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Traffic calming measures for Kintore road will not go ahead

By Kyle Ritchie

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Garioch councillors have decided to not install any traffic calming measures on a road in Kintore where concerns were raised about speeding vehicles.

At its online meeting on Tuesday, the Garioch area committee assessed options for the town's School Road.

Seven were put before them, which included a range of different measures that could be carried out by Aberdeenshire Council.

However, in a vote local members decided to not go ahead with any of them.

The report initially went before the councillors in December and featured six options, but they requested that a seventh be added which was to implement a mandatory 20mph speed limit and for the proposal to come back to them.

A mandatory 20mph speed limit was an option for Kintore's School Road.
A mandatory 20mph speed limit was an option for Kintore's School Road.

The initial six options that were detailed were two speed tables as was originally proposed; two speed tables and two pairs of speed cushions; a relocated pedestrian crossing point on a raised table; a relocated pedestrian crossing point with two speed tables; a new junction layout at Tuach Road; and raising the existing pedestrian crossing and adding two speed tables.

At the meeting on Tuesday it was outlined that the committee could also choose to do nothing.

The issue began being looked into when Aberdeenshire Council's infrastructure services committee agreed to depart from the local authority's policy, due to exceptional circumstances, to allow traffic calming measures to be considered for the road and for officers to report back to the Garioch area committee.

Roads manager Brian Strachan told the meeting: "The updated report has the addition of option seven, which is a permanent 20mph speed limit over the current timed speed limit area which is only in place during school in and out times.

"I can confirm that the implementation of a permanent 20mph speed limit for this section along School Road is deemed an appropriate extension to what will be, or in the near future will be, the town centre 20mph order and can be taken forward and implemented in advance and in isolation.

"What we don't yet have is a defined timescale for the implementation of the 20mph rollout across Aberdeenshire. The initial estimate is one year from commencement of the process until full implementation but the start date for the process is still not confirmed."

In the report that went before the committee in December it said: "The roads and infrastructure service carried out a traffic survey on School Road between 18th and 25th of September 2021, the counters being mounted adjacent to the pedestrian crossing.

"Having had the data interpreted by the council’s road safety engineering unit it has advised that – only 35-40 per cent of the readings showed speeds less than 20mph during the periods when the school 20mph signs were in operation.

"However, that figure is three times the national compliance rate for such limits which sits at 14 per cent. The volume of trucks/semi-trucks was higher than would be expected on this type of road but would include buses and larger vans.

"As a result, there is still no support for traffic calming measures from either the council’s roads standards group nor the road safety engineering unit."

Councillor Glen Reid has been campaigning for improved road safety in the town and was supportive of the traffic calming measures.

He told the meeting: "We have a huge speeding problem here and it has been an issue for at least two-and-a-half years.

Councillor Glen Reid was supportive of the traffic calming measures.
Councillor Glen Reid was supportive of the traffic calming measures.

"I don't believe changing it to a 20mph zone or doing nothing are valid options. They are not going to change driver behaviour.

"We've had a history of near misses here and in all good conscience we cannot do nothing."

He outlined that option two which would install speed tables with speed cushions was his preference and his motion was supported by councillor Victoria Harper.

Councillor Lesley Berry put forward an amendment that the status quo be kept and nothing should be done.

She said: "It's contrary to Aberdeenshire policy, the problems exist outside every school across Aberdeenshire and Kintore is very well served with the existing traffic calming measures.

Councillor Lesley Berry put forward an amendment to keep the status quo and do nothing.
Councillor Lesley Berry put forward an amendment to keep the status quo and do nothing.

"I would like to propose that we do nothing and we'll see what the legislation regarding the blanket 20mph speed limit brings us."

She was seconded by councillor Marion Ewenson.

In the vote councillors were nine to six in favour of the amendment.

After the meeting councillor Reid said: "Council officers have carried out two traffic speed analysis, over two years, and both have shown that the largest group of traffic is speeding at all three times.

"It has taken two-and-a-half years to get here, there have been many near misses, and I felt that we could not wait any longer. I also believe that just changing it from a part-time 20mph zone to a full-time one would not change driver behaviour.

"My motion was voted for by six councillors, including councillor Martin Ford, but shockingly Conservative local members Dominic Lonchay and David Keating voted to do nothing, along with seven other councillors.

"They won, and there will now be no traffic calming installed or an early moving forward of the 20mph zone.

"I am utterly dismayed at this as I know that many in the community wanted safer roads. Please remember who stopped this happening."

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