September 19 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, July 24, 2014
The town will be asked this September if it likes the idea of Equality Streets to calm traffic in the High Street.
FEWER signs, lines and traffic lights could be the future of Ilfracombe High Street if a new ‘shared space’ scheme is adopted.
A consultation in September will ask what people think of Equality Streets, an idea promoted by Ilfracombe video producer Martin Cassini.
He says traffic can be calmed without banning it altogether, with pedestrians, cyclists and motorists able to share the same space.
The town council has been looking at the situation for months following a study by Devon County Council. It had narrowed down options to pedestrianisation during the summer from 11am to 4pm or a one way.
Both had problems and when Mr Cassini gave a presentation, the council transport working group believed this could be an alternative.
He has been working on it with consultants Keith Firth and Thomas Rimmer of Jacobs, with the result to go out for consultation together with pedestrianisation and one-way options.
“Ilfracombe is more pioneering than Braunton and Barnstaple, neither of which, despite support from Sir Nick Harvey MP, pursued my proposals for reform,” said Mr Cassini.
“We are likely to propose removal of all traffic lights except the ones outside the Ilfracombe Centre.
“I advocate ‘all-way give-ways’. They bring low approach speeds and remove danger and disadvantage to side road-users or people on foot.”
This could mean widening pavements, such as the Combe Martin entrance to the High Street, and creating single lanes where drivers take turns, as in country lanes or villages.
“Resolving traffic issues in Ilfracombe is not the easiest task and we are all going to have to accept compromises. We had to keep in mind the probable development of 750 houses in the Tesco area,” said Councillor Rod Donovan of the ITC transport group.
“We are very aware the High Street is not the nicest place to shop, because of the clear preference of cars over pedestrians. The pavements are too narrow and cars can move too fast.
“Equality Streets gives equal rights to cars and pedestrians, automatically slowing cars down and allowing pedestrians far more freedom.”