Objections win rethink over Keynsham town centre crossings

April 03 2015

The final location of a zebra crossing in the centre of Keynsham will not be decided until the results of a new traffic study are in, it has been announced.

The final location of a zebra crossing in the centre of Keynsham will not be decided until the results of a new traffic study are in, it has been announced.

Siting of the crossings around the Civic Centre has proved a contentious issue over the past few months, with residents and councillors alike raising concerns that proposed locations ignored “desire lines” – the points where people actually wanted to cross the roads.

This, they said, could put pedestrians at risk as they might continue to cross to the new buildings at points without crossings.

Following objections to the scheme and calls for a crossing on Temple Street closer to the junction with Bath Hill, council officers will now be carrying out a study to see if an extra crossing can be installed, a spokesperson for Bath and North East Somerset Council confirmed.

The original proposals revealed zebra crossings would be created on Bath Hill near the entrance to the Memorial Park and on Temple Street near the fire station, while the zebra crossing on Rock Road would be upgraded to a light-controlled crossing.

But the proposals received 30 objections, with people calling for a rethink. And at Keynsham Town Council’s annual town meeting on March 19, one resident who raised concerns over pedestrian access described the new civic centre as “a fine building that is in the equivalent of a moat”.

Pending the results of the traffic study, existing plans for the zebra crossing on Temple Street might be altered or dropped.

The plans were initially approved by the Cabinet’s transport chief at the end of March, but after talks with local councillors the Temple Street study was agreed.  The rest of the works covered by the traffic regulation order (TRO), including a series of parking restrictions on town centre streets and the Bath Hill zebra crossing, can go ahead.

Keynsham councillor Alan Hale, who carried out his own survey of the routes pedestrians were using to reach the Market Walk site, said: “It beggars belief that anyone can design a civic centre and then make it dangerous to reach by totally ignoring a pedestrian desire-line established over four decades and instead installing a controlled crossing where there is little demand to cross – meaning pedestrians continue to cross through moving traffic without the aid of a crossing.”

Councillor Charles Gerrish added: “Residents of Keynsham have had to live with an incomplete town centre for far longer than they should have.  These issues should have been resolved months ago – or even at the planning stage of the development.”

A council spokesperson said: “A traffic study is being completed over the next few weeks to see if a light controlled crossing on Temple Street can be achieved.

“Subject to the outcome of this study, there will be a future decision with the objective being to locate this extra crossing on Temple Street just to the north
of the junction with Rock Road.

“If this can be achieved the previously agreed zebra crossing on Temple Street will either not be implemented or varied. The rest of the TRO decision is unaffected by the study and can be implemented immediately, which means delays to works scheduled to be completed in April can be avoided.”