Roger Gough

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Badgers Mount: road safety plans

Last autumn, following long-standing speeding problems on the Orpington by-pass and the Old London Road and a fatal accident in which a long-standing local resident was killed, the Badgers Mount Residents Association (BMRA) brought forward a set of well-researched proposals for enhancing road safety (post of 29 September).

Taking this forward has involved speed checks, discussions with BMRA and a Kent Highways officer as well as consultations with the police, who will have to enforce any changes to speed limits. The picture as to what can be taken forward is now quite a lot clearer, and we should be able to implement a lot of the proposals:

Orpington by-pass
  • Speed limits. The BMRA proposed a reduction in the speed limit on the Orpington by-pass from the current 60mph to 40mph. Following speed checks, Kent Police made clear that they could not support this proposal, but that they were prepared to support a reduction to 50mph on part of the road. The exact scope of this has still to be clarified, but the introduction of a lower speed limit makes possible a number of other measures.
  • Supporting signage for speed limit reduction. This will comprise signs and roundels in the road highlighting the 50mph limit. It will be funded from a Kent Highways 'pot' of crash remedial measures of £22,500 set aside for Badgers Mount.
  • Extra traffic island(s). This will be installed a little to the north of the junction with Highland Road to link up with public footpath SR8 and will be funded from crash remedial measures. Once the speed limit reduction is brought in, there will be scope to look at moving one of the traffic islands in the more northerly section of the Orpington by-pass by the Badgers Road junction or adding a new island.
  • Junction signs and pedestrian crossing signs in the Badgers Road/ Fox's garage area. These will also be funded from crash remedial measures. 
  • Footpath alongside the Orpington by-pass. This would run along the eastern side of the road, which is currently poorly served, all the way from Badgers Road to the Polhill roundabout. A bid has been put in for funding from another Highways pot, the Local Transport Plan (LTP), for the financial year 2014-15. We will know in early 2014 if the bid has been successful. 
  • Other traffic calming measures. The Kent Safety Camera Partnership has been approached concerning a mobile camera site, though this is still being followed up. A flashing speed indicator is also a possibility; this would require financing from my Member Highway Fund.
  • Timber gateway signs. This was a proposal by KCC. These signs, to highlight to motorists that they are coming into a residential area, could also be paid for from my Member Highway Fund.
  • Mini-roundabout near Badgers Road junction.  This would be much more expensive than the other options and so harder to deliver. We will, however, bid for funding for a study into the feasibility and cost of the scheme.
Old London Road
  • Speed roundels. On the Old London Road, the speed limit is already 40mph, although the speed checks demonstrated that there is a significant problem of ensuring that this limit is respected. Speed roundels to remind motorists of the limit can be implemented quickly and paid for from the crash remedial measures.
  • Extra traffic islands. BMRA proposed an extra island to complete the links with SR8, plus two each by the junctions with Badgers Rise and Crest Close. The first (SR8) will certainly be installed; for the others, at least one island can be installed at each location, and perhaps two, depending on cost and an assessment of whether two islands rather than one are needed in each location.
  • Timber gateways. As on the Orpington by-pass, this could be paid for from my Member Highway Fund.
  • Other traffic calming measures. As on the Orpington by-pass, an approach has been made to the Kent Safety Camera Partnership about a mobile camera site, while a flashing speed indicator looks desirable and would be a call on my Member Highway Fund.
Overall, therefore, while not everything in the BMRA report can be delivered, a great deal can and this should make a major difference to safety and the quality of life of local residents. Some measures may take longer to implement than the current financial year because of the variety of calls on, for example, my Member Highway Fund; however, many measures can be brought in quickly, in particular those related to signage. In particular, once we have full clarity from Kent Police regarding the area of the Orpington by-pass covered by the reduction in speed limit to 50 mph, it should be possible to make rapid progress.

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