Villagers plan action to stop future traffic nightmare

A NEW group has been set up in Backwell to try to find a solution to a predicted traffic crisis in the village.

Backwell Sustainable Travel Action Group wants to reduce the number of vehicles in the parish by campaigning for a network of paths for walkers and cyclists which link different areas of the village.

Peter Rogers and a number of fellow residents founded the group after Backwell’s Neighbourhood Plan predicted traffic gridlock in the area by 2026, with queues three times the size of their current length at the crossroads during peak times.

The extra traffic is expected due to Bristol Airport’s expansion and development in the area.

Backwell Parish Council has suggested a number of measures to try to ease the problem, including traffic calming measures in Church Lane, Rodney Road and other streets which are used as rat runs.

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The council wants to promote public transport and secure footpath and cycle links for the small amount of development which will be permitted in the village, before the new homes are occupied.

However, some residents feel more needs to be done to try to prevent the traffic chaos.

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Mr Rogers, said: “These traffic predictions amount to a real crisis for Backwell.

“The plan is complacent about the scale of the problem, and we think the measures the parish council has put forward in the plan are unlikely to do more than slow the rate of increase in traffic.”

The group believes the solution involves reducing car use within the village.

Mr Rogers added: “Unless people are presented with a practical, attractive alternative to the car, they will continue to use them to drive within the village.

“If we can just take 50 cars per hour off Station Road at peak times, it will make a real difference, as well as helping those who genuinely need to use their cars for practical reasons.”

Members are calling for specific proposals to be included in the draft plan for safe cycling and walking routes within the village and a commitment to fund a feasibility study by North Somerset Council’s highways department.

The group is keen to work with the parish council, Sustrans, North Somerset Council and schools, once the plan has been approved, to help make it a reality.

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