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A2 and A251 junction at Faversham could get traffic lights while Canterbury could get 20mph limit as KCC make drastic road changes

Drastic changes to improve road safety and make driver's lives better have been proposed by KCC.

Traffic chiefs want to turn huge swathes of North Canterbury into 20mph zones, while a £1.7 million congestion busting plan for nearby Faverham's busiest junction has also been drawn up.

Lengthy queues on the A251 are not uncommon
Lengthy queues on the A251 are not uncommon

In Faversham traffic lights could be installed at the A251 and A2 interchange and KCC has asked town residents to share their thoughts on the proposed scheme.

Road bosses want to give the notorious junction a major overhaul, with a signalled pedestrian crossing being installed to increase safety.

Work could start as early as October and be complete by mid-2021 - subject to the required land being purchased.

Currently during rush hour, queues build up and drivers are left in no man’s land when attempting to cross the A2, but KCC hopes to alleviate the gridlock.

The authority proposes widening the A251 Ashford Road and removing part of the verge to accommodate an additional lane which would filter traffic turning left onto the A2.

KCC want a three-way traffic light system to be installed at the junction
KCC want a three-way traffic light system to be installed at the junction

The southern side of the A2 would also be widened to provide an additional lane on the approach to the lights.

This is envisaged to allow traffic to turn left onto the A251 or continue straight ahead along the A2.

The three sets of signals would include two on the A2, one set heading eastbound, one set heading westbound, and a third on the A251.

KCC also proposes banning vehicles from turning right out of Preston Grove onto the A2.

The council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, Michael Payne, said: “This much-needed improvement for traffic in Faversham has been a long time in gestation but I am pleased to say that Kent Highways are now in a position to progress with their plans.

“Back in 2014 we consulted with residents on proposals to improve the junctions and two options, a roundabout and a signalised junction, were presented.

KCC Cllr Michael Payne
KCC Cllr Michael Payne

“The consultation responses favoured a signalised junction and ultimately officers agree that this would deliver the best improvements to congestion.

“Where there is space, the pavements will also be made wider allowing more room for pedestrians as well as making it safer for them to cross the A2 and A251.”

To take part in the consultation, click here.

The closing date for people to share their views is midnight on Monday, September 14.

In Canterbury the new speed limit could introduced across 30 city streets.

The streets earmarked for the new limits
The streets earmarked for the new limits

The entirety of St Dunstans Street, North Lane and St Peter’s Place, which are currently only partially covered by the limit, would become 20mph zones.

The speed restrictions would radiate from these streets - along a 10m stretch of St Stephens Road from its junction with North Lane; along Orchard Street, from its junction with St Dunstans Street to where it meets New Street; and along Whitstable Road, from where it meets St Dunstans up to its junction with Harkness Drive.

The plans would also see brand new 20mph limits introduced across 25 other roads in Canterbury which currently have 30mph limits, including Station Road West and a number of residential areas.

The county council has launched a consultation into the plans following a number of calls for lower speed limits to be introduced in the city.

Martin Vye is a member of the Canterbury Society, which has long argued such restrictions would improve road safety, encouraging more people to walk or cycle.

The Canterbury Society's Martin Vye in Orchard Street, which could become a 20mph zone if the plans go ahead
The Canterbury Society's Martin Vye in Orchard Street, which could become a 20mph zone if the plans go ahead

The former Kent county councillor, who last year petitioned the county and city councils’ Joint Transportation Board to introduce more 20mph zones, says he is “delighted” KCC has launched a consultation into the plans.

Before stepping down from the county council three years ago, roads such as Queens Avenue and Orchard Street - which will become 20mph areas if the plans go ahead - formed part of his county division.

“I pressed for 20mph zones in those roads Orchard Street and Queens Avenue because they are very much a rat run,” he said.

“Queens Avenue is on a national cycle route. You’ve also got young people coming across from the Canterbury Academy, going home, going into the underpasses, and people coming from the London Road estate onto Queens Avenue.

“I hope very much these plans will go ahead, because the Canterbury Society does believe it is time to slow down traffic in these residential roads.”

He added that while the consultation looks “pretty comprehensive” regarding roads in the north of the city, the south appears to have been left out of the plans.

“But I am very glad KCC are taking this step,” he said. “I hope very much it will get support from local people. Then maybe as a result, they’ll extend it to the south.”

The plans have been welcomed by those including MP Rosie Duffield, who said: “This would make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists and help promote active travel in our city.”

But others have expressed doubt over how effective the new limits would be.

Robert Ashford asked: “This is all well and good but how are you going to enforce this?”

Andy Finch added: “You mean like the 20mph speed limits in Whitstable where each night and weekend we have racing up and down the high street?”

A KCC spokesman said the main aim of the scheme is to “improve road safety in the main pedestrian areas, and help improve public health by creating a road environment that encourages walking and cycling by encouraging slower vehicle speeds”.

They added that the project forms part of a wider scheme of improvements along the A290 corridor from Canterbury to Whitstable, most of which are still being designed and investigated.

The consultation is available for comment on KCC’s website until August 17.

For more information and to have your say, click here.

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