A ground-breaking ‘gateway’ scheme to delay traffic coming into Storrington is among proposals to tackle air quality issues, county councillor Frank Wilkinson has told the County Times.
Weight restrictions and warning signs advising heavy vehicles to take another route are also among the suggestions to come out of a report by consultants.
Residents arenow being invited to give their views, and come up with their own suggestions.
Mr Wilkinson, who is the county’s member for Storrington and is on the steering group looking at the air quality issue, said: “We have no preconceived ideas, we have to look at all the suggestions. We need to listen to the people of Storrington and see what they think.
“I’ve been looking at this problem for years and there’s no easy solution, but we have to do something. We must reduce the traffic and the noxious gases it causes.
“We’ve had our own ideas over the years, and now we’ve put it to one of the country’s leading consultants and we can look at their ideas. If anyone else has any ideas I’d welcome hearing them.”
The gateway option would involve traffic lights controlling the flow of traffic on key routes into the village. It would keep cars moving freely within the centre by holding back vehicles and drip-feeding them in, said Mr Wilkinson. Traffic control could be on the Amberley Road, at Parham and between Water Lane and the Washington roundabout.
“The idea is that traffic coming into the village goes through one direction at a time, and is delayed by 10 or 15 minutes. That would deter HGV drivers from using the route,” he said.
“It would not affect people moving around within the village centre itself. Of course, it would delay residents trying to get in and out of the village, and people would soon learn the back routes and we’d also have to put traffic restrictions on Rock Road .”
Mr Wilkinson said this gateway method has been used in Europe but never before in the UK. It would require new technology to synchronise the distant traffic lights, and would be expensive, although grants could come from the Government or from Europe.
Mr Wilkinson said his preferred option is to try signs at Washington, Whiteways and Fontwell roundabouts advising drivers that the A283 is congested and air quality is poor.
“This could be trialled for six months at a relatively low cost,” he said.
Weight restrictions on Houghton Bridge and a Traffic Regulation Order restricting HGVs from Washington are also possibilities, although Mr Wilkinson said consideration is needed about how this could be enforced.
Long-awaited improvements to the A27 could also play a part in relieving pressure on the A283 through Storrington.