Viaduct Road residents back plantpot chicane trial

Posted On 04 Mar 2015 at 11:54 am

Residents of Viaduct Road have backed a controversial trial of chicanes using plantpots in their road.

plantpotThe trial, aimed at slashing excessive speeds, has succeeded in slowing traffic down from an average of 43mph to about 23mph, the London Road Area Local Action Team (LAT) heard last night.

Angry motorists expressed outrage when the plant pots were first introduced by Brighton and Hove City Council’s road safety team.

But so far the only accident of note happened when a drunk pedestrian fighting on the pavement stepped out into the road into oncoming traffic, the meeting was told.

While most expressed hopes a permanent solution would be more attractive and make better use of space claimed back from traffic lanes, they voted unanimously to carry on the trial.

Long-time Viaduct Road resident Penny King said: “As a lump of metal there, it’s not attractive, but the idea is good.  If you were to have nice trees in there that would be lovely.

“Like any trial, you have to give it a chance.”

Simon Bannister, from the council’s community safety projects team, said: “There are two trials going on – one is by the road safety officers looking at speed, and the other is the Viaduct Road residents trying to improve their street.

“If it’s decided that this space in the road is spare, what should we do with it?

“We need to look at whether it would be good to have a cycle lane there, or communal bins, or visitor parking rather than the plant pots.

“It’s about how to improve the liveability of Viaduct Road.”

Brighton Pavilion parliamentary candidate Clarence Mitchell said it was good to see speeds coming down, but questioned how the trial had been implemented.

He said: “Our concern when they first appeared was how they were done – it appeared to be no council involvement, no discussion at committee, they just appeared.

“On top of that we believe that putting a large immobile object is dangerous, particularly as you come round the corner from Preston Circus. I’ve heard from several motorists whose wing mirrors have been clipped.

“We also have concerns about cyclists having to move out into traffic to get round them.”

He said his preferred solution would be for overt signage and a speed camera.

Ward councillor Pete West said the trial had been approved by officers under delegated powers. He said: “These kind of things do not require a committee decision. All kinds of things are done under delegated powers, otherwise nothing would get done.

“This is just a way of seeing how speeds could be brought down. The traffic officer took the opportunity presented by the gasworks at Preston Circus.”

  1. Gerald Wiley Reply

    So according to Pete West, he is quite happy for residents to introduce their own traffic controls, without any formal review by traffic management experts and/or a review of the legal implications?

    They really are ideological, irresponsible, incompetents!

    Will the permanent solution, whatever that may be, be reviewed to confirm it conforms to all road traffic act requirements (remembering the pilot for 20 mph zones as well where they put blue markings with white 20 on them implying a minimum speed limit)?

    And finally, whilst I have unerring trust for any statistics produced by the green party, please can the base data from the claimed average of 43mph to about 23mph reduction be produced? How many weeks were included in the before and after comparison, and could any of the reduction be attributed to other changes – such as the unending Edward Street ‘upgrade’ and the 3-way temporary lights causing tailbacks?

    I assume this is just typical green party analysis, where they have just looked for a number, after the event, that matches their ideological needs.

    • feline1 Reply

      Those blue minimum speed signs are still painted on several roads round the city! Utterly clueless

  2. Iain Chambers Reply

    Great to see a grassroots/resident led scheme, and one that appears to have had a positive effect. Lots of people have got their blood pressure climbing to dangerous levels over this but it looks to me like a pragmatic low cost initiative. Hopefully the Viaduct St residents will stay engaged with this and with other issues which impact on their community.

    • stew Reply

      Lol are you employed by the green party to market stupid ideas as ‘sustainable’

  3. Jo Wadsworth Reply

    Gerald, that’s not what Pete West said – he said it was council officers who introduced the trial under delegated powers, which is quite clear in his quotes. They are continuing to take measurements as the trial is ongoing.

    Also, for clarity, it’s not the Green party which produced the speed data, it’s council officers.

    • feline1 Reply

      Oh honestly, Jo – Gerald’s basic point is completely valid.
      You blithely report there is “unanimous resident support” for the new scheme, doubtless because this ‘surprising’ trolling headline is likely to generate the most ad-clicks.
      Are you really expecting us to believe there was an actual ballot of residents, with a high voter turnout, and they all “unanimously” voted their approval?? In reality, it’s probably the same 5 residents reps on the “Local Action Team” (who proposed the scheme in the first place!!) who voted “unanimously” in favour of it.

  4. feline1 Reply

    It also doesn’t matter who produced the data – it’s clearly meaningless without proper qualification of timescale and sample size. As usual, basiclly made-up handwaving statistics are used to steam-rollering through blithering nonsense by unsackable public sector loons, merrily cheered on by local churnalists in search of maximum ad-click.

    This story about “a drunk pedestrian” does not match the eye-witness reports I had relayed to me either. Instead first appeared on these comment pages, from the keyboard of the B&HCC Road Safety Team Manager!

  5. Bob Reply

    The council have conveniently ignored all the complaints from drivers forced to a sudden stop to avoid head on collisions with the plant pots when trapped alongside a large vehicles swerving out around the obstacles.

  6. stew Reply

    Lol speeds have only dropped because the traffic jams have got worse from the town centre. You dont have to be a genius to work that out. They are dangerous and its a main road, can we all just grow up and except big city’s have main roads and cars

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