I have offered to help Cllr Antony Hook investigate ways of improving the crossing of West Street at the Westbrook Bridge. He is responding to a number of approaches from people concerned that crossing at this point is unsafe for pedestrians.
Here are some first thoughts, starting with some observations I have made of how people are currently crossing. I then set out a number of design options, with comments on their pros and cons.
I’m doing this work in the context of the 20sPlenty campaign to create a town-wide 20mph speed limit. Further information on 20sPlenty can be found on the campaign website and on the campaign Facebook page.
Reducing the speed at which people drive would make a difference. As an immediate step, the existing 20mph zone on Tanners Street could be extended by a few metres to include the Westbrook Bridge. At the moment the zone ends at the bottom of Tanners Street. It seems odd that drivers heading west from Tanners Street are given a signal to increase their speed to 30mph at just the point where many pedestrians are currently crossing.
In a similar vein, it would be helpful to narrow the width of the roadway which, like many of Faversham’s streets, is much wider than necessary. I have looked at three options for doing so and have so far concluded that it would be best to widen the footway on the north side of the bridge since a) this is already the narrower of the two footways and b) this is a better option than creating a central pedestrian island. A pedestrian island would not be wide enough to safely accommodate a buggy or wheelchair. It would also send a “cars first, pedestrians second” message to road users.
Do please leave comments.
If you use this crossing as a pedestrian then do you think it should be improved and which of the options do you prefer? Is there another way?
If you drive through here then would it make a big difference to your journey if there were a 20mph speed limit and if the roadway were a little narrower?