A resident of a village near Truro has condemned a new trial to ban vehicles using rat runs is putting lives at risk.
Yesterday (Thursday, September 16) saw the introduction of a Quiet Lanes trial by Cornwall Council to ban traffic using a 15km (just under ten-mile) network of roads between Shortlanesend and Threemilestone safer for people wanting to walk and cycle in the area by banning through traffic.
According to recent monitoring, around 200 vehicles use the lanes during peak hours, with many commuters using it as a rat run to get to the Royal Cornwall Hospital at Treliske and schools.
Only residents and their visitors, as well as companies delivering to properties within the zone and emergency services, will be allowed to use the lanes during the six-month trial. An Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO) will be used to stop motor vehicles from using the lanes except for access, with legally enforceable prohibition signs erected at 11 entry points.
However, some people questioned whether the first day of the trial was a success.
Trudy Dowty commented on CornwallLive’s Facebook page yesterday: “Great idea, made very little difference this morning between 7am and 10am, still over 100 cars ‘accessing the area’. Let’s hope they don’t have an accident as are they even insured?”
Ruth Cranford, who lives in Shortlanesend, has written to the council’s contractor Cormac and her local councillor, airing fears that the new trial is putting people’s lives at risk in her village.
She took part in traffic monitoring in the commuter village on Thursday and says that traffic through Shortlanesend increased by 65 per cent as a result of rat run ban, with in excess of 600 traffic movements recorded in an hour and a half.
There were also reports of increased traffic on the A390 in the area of the hospital at peak times.
Ruth told CornwallLive: “Feelings are running so high that whilst counting cars I have witnessed so many gestures that I am not acquainted with the meaning of but have a good guess as to the interpretation.”
She has written to Cormac and David Harris, Cornwall councillor for Gloweth, Malabar & Shortlanesend, stating: “In one day this brainchild of a scheme has managed to increase the traffic along Ashley Road and Forge Way at Shortlanesend by 65 per cent.
“As you will appreciate, Forge Way is a single width carriageway with no pavements. Ashley Road residents’ drives have no splays therefore these poor people are playing a lottery trying to egress from their homes into high volume fast moving traffic. Meanwhile residents at Forge Way play roulette trying to walk along their own road to access services.
“We are so grateful that Cormac has done its best to put our lives at even more risk. In just one and half hours of monitoring and collating figures there were in excess of 600 traffic movements. Somewhat knocks the stats regarding the back lanes into a cocked hat wouldn’t you agree?”
She added that traffic was sometimes travelling in excess of 60mph in a 30mph zone through Shortlanesend.
Ruth has asked the council to be “sympathetic towards designing and implementing a traffic calming scheme for us, which we have been requesting for over 12 years, to offset the consequences of this ridiculous debacle”.
She added: “Residents outside of the speed limits along the Shortlanesend to Zelah road are at their wits’ end with the volume of speeding traffic passing their properties and how dangerous it is for pedestrians, so maybe discussions should also take place to mitigate this problem which will now be exacerbated by the scheme.”
Writing on CornwallLive’s Facebook page, Katie Jose said: “Living on these roads, I see both sides. Those that live there have no choice but to use them, but I usually have to go against the flow of traffic which is a nightmare trying to do the school run. The speed in which some people drive along these is ridiculous, and common courtesy to say thank you when someone has reversed to a decent pull in doesn’t kill people!
“Average speed cameras would be better here as that way at least the speed in which people drive along them is reduced making it safer for all and would no doubt put some people off using them anyway.”
Jamie Ashley added: “Speed limit and a couple of speed cameras would be easier. Truro and surrounding areas is already congested 22/24 hours a day so that will now add to it.”
Luke Garth said: “Nice, force more traffic through Truro so it’ll take well over an hour to pass through Truro. The traffic management is already a complete joke.”
However, JJ Murrell was in favour: “It’s a great idea as a walker. For all the people complaining put yourselves for five minutes in the shoes of the walkers and cyclists. Try walking one of these lanes for five minutes when cars are on it and see how often you have to stand in a hedge to let a car past or, worse, dive straight into the hedge because they are going so fast and coming straight at you.”
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