05 March 2017

Improving Dartmouth Road

Over the course of 2017, Dartmouth Road will be under-going a makeover with the aim of improving the street for all road users. This will cause a fair amount of disruption as sections of the road will require a contra-flow system to be instituted — whereby traffic lights will permit traffic to flow in only one direction at a time — to allow work to proceed as quickly as possible without completely closing this important route for buses and other vehicles.

With £1.2m being spent on the project there are quite a lot of improvements that will be made, but they won’t transform Dartmouth Road into a high street ‘paradise’ since there are simply too many constraints to make that possible.

Pedestrians will see some of the greatest improvements, with slightly wider pavements where permissible, better-levelled pavements that don’t try to trip you up every few steps, and narrower roads which will be easier to cross in places. However, there will not be any pedestrian islands, and the scheme will not address the issues at the junction with the South Circular, as this is a TfL-controlled road.

Bus passengers will benefit from two new bus stops closer to the shops and swimming pools on Dartmouth Road. Buses will be able to move more easily because of the replacement of single yellow lines with double yellow lines, which will reduce the problem that buses have in trying to get passed parked cars. However, there will not be any bus-stop bays for the buses, so cars will have to wait for them to load and unload passengers.

Parking will be slightly improved, with a few additional parking bays located opposite the pool. In addition, there will be some loading bays on wider parts of the pavement, allowing for traders to load and unload without creating any pinch-points in the road. We are hoping that parking bays will allow parking for slightly longer than the current 30-minute limit. Residents’ parking will not be permitted opposite Holy Trinity School, as this location next to a bus stop and a pedestrian crossing outside the school is no longer suitable for parking.

Cars and other vehicles are expected to encounter smoother-flowing traffic on Dartmouth Road. While there may well be queues up to the traffic lights to join the South Circular, reducing the problem parking will ensure that traffic will flow smoother when it can and avoid having to wait for buses and lorries to manoeuvre past each other.

Cyclists will, unfortunately, gain little benefit from the scheme. Dartmouth Road is not cycle-friendly today and it will not be much better after this scheme has been completed. The best that has been suggested is that, by narrowing the road, vehicles will be less tempted to overtake cyclists without giving them the necessary space.

Although 2017 will not be fun for users of Dartmouth Road while the works drag on for at least nine months, we can look forward to a more welcoming town centre and a slightly improved road layout in 2018.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Not true to say there will be more parking places. More than a dozen spaces on private land opposite the school/library are going to be blocked. So parking for the school, library, shops, pools and Louise House will be much more difficult. The narrowing of the road will also mean no pulling-over, so good luck to everyone trying to drop children off at Holy Trinity, or pick them up.