Some members of the public have expressed concern in recent months with issues surrounding the safety of The Cross Redevelopment. The sole purpose and role of a Road Safety Audit is to minimise future road accident occurrence and severity once a scheme has been built and the road comes into use.
Results of the Road Safety Audit have been published by Monmouthshire County Council and the three major points raised by the public have been detailed below.
The major proposals include:
(a) Moving the bus stops further from the junction. The bus stop/shelter on the Sandy Lane approach road was originally designed to go further away from the Cross towards the zebra crossing. Following representation suggesting that a bus stop closer to The Cross promoted public bus travel it was relocated. In light of the RSA 3 the stop and shelter are now being installed further from the junction with Church Road. Moving the bus shelter at the Chepstow road end is proving much more difficult given the requirement for a castellated kerb and gradual inclines to the stop which are not feasible where the pavement is narrower (i.e. towards the Woodstock Way junction). So at this time the effectiveness of the other steps proposed in the RSA 3 will be monitored and moving this bus stop will be revisited if the danger remains such that its repositioning becomes essential.
(b) Additional signage is being introduced hopefully within the next couple of weeks. This includes 20 mph roundels and Speed Indicator Devices (SIDS) to forewarn motorists of the speed limit. Over and above these extra signs we have met with WG to examine ‘non-prescribed (approved)’ signage that at least warns the motorist of pedestrians in the highway or actually says ‘pedestrian priority’. The WG officer is familiar with the Cross layout and is speaking to her colleagues (including active travel) about what signage WG might support. This signage will be introduced as soon as we receive feedback and manufacture and installation can be arranged.
(c) The feasibility of installing a formal crossing has also been commissioned from highway consultants. In doing so the study will take into account the ‘line of desire’ of the majority of pedestrians. This is the route that a pedestrian will likely take irrespective of a formal crossing being available. Experience and previous studies show that unless a crossing is on or in very near proximity to the pedestrian chosen route they will not use it (subject traffic volumes on the highway). There is anecdotal evidence that this occurred when the pelican crossing was in place. Therefore should a formal crossing be installed a zebra crossing in very close proximity to the Church Road junction on the Sandy lane side is being examined.
The introduction of a formal crossing will be commissioned if other works are found to be ineffective. This incremental approach is being adopted because the introduction of a formal crossing will alter the behaviour of motorists where they will reasonably consider that they remain the priority in all instances other than where a pedestrian is using the zebra crossing . This destroys the concept of the scheme whereby the motorist must at drive at speeds suitable to the highway environment (i.e. where pedestrians may be in the highway) and ideally at least give way to pedestrians or even give the pedestrian priority. As background to this style of scheme and to put it in context Welsh Government is promoting active travel (cycling and walking) as the priority rather than vehicle travel and consultation on a new highway code is seeking feedback on the proposal that the pedestrian takes priority. The scheme is designed with this in mind but does rely upon the scheme (and signage) creating changes in motorists’ behaviour. The scheme will be monitored when the additional signage and bus stop are moved. However if all other actions prove to be ineffective then members will be asked to support the introduction of a formal crossing (subject to the safety audits on its position).
Of course, learning to navigate a new road can be. complicated, however with care and a little less speed we are confident that the road layout is working and will work successfully. Road users need to remember and consider that vehicles are not the priority on a shared access area, its the pedestrian.