LETTER: Traffic - Houses will have negligible effect

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D. Elsworth puts forward a well-reasoned letter (Mercury August 31) supporting his belief that the proposed housing developments for the town will “inevitably” result in “unacceptable “ effects on the town’s highway infrastructure.

I am not sure that this conclusion is correct.

Mr Elsworth bases his argument on the capacity of the Crown Square roundabout. He suggests that 1,684 new houses in the town will produce a 39 per cent increase in traffic volumes at this roundabout. This seems most unlikely to me.

Suppose these houses between them own, say, 3,000 cars. How many of these vehicles are going to pass through Crown Square in a day?

Even if they all do so (a most unlikely occurrence) that volume of increased traffic is insignificant in relation to all the cross-town traffic flowing daily through this roundabout.

The presence of these extra vehicles will have only a marginal effect on the traffic jams that the town currently experiences.

These jams are created by the five independently timed, traffic-light controlled pedestrian crossings that exist in the town centre.

Observations at the roundabout in Crown Square show that traffic there can be quite free flowing, even though there may be long traffic jams on the approaches to the three pedestrian crossings near the roundabout.

If Crown Square was a simple crossroads with integrated traffic/pedestrian lights at the junction itself, a significant improvement to traffic flows would result.

But, we all want Crown Square to stay as a mini-roundabout, don’t we?

So, we’ll continue to live with the traffic jams - the new houses will have negligible effect on this situation.

David Myles

Chartered civil engineer

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