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Paul Miller: Why taking easy route could provide solutions to our traffic troubles

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: July 11, 2014

Paul Miller: Why taking easy route could provide solutions to our traffic troubles
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Paul Miller comes up with some interesting ideas to solve Ashbourne’s traffic problems.

THE Ashbourne Neighbourhood Plan is looking for feedback on traffic.

We all complain about parking, congestion and the number of heavy goods vehicles coming through the town centre.

Solutions are considerably harder to define and, regardless of what we may think, traffic management is a Derbyshire County Council decision.

Traffic management costs money. Serious money. In the current economic climate anything which costs serious money takes a lot of persuasion and doesn’t happen overnight.

We need the strategy but then we need to sit and wait until the climate changes or the small opportunities emerge which move us a little closer in the right direction.

Those little opportunities come along all the time and they need to be taken. My attention was drawn recently to a strange and unnoticed feature of the Ashbourne landscape.

Despite the volume of traffic flowing through the town we don’t do a great deal to protect against its ravages. Lorries regularly mount kerbs and they can do so because there is very little to stop them.

There is a metal barrier but the barrier is set a long way back from the road – it almost encourages HGVs to use the cobbles.

It would make a huge difference if it was moved to the edge of the pavement on the corner of the junction.

The impact would be remarkable. Any lorry struggling to make the corner would fall foul of the barrier.

Now if a similar barrier was placed on the opposite side of the road outside Staples there would be an interesting dilemma for the lorry drivers.

They would certainly drive slower, the pavements would be protected from damage and some haulage firms may even have to choose a different route.

All from a very small investment that is more controllable at local level.

It got me thinking about what else we could do which would make a significant difference. Physical barriers could play a part elsewhere too.

People tell me that the bridge over the A515 used to be lower and, as a result, there were fewer HGVs in the centre of the town. Adding a height limit there again could force some of the large lorries which come down the hill into the Market Square to choose a different route.

We all complain about parking, congestion and the number of heavy goods vehicles but sometimes small changes can make a big difference.

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