions on Bassett Road, from the junction with Millstream Way to the junction with Millbank.
- Centauri Close, at the junction with Appenine Way
- Marley Fields, at the junction with Stanbridge Road
- The Chilterns, at the junction with Stanbridge Road
- Cotefield Drive, at the junction with Heath Road
The full report, plus a summary of residents’ comments, is included in the report which can be read online here.
I am very aware that many residents have contacted me to express concerns about these proposals; in particular where the proposed scheme will result in the loss of on-street parking close to their properties.
I have every sympathy with these residents. I know how difficult it can be to find a parking space in many of the areas included in this proposal, and these restrictions will potentially make it more difficult to find a free space.
However, I am pleased the proposed changes are limited almost entirely to those considered essential for safety and compliance with the Highway Code. It is impossible to argue against proposals brought forward on this basis, and therefore I will be writing in support of the scheme, with the caveat that the loss of parking spaces must be kept to an absolute minimum.
Not included in these proposals are any measures for Albany Road, Dudley Street and Hartwell Crescent. Some time ago residents raised a petition calling for a residents parking scheme in and around this area. I am well aware that residents’ opinion on this is split, and I will be asking the Committee to undertake a formal consultation with residents on this issue.
Finally, local social media has this week highlighted an anomaly between car parking charges in Leighton Buzzard’s car parks and the minimum payment that can be made by card. I will be asking officers to look into this as a matter of urgency so drivers can use a card to pay for shorter stays, and to remove the £3.50 minimum charge.