The closure of the A34 last week has highlighted the problem with the road. All southbound traffic diverted through the Downland's via the A338 or via Newbury. The traffic until late morning on these roads received a constant flow of HGV's and cars and, in the view of the residents that I have spoken to, very few respected the communities or speed limits of our Downland villages.
The cost of this closure to our economy is likely to be measured in the millions, but who has counted the number of minor accidents due to the sheer volume and recklessness of the traffic through our Downland villages? Great Shefford took the brunt of the traffic this time with Wantage a major sticking point just north in Oxfordshire.
For the HA to find no problem with accident rates on this route exposes the narrowness of their vision. They see the most serious accidents and nothing in their figures represent the number of minor incidents attended by the emergency services/motoring services and none seem to include any information from the insurance industry – one of the better measures of the true number of incidents.
It is still clear that there is a problem on these roads. A variable speed limit based around 50mph common speed could reduce the number of accidents to near zero and would add at most three minutes to the journey time of an 80mph average speed motorist (and next to nothing for anyone on or below the speed limit).
So why do the HA defend these three minutes? Where is West Berkshire Council? Where is Cllr George Chandler? This complacency shows why we need the Green Party represented in West Berkshire – we are the only party interested in constructive citizen centric change.