Over recent years, vehicle speeds exceeding the legal limits on roads in and around the parish of Aston Rowant have become an issue of considerable concern. So much so that your parish council (ARPC) has collaborated with Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) to address this problem head-on. The results of OCC Highways monitoring equipment in 2020 clearly demonstrated that action was urgently required to make our roads safer for all users.
Devices to control vehicle speeds are known as “traffic calming installations”. These methods come in various forms which are now familiar features on roads throughout the UK and include computer monitored average speed cameras; speed humps; road narrowing pinch points and chicanes, to name but a few.
The most recent application of traffic calming measures in the parish was building a chicane at the southern approach to Kingston Blount (just south of the junction of the B4009 and Kingston Hill/Stert Road). The effectiveness of this installation triggered the proposal for a chicane at the junction of the B4009 and the Aston Road village road, another busy location.
OCC therefore designed a similar construction for Aston Rowant, painted a provisional layout on the road surface, and on Tuesday 27th July built a temporary chicane of traffic cones to monitor the practicalities of such a future installation.
This test run was very successful and demonstrated that, even without full road signage, traffic speeds were significantly reduced, and junction safety was visibly improved.
For those not familiar with this form of traffic calming, chicanes regulate traffic speed by means of creating a serpentine curve in a road, added by design rather than dictated by geography. They slow traffic approaching a lower speed limit zone requiring them to give-way to oncoming vehicles heading towards a raised speed limit. The chicane proposed for Aston Rowant is in fact a mirror of the Kingston Blount installation, with similar proximity to the Kingston Hill junction as that proposed for the Aston Rowant village road.
Traffic from Kingston Blount approaching the 30mph stretch of road at Aston Rowant will be required to give-way to vehicles heading in the opposite direction. Kingston Blount bound traffic will be slowed down but have priority and flow uninterrupted past the junction.
Before finalising the design and precise location of any calming installation, and following test runs, OCC will conduct a consultation process which involves the police service, fire and ambulance authorities, and publishing information in local media. In the case of Aston Rowant, this process will also apply to the forthcoming implementation of a change of limit from 30mph to 20mph within the village itself and, beyond that, potentially extending the same reduction to 20mph on village roads in Kingston Blount.
Comments on all calming proposals are also welcomed from the general public, and to that end ARPC suggest that if you have any queries or comments on the current scheme please put them in writing to myself and I will share them with OCC in order to contribute towards their decision making procedure.
Cllr John Wyatt
Traffic Calming Coordinator for Aston Rowant