Reject the inadequate proposals for the Junction of The Mall and the A2

Proposals for the junctions of The Mall with the A2 and the A2 with the Ashford Road have been published by Kent County Council. 

Overall summary
The proposals are unacceptable. They will send more traffic through the congested A2/A251 junction than at present. They will push traffic down local roads. They do nothing to promote pedestrian or cycling movement. Faversham Town Council and Swale Borough Council should oppose them in the strongest terms.

Junction of the Mall and the A2
The proposals have two significant failings.

First, the proposals ban traffic from turning right out of The Mall into the A2. This turning is made by perhaps 10% of all vehicles moving out of The Mall onto the A2. The consequence of the ban is that vehicles wanting to make the right turn will either need to find an alternative route through nearby back streets, thus putting more traffic down these residential streets or, more likely, they will turn left out of The Mall and then make a U-turn at the roundabout. The effect of this will be to put even more traffic through the junction with the A2 and the Ashford Road than is currently the case.

The proposals therefore risk exacerbating the situation rather than reducing it. 

Second, the proposals take westbound traffic turning right from the A2 into The Mall into the same single lane that is used by eastbound traffic turning left from the A2 into The Mall. At present, eastbound traffic and westbound traffic turning into The Mall do so in two separate lanes either side of the central island. The way it works today is that if westbound right-turning traffic sees eastbound traffic that is indicating to make the left turn then this is a signal that the right-turning traffic can also make the turn since the left-turning traffic will be slowing down and creating a gap for the right-turning traffic. As a result, westbound traffic turning right into The Mall today only has to wait for a gap in the traffic that is heading east along the A2.

This possibility is done away with in the proposals since any westbound traffic wanting to make the right turn into The Mall will have to wait until any eastbound traffic making the left turn has done so. This will reduce the efficiency of the junction for right-turning traffic. This is especially significant because westbound right-turning traffic creates much of the congestion in the current situation.

The proposals therefore risk exacerbating the situation rather than reducing it. 

Pedestrian crossings
The proposals make inadequate provision for pedestrian crossings. The only crossing provided is an informal one that connects a small number of destinations to the south east of the roundabout with the town centre. While helpful for those few destinations, the crossing is of limited use otherwise and certainly not an adequate response for the junction as a whole.

The proposals therefore fail to encourage active travel on foot.

Cycle provision
When the lack of cycle provision was raised in the 2014 public consultation, the Joint Transportation Board was told:

“18. Observations were made that the outline designs did not show any specific cycling facilities, this can be dealt with at the detailed design stage and take cognisance of the emerging Swale Cycling Strategy.”

The proposals therefore fail to encourage active travel by cycle.

So what could be done to improve the junction? 

My proposal for the junction is simply to SLOW IT DOWN. I’ve set out my thinking before in this post from October 2015, 20s plenty at the Ashford Road/A2/Mall junction

img_7793

  

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