It's not often that you see Colston Avenue as clear as this these days. The photo on the right was taken on Saturday lunchtime and shows how different the road is when commuters are not filling the road. Usually cars have to crawl through the middle with drivers surging ahead to fill gaps when one appears. The pinch points become punch points, stretching a hundred yards rather than the short width of the chicane.
Whisper it quietly, but we might have got a resolution. As I reported back in December, the results from the Controlled Parking Zone came back and were quite clearly against but Colston Avenue has not been forgotten. Officers have worked on a plan to remove the vast majority of parking on the road, leaving just the pavement parking and a small number of bays on the road. This will free up the road space to help the flow of cars. The pinch points will remain to ensure that the increased flow does not translate to excessive speed. Consideration has been given to adding signs to prioritise one direction over the other. However, there is a danger that this gives drivers a false sense of security, making them over-confident and lunging for the opening ahead of oncoming vehicles. Traffic flow will be monitored before further consideration is given to this change.
There are two further projects that affect Colston Avenue. A scheme to make walking to school safer for pupils at Camden Junior School has already resulted in a "tactile paving" crossing near the West Street Junction and as part of a wider scheme with the catchy title of STEPS Zone 19, a zebra crossing has been approved to be built on Westmead Corner and Colston Avenue will have a 20mph speed limit.
Colston Avenue has always been something of a pet project of mine. The original traffic calming scheme was pushed through as a political decision by a previous councillor for the area and Leader of the Council against the advice of officers. I'm only too pleased to sign off on a scheme that should correct this long-standing and costly mistake. Residents have asked me to deal with this as a priority for some six years now and I am glad to be able to go back to them with an answer. Having said that, not everyone will get what they want. Some wanted parking permits, others wanted the pinch points removed entirely. At least we have got something that should help. Let's see how it goes and come back to it if there are any further issues.