Chicanes trialled along Brighton’s ‘gateway’ to slow speeding traffic

Posted On 11 Feb 2015 at 10:21 am

Temporary chicanes placed along Viaduct Road in a bid to calm traffic and make Brighton’s “gateway” more attractive have angered drivers.

Viaduct Road picThe square planters, placed at strategic points along the road, are part of a range of possible measures to remind drivers they are travelling along a residential street with a 20mph limit – which is only now observed by one in five vehicles.

More than 11,000 vehicles travel along the road every day, of which more than half go faster than 30mph, with another 30% between 20mph and 30mph.

Other possible solutions include installing a cycle lane or planting trees along the left hand side of the traffic lane.

But motorists say they are actually making the road more dangerous as traffic swerves to avoid them.

The council’s road safety team manager Martin Heath said: “We are responding to residents’ concerns about speeding traffic on the road where they live and are working with the local community to find solutions.

“Road narrowing and intermittent obstructions can change the driver’s perception about the function of the road.

“Further softening of the traffic environment through planting can also create stronger visual clues about the residential nature of the street.

“Following some local public utility work last weekend, which resulted in the closure of a traffic lane, we took the opportunity to introduce some planters to determine the impact that such measures might have on speeds, again to inform decisions about measures later on.

“At this stage, other than an objective to reduce excessive traffic speeds, there are no specific plans for any types of measures.  The feedback we receive from the LAT and other stakeholders will be used as a basis for developing options.”

Local businessman Alberto Taverna filmed a video from the dashboard of his car of him driving along the road.

He said: “This is only going to further upset visitors, tourists and locals to boycott Brighton.

“We have run a local restaurant here for 23 years and it’s a shambles. They are slowly blocking the life lines that pump blood to the heart of Brighton. When will it stop?”

The measures follow a drive by the London Road Local Action Team to improve the look and feel of Viaduct Road.

In a post on its website, it says: “It’s a gateway into the city from London for every road vehicle – and it’s underperforming.

“There are a number of threads to the problem and one of them is traffic. The speed and noise of traffic simply reinforces the idea that “this is not a residential street to be proud of, and nobody cares”. It would be great to change that perception.

“We know full well that this is an arterial route for the whole of Brighton, and it would not be fair on everyone else to restrict the overall traffic flow into the heart of the city – but there might be ways of persuading drivers to treat the street with respect as a residential street.”

Martin Heath gave a presentation of possible options for Viaduct Road to the LAT last month – you can see his slides here.

  1. feline1 Reply

    It wouldn’t be ‘dangerous’ if they stuck to the bloody speed limit and stayed off the bottle.

  2. feline1 Reply

    Anyways so much for those “self-enforcing” speed limits. How about Sussex Police actually doing their jobs and enforcing the law, instead of hanging around in cars outside Dominos guzzling pizza?

  3. M Reply

    I think it is a good idea to give the road some residential identity. But it should not reduce the lanes of traffic e.g. planters causing traffic to move into one central lane. I’m all for additional trees in the city providing there is room. It would definitely improve the look of Viaduct Road but the flow of traffic on the main road into Brighton should not be compromised. This will only anger drivers and provide potential for road rage.

  4. feline1 Reply

    But M, the flow of traffic HAS to be compromised because the air quality there is well below the safety standards for nitrogen dioxides etc and so every is going to die of cancer.
    Now I don’t know about you, but I think most people think cancer is worse than road rage.

  5. stutay Reply

    I’ve driven along there since they were put in. It’s a good idea & worth a try to find out the impact. A good long-term solution is needed – the speed some vehicles go up viaduct is ridiculous!

  6. feline1 Reply

    Yes, plonking some planters costs next to nothing, plus they can take them away again easily if it doesn’t work out:
    contrast that with installing speed cameras, which is much more expensive (particular cos of the Traffic Regulation Order legal gubbins) and often speed cameras have little effect as people see where they are, so just slam on the brakes for that 20 yards then zoom off again – whereas this aims to change the character of the whole road from “this is big and straight and I can go fast” to “oh bloody hell”.
    The problem is, of course, that many drivers view a car as a phallic substitute, and so asking them to slow down is, mentally, like telling them you are going to make their penis 3 inches shorter. Understandably, this upsets many of them.

  7. nHOJd Reply

    I seem to recall that it was a council “initiative” that made Viaduct Road part of the A23 in the first place. They didn’t seem to want to know anything about it being a residential street then – why now?

    • feline1 Reply

      A good point, NHoJD.
      But they don’t want through traffic going along the ‘New Hoxton’ urban paradise that is London Road either, do they? 🙂

  8. rolivan Reply

    Why not just install elongated speed bumps ,that way vehicles will not have to change direction?

    • feline1 Reply

      Rolivan, I’m guessing they thought it was cheaper to put down planters (which could also be cheaply taken away again if the idea didn’t work well).
      Whereas if you employ contractors to put in tarmac speed bumps, it probably takes 2 months, 237 teabreaks, lots of orange temporary fencing, and numerous Risk Assessments (and then you might have to dig them all up again).

    • martin Reply

      How about mines ,!!! LOL More Green tree hugging, !!

  9. A barbaric attempt to reduce speed, just causes disruption to the flow of traffic. Also isn’t yellow lines supposed to be for the prevention of obstructions yet there are massive bins in the roads, example in upper Lewes rd, the council always vocals the reason for yellow lines to stop obstructions but then contritdics that reason by then placing either parking permit schemes or bins.

    • feline1 Reply

      Yep, driver, I’ve had that same argument with the GMB Union loons in Cityclean and the Highways Dept.
      As you say, by definition, double yellow lines are painted on the road when parking a vehicle would create a dangerous obstruction, either physically and/or to visibility – yet planters, communal bins, etc etc will then be plonked there regardless.

  10. Victor Peirce Reply

    The reason nobody sticks to the speed limit is it is to low! It’s about time the Council in Brighton woke up to that fact. The Police certainly don’t seem to interested in enforcing the limit as they probably have better things to do with their time! I personally am rather tired of Councils who impose rules and high parking charges to control traffic without first ensuring there is an efficient and reasonably priced public transport system in place! I would fully support a traffic free town centre if the Council, and Government for that matter, put more thought and money in to a cheap, safe and efficient public transport system of the sort available in other Cities in the world!

    I am not sure cars travelling at 20mph is as efficient as a car travelling at 30! Has the Council looked at the fuel consumption and emission figures resulting from their traffic calming measures? Perhaps the most revealing comment from Brighton Council with regard to the planters was “they are safe as long as people stick to the speed limit” what is the basis for this assumption and apparently it is tough luck if you are injured if you are above the speed limit! Four large planters, painted black with nice sharp edges! I suspect even at 20mph this might be somewhat dangerous if your on a bicycle or motor bike, well at least they have not been slaves to health and safety! 🙂

  11. Dan Sarf Reply

    Good, I say! Am sick of car drivers thinking it’s their right to drive at excessive speeds. Owning a car does not give you rights to do what you want! This town is better off with fewer cars and pollution. Those complaining about the public transport system – it’s one of the best in country and I suspect you’re complaining about it but never use it, as you’re too reluctant to leave your cars. More traffic calming measures would be welcomed, especially for roads off the seafront where drivers speed and break the 20mph speed limit on a regular basis.

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