How will closing gaps be safer?

THE letter from councillors Irene Richards and Alan Rice (Worthing Herald, last week) is highly selective in the facts it quotes with regard to The Boulevard gap closures.

The prioritisation of a proposed traffic regulation order (TRO) to close the gaps was not unreasonable in April, 2010, when this matter first came before the Worthing County Local Committee (CLC), since there had been five accidents involving injuries associated with the gaps during 2007-08.

However, a public consultation in November 2010 raised serious concerns about increased congestion at The Boulevard roundabouts, which already had their own history of personal injury accidents, if traffic emerging from Nelson and Strathmore Roads was unable to use the gaps.

West Sussex County Council’s director of communities and infrastructure – the council officer advising the CLC – estimated there would be an additional 1,200 vehicle movements per day at these roundabouts and said “it would not be prudent to push more traffic, including cyclists, onto the roundabouts where there is an accident history”.

He recommended the gaps remain open and the TRO withdrawn from the priority list.

The CLC refused to accept this and demanded a new report recommending closure of the gaps.

When this was finally produced in July, 2012, The Boulevard gaps had been free of injury accidents for more than four years, while in the same period there had been nine injury accidents at the roundabouts, three of them serious.

Councillors Richards and Rice do not address the question of traffic displacement at all.

Can they explain to Herald readers how road safety in The Boulevard will be improved by increasing the risk of injury to road users at the roundabouts, when the gaps that currently relieve traffic pressure there are closed?

Barbara Booker

Orchard Avenue

Worthing