Queen Street trial to remain in place to allow further resident feedback
Published: Tuesday, 30th July 2019
Proposals that could encourage more people to walk and cycle, and reduce accidents in Maidenhead Town Centre, will continue to be trialled to allow further resident and stakeholder feedback.
The proposal, which sees the removal of the right-hand turn from the Queen Street junction onto the A308, allowing pedestrians and cyclists to access the town centre more easily by creating a larger, more direct crossing, was discussed at Maidenhead Town Forum on Wednesday 24 July 2019.
At the meeting Councillors and members of the public heard how a trial of the proposals, which started on Monday 8 July, had run smoothly with few delays reported. In addition, there is early evidence that since the introduction of the trial scheme many road users have changed their behaviour, taking the pressure off some of the more congested roads. The trial also coincided with the introduction of a new two-way system on The Broadway to help reduce any impact on motorists.
Cllr Andrew Johnson, lead member for infrastructure, transport policy and housing said: “Initial evidence from the trial has shown that the new system works well and has not caused undue delays elsewhere on our town centre road network.
“However, it would not be right to proceed with this change until we have sought further feedback from residents now that they have had time to experience the new layout.”
The scheme has received support from Thames Valley Police (TVP) who state that this change will “have little effect on the ability of TVP to respond or get around the town centre in an emergency. The distance from the point of the closure to Stafferton Way roundabout is approximately 300 metres which should not unduly impact on Police response times.” TVP have also indicated that they agree with the analysis that this change could reduce accidents in the area and allow traffic to flow more freely. The scheme has also received support from the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service.
Cllr Johnson continued: “I am pleased to hear that some of our emergency services colleagues have confirmed our thoughts that this change will not have a detrimental effect on their ability to get to people as quickly as possible and that it will also help reduce serious accidents in the area. However, it's vital we also hear from South Central Ambulance Service to ensure all our partners have had a chance to feedback on these proposals.”
Those attending the meeting heard how the removal of this right-hand turn would allow a dedicated cycle lane to be created making it easier to cycle to and from the station. This would be complemented by an additional 250 cycle storage spaces planned for Maidenhead railway station which forms part of our cycling strategy. This change would also allow key paths to be increased in size meaning pedestrians waiting to cross the road will not be inadvertently pushed into busy on-coming traffic due to lack of space.
The scheme would also help towards the Royal Borough’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 following the decision to declare a climate emergency in the borough.
Cllr Johnson concluded: “These proposals have been drawn up to help encourage more residents to walk or cycle to the town centre or train station, contributing to our plans to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, and our cycling strategy.
“However, it is vital that our residents are comfortable with this change. Giving residents the opportunity to provide further feedback, as well as re-engaging with some of our key emergency service stakeholders will ensure that this important decision is made in a fully informed way.”
The trial scheme will remain in place while further consultation takes place and residents can expect details of a further engagement shortly. The decision on whether to proceed with the scheme will be made by Full Council at their September meeting on Tuesday 24 September.