More Than One Way to stall traffic chaos

May 05 2016

More Than One Way to stall traffic chaos

THE campaign to make Dongola Road one way for traffic has gained momentum in the last two months and residents from other nearby roads are pressing for change too.

Fed up with constant standoffs with drivers on the narrow streets between Gloucester and Ashley Down Roads, and commuters using the area as ratruns, local residents are forming a new group with the working title, ‘More Than One Way’.

Neil Wellman, instigator of the original ‘Dongola OneWay’ proposal explained: “It’s become impossible for cars to pass each other in our narrow roads. What started as a single-issue campaign has mushroomed.

“Once we started thinking about it, we realised that whatever happens on Dongola Road affects other roads too. We have joined with representatives from Kennington Avenue who contacted us after the recent article in the Bishopston Voice and now aim to widen the campaign to include other local roads in the matrix between Gloucester and Ashley Down Roads.”

The aim is to set up an informal steering group with representatives from each road, particularly those of Kennington Avenue, Seymour Road, Brynland Avenue, and Nevil Road, that, like Dongola, act as ratruns between the main roads.

The campaign want to build local interest and support and conduct traffic and speed surveys of the streets, with police assistance.

A website is planned plus a wider poll of concerns to clarify priorities in regard to speeding, ratrunning, faceoffs, commuter parking and views on oneway and traffic calming.

Kennington Avenue resident Michelle Smith believes the traffic situation is getting worse and is in full support of something being done about it.

Michelle said: “I’m not sure what the answer is but just know that it needs to be tackled. I can’t speak for other roads, but Kennington Avenue is getting busier and busier and being used more and more as a cut through from Gloucester Rd to Ashley Down Rd and vice versa.

“It can, at times, be impossible to drive down it to get home or to leave when going out because of the number of vehicles driving up and down. Stand-offs, which can at times be very heated, are a regular occurrence and it is often total gridlock. I dread leaving or coming home sometimes and friends and family often find it difficult when they visit. Speeding is also an issue and cars often go tearing down when they do get a clear run.”

Local resident and road representative, Jodie Steimetz, commented: “As the scheme has gathered momentum over the past few weeks it has been interesting to hear other neighbours and local residents’ views and experiences of ’faceoffs’ and ‘road rage’. I was sad to hear of a recent accident involving a woman trying to place her daughter in a car seat whilst a car refused to wait behind her. This resulted in her having to have surgery to repair her broken ankle after being driven over by the impatient driver. I wish her a speedy recovery and hope that there are no further incidents.”

Neil Wellman believes that some of the incidents occur because Dongola Road is used as a ratrun.

He can cite many instances of vehicles meeting partway down the road and unable to pass due to its narrowness and a shortage of available passing spaces. This leads to drivers having to reverse to allow the other vehicle to pass but also to ‘face-offs’ where drivers refuse to move.

This is something resident Jo Sibson has also experienced in Kennington Avenue. “ Some of us have had to intervene when people get angry, myself included, as we’ve heard racist insults shouted at children and some drivers can be intimidating,” said Jo.

“We would like to remind people that we live in a community, children are playing, teenagers are walking outside wearing headphones. This road should be part of a neighbourhood, rather than a rat run and it seems like the whole area is experiencing the same problem. It gets rammed up at night and we all have to compromise a little bit.”

The group presented a submission to the Neighbourhood Partnership group in April and while there was sympathy, there was no commitment to do anything about it. 

With a new double yellow line scheme due to start soon, where the council are putting yellow lines on each corner of surrounding roads there will be a net loss of parking spaces in the area, adding to the already fraught situation.

One short-term solution suggested as a possibility by the Neighbourhood Partnership team and Bristol City Council Highways would be to create passing places. Neil is concerned that this, plus yellow lines, would further reduce parking spaces.

A Neighbourhood Partnership Forum is scheduled for May 24 . Residents from all affected roads can contact the group via the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/DongolaBS7/ or oneway@nwellman.com