Rat run proposal will cause more problems - residents

September 06 2020
Rat run proposal will cause more problems - residents

The longstanding issue of the Dunkeld Avenue rat run could be resolved - but the proposals have attracted anger from residents.

Government rules following the Covid pandemic mean local authorities can fast-track road changes to benefit cyclists.
Now Filton's South Glos councillors - Chris Wood and Adam Monk - are suggesting a ban on traffic in the Bristol direction of Dunkeld Avenue which would end the daily rat run which sees cars often driving at high speed the length of the avenue. To achieve this, there would be no access for motor vehicles to Dunkeld Avenue from Charborough Road and to Rannoch Road from Southmead Road.
While residents on social media seem fairly agreed on the speed issue, there are concerns that such measures would affect access to Charborough, Dunkeld and Rannoch. Others say it will simply create even more gridlock on the already busy Southmead Road at rush hour.
Councillors say the rat run has been a cause for concern for many years and the new rules are a good opportunity to try an alternative, which would be safer than Southmead Road for cyclists.
They say that if the scheme does not work, it can be easily withdrawn.
Earlier this summer, under the same scheme, a temporary cycle lane was installed on the Ring Road near the Abbeywood Shopping Centre.
Although it won praise from some cyclists, the resulting congestion led to Cllr Wood having it withdrawn within a few days.
He told the Filton News and Views Facebook group: "I have proposed that two No Entry Except for Cyclists sections be installed along the road. One at the junction of Dunkeld Avenue and Charborough Road and the other at the junction of Dunkeld Avenue and Rannoch Road. 
"Vehicles will still be able to drive North East through these sections but not South West. 
"This will, if implemented correctly, prevent the current'rat run' without significantly impeding local residents' access to their properties.
"Letters will be sent to residents outlining the proposals over the next couple of weeks with the intention of installing the scheme in early September.
"The scheme is part of a wider effort to increase cycling and improve road safety."
Cllr Monk said: "This is something that I requested along with support from Chris Wood. It is impossible with traffic measures to identify something that will please everyone. The purpose of this exercise is to resolve Dunkeld being used as a rat run. As a councillor this is one of the most common complaints we receive."
One resident said: "I live right on that junction and think it will be awful. It will just cause far more problems on Southmead Road and the whole surrounding area will come to even more of a standstill. 
"As much as people speed round there, gridlock traffic on Southmead Road will be a whole lot worse. If you really need to mess with it, try speed bumps. The traffic chaos with no entry at school drop off and pick up would be terrible. We would never get in or out of our houses. No entry is not a suitable solution."
Another resident said:"This rat run only lasts for relatively short time Monday to Friday but you are proposing a poor solution that will impact local residents 24/7. It would not be policed so not effective."
And a third resident said:"I appreciate that solutions need to be found but this way means big restrictions for local residents. You are asking nearby residents to contribute to the build up of traffic on the two main road. I'ts not improving the issue. Instead it is creating more problems for local residents.
Former councillor Ian Scott said:"When I was a South Gloucestershire Councillor for Filton we were always told by officers that we could only have a scheme in Dunkeld Avenue if there was 70% residents' support which was impossible to achieve. 
"Now it appears that under COVID 19 funding, residents’ objections can be ignored."
It is understood part of the problem has been large numbers of cyclists using the pavements on Southmead Road and this would partly solve this issue.