Drivers and cyclists say new road system is 'impossible bottleneck'

December 20 2016

NEW road markings in St Andrews have led to traffic jams and complaints from drivers and cyclists.

NEW road markings in St Andrews have led to traffic jams and complaints from drivers and cyclists.

Changes to the junction of North Road with Cromwell Road introduced in the autumn give priority to traffic from North Road, but this has blocked traffic coming up the Cromwell Road slip road past the Grecian Kebab House.

At peak times traffic has backed up down to the lights at Cranbrook Road, blocking Gloucester Road buses.

The cycle lane has also been criticised for sending cyclists the wrong way into a one-way system, and for forcing them in front of other traffic.

Motorist Ben Venkoj said: “The new junction is one of the worst decisions by the council I have ever seen over the years. They have created an impossible bottleneck with massive delays from all directions. I have never seen anything like it to be honest and nothing seems to be done to resolve it, it has really created complete chaos in the area with tailbacks that are the worst in the 8 years I have been in the area.”

Now the city council has responded to complaints and is looking into whether further improvements need to be made to the junction.

St Andrews resident Jonathan Knight, who lives further up Cromwell Road and gets caught up in the jam while driving home from work each day, has passed on his own ideas for improving the junction to the council.

He said: “The scheme is pedestrian driven, at the expense of cars and cyclists.

“The two-way cycleway is ridiculous. Cyclists coming along North Road have to move over to the right-hand side of the junction to use the cycleway, then turn left up the main Cromwell Road in front of traffic.

“They were trying to stop North Road being a rat run, but now it has priority onto Cromwell Road it is used even more. The single lane exit from North Road is the worst thing. I’ve seen cars drive up over the pavement to get past the traffic jams. 

“The Cromwell Road slip road is part of the main Cromwell Road and should have right of way over traffic coming along North Road, because it doesn’t cause a problem if traffic queues on North Road.”

The council’s traffic management team responded to Mr Knight’s complaint to say that congestion might be alleviated once centre line road markings are completed at the junction.

They said: “Motorists are not currently using the junction in the expected manner, which may be due to the absence of the centre line markings or their alignment on approach to the junction. This is having a greater effect on congestion than anticipated and we are now investigating how to alter the junction to improve traffic flows without compromising the safety of pedestrians at this location.”

A Bristol City Council spokesperson said the new traffic scheme was introduced as part of a list of priorities identified by the local neighbourhood partnership group, and followed a public consultation on the plans in 2014.

He said: “The changes were designed to improve pedestrian safety, slow vehicle speeds, and reduce the number of vehicles ignoring the one-way system and using North Street as a quick through route, which endangered the lives of residents.

“The width of the road is currently in line with national guidance which dictates how much room is needed to allow for two lanes of traffic. As a result of complaints received about the work’s impact on traffic flow in the area, plans have been prepared to slightly widen the road to try to solve this issue.”