New hope for Rogate's ambitious traffic calming

A NATIONAL move towards removing road markings to slow motorists down has been welcomed by Rogate road safety campaigners.

Monday, 8th February 2016, 1:02 pm
Updated Wednesday, 17th February 2016, 5:50 am
Proposals for the centre of Rogate

First, the central markings on three London A-roads disappeared with resurfacing and now there’s a pilot scheme in Norfolk to remove lines on narrower roads, following other trials in Wiltshire and Derbyshire.

Highways chiefs across the country are claiming that ‘blank’ roads introduce a sense of uncertainty that convinces motorists to drive more cautiously, especially when faced with oncoming traffic.

And now research has shown that removing the central white line can cut the average speed of vehicles by 13 per cent.

Rogate villagers came up with an ambitious ‘shared space’ traffic calming scheme two years ago which suffered a major setback when it was costed at £500,000.

With the help of new highways officers at West Sussex County Council it is now moving forward again with cost compromises.

But with little action in the past months parish councillor Fiona Dix who is leading the Rogate initiative, has been asking the county council for assurances the scheme is still supported.

Today (Monday, February 8) she said: “This proves what we have been saying all along. It’s the sort of movement we have been waiting for because for some years academics have been discussing this idea of ‘shared space’ and it has already been implemented with great success in other countries.

“It does seem to be gathering momentum now with a rolling tide of interest and commitment bringing the matter to the forefront of people’s minds and I hope we in Rogate can roll along with it too.”

County councillor Gordon McAra who has supported the Rogate initiative from the start added: “This is good news.

“Evidence is building that drivers can be safer and slower where there are ‘blank’ roads.

“This is what we are trying to achieve at Rogate, where the county council has agreed in principle to support a shared space scheme.

“The parish council is currently waiting to get an indication of the cost of the scheme so that they can see how funds can be raised.

“I hope these new reports will give extra impetus to the proposed scheme.”

The ‘shared space’ idea was first developed in the Netherlands in the 1970s. The system aims to blur the lines between pedestrians and vehicles by taking out kerbs, surface markings and signs.

It has been found that drivers reduce their speed because of uncertainty over who has priority.

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