Changes proposed for crossing and roundabout on busy St Albans road
PUBLISHED: 14:31 09 January 2018 | UPDATED: 14:36 09 January 2018
Planned changes to a major city throughfare have come under fire from neighbours.
Herts County Council has decided to spend Section 106 money from the nearby Gabriel Square development on tackling safety issues on London Road.
The plans involve widening the pavement near the entrance to the Odyssey Cinema to help people coming and going from the venue.
A pedestrian crossing would be moved from the eastern entrance to the Esso garage, closer to the other entrance point.
But London Road resident Paul Davies said: “I consider the whole thing a waste of time and money.
“They have this Section 106 money from Gabriel Square and they need to use it for something before the expiry date.”
Section 106 agreements can involve a developer paying money to the local authority to off-set a development, in this case the luxury flats and townhouses of Gabriel Square.
He said: “The problem at the moment is people turning right out of the fuel station.
“If they moved the crossing to the other end of that station, they will encounter a small problem with the other exit because people use that western entrance as an exit as well. People will turn left out of there onto the crossing.”
Mr Davies argued that the cinema wasn’t a concern: “Unless it’s absolutely full you do not get a lot of people coming out - it’s never been a problem.
“The pavement widening would also entail the loss of about six parking spaces, which are really valuable to shopkeepers and residents.”
The Liberal Democrats have surveyed local residents, and said people are generally pleased with the proposals.
County councillor for St Albans Central Chris White said: “There is a lot of foot traffic around and it’s not terribly pedestrian-friendly. “Before the cinema reopened no-one used that crossing, but I certainly notice it now.
“The other thing is the southernmost exit from the Esso garage, where people are swinging right, immediately onto a pelican crossing.
“It’s the usual problem in St Albans: everything is in conflict with everything else, but it’s a welcome change and I’m glad they found money to deal with it.”
The county council also wants to change the roundabout linking London Road with Alma Road by extending the median [mid-road waiting point] nearest to the cinema by 3m, and moving the median on Alma Road nearer to London Road.
Mr Davies worries this will mean HGV drivers will not be able to turn their lorries around on the roundabout before coming into the city centre.
He said he would prefer the money was spent on the crossing outside Playschool Nursery on Alma Road.
“People have been nearly run over on that crossing.”
He suggested making the crossing much more visible to drivers by installing a larger speed bump known as a table.
A Herts County Council spokesperson said: “We have proposed these schemes to solve the problem of pedestrians congregating on the footway outside of the Odyssey Cinema and spilling onto the carriageway, and also to improve their access onto the London Road and Alma Road junction.
“We are currently conducting an informal consultation to gauge public opinion and if the proposals are supported we will develop the schemes further. We will of course take on board the consultation feedback and then carry out a formal consultation.
“The majority of vehicles enter the Esso garage from the western side and exit at the eastern side.
“We believe relocating the crossing should therefore improve the awareness of drivers as they are exiting.
“We have done an initial assessment on parking loss, and are currently in discussion with St Albans council on the matter.
“As part of the design process, we have assessed the turning movements at the roundabout and the proposed changes do not create any issues for lorries. We will be in a position to make further comments on the scheme once the informal consultation stage concludes.”
To see and comment on the consultation visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk
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