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Kent County Council to scrap McDonald’s one-way system in Hart Street, Maidstone

A controversial one-way system in a busy town centre is to be ditched.

Kent County Council has agreed to pull the plug on the experimental one-way system around Hart Street and Barker Road at Lockmeadow in Maidstone, after admitting that it had actually worsened the problem of congestion that it had been intended to resolve.

The failed one-way system
The failed one-way system

The scheme was introduced in March, but from the beginning the owners of McDonald’s and the Marino fish and chip shop in Hart Street condemned it saying it was the exact opposite of what they had sought.

Under the scheme, traffic had been banned from entering Hart Street from its junction nearest to The Broadway, but instead had been compelled to travel along Barker Road to a mini-roundabout and enter Hart Street from the other end.

Many motorists ignored the one-way system, amid allegations that it had been poorly signed.

This morning KCC highway officers met local ward councillors Patrick Coates (Lab) and Paul Harper (Lab), Ali El-Hajj from McDonald’s and Gina Michaelas from Marino’s, along with representatives from the Clifford Way Residents Association.

Cllr Harper said: “Everyone agreed that the problems were actually worse now than before the one-way was installed.”

Cllr Paul Harper
Cllr Paul Harper

“KCC agreed to remove the scheme at the first opportunity – which will be early in June.”

Cllr Harper said there was a growing realisation that the root cause of the congestion on the estate was not so much traffic heading for the McDonald’s drive-thru restaurant as problems with the traffic lights controlling escape from Lockmeadow onto The Broadway.

That has been the argument put forward all along by many of the residents who live in the many hundreds of flats farther down the road, who have said they sometimes find themselves stranded at home, unable to get off the estate.

Cllr Harper said: “The highways officers agreed to look at the traffic lights at the junction with the Broadway to see if improvements could be made to the sensors to help ease the situation.”

Meanwhile he described the development as “positive news.”

He said: “At least we shall soon be back to where we were and not worse off.”

The unpopular One-Way into Hart Street
The unpopular One-Way into Hart Street
Kent Broadway News: the kiosk is in the way
Kent Broadway News: the kiosk is in the way

He said in the longer term, KCC would have to consider how it could widen the entrance to Barker Road from The Broadway to take two lanes.

He said: “The trouble is that would probably mean the demolition of the kiosk on the corner, and perhaps its relocation nearby, which would obviously be expensive – and there’s just no money available at the moment.”

A Kent County Council spokesman said: “Officers met with elected councillors and various business owners to discuss the experimemtal one-way system, and wider traffic issues around the Lockmeadow estate.

“We continue to review the experimental measures installed in Hart Street, in line with the comments already received by those in the area, so we can continue to amend our approach going forward.

“For the time being we request that residents and businesses continue to submit their views on the scheme via our live public consultation, while we await updated survey data.”

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