Extend one-way system to cater for 21st century traffic

Chairty shops on Sidmouth street.

Should Sidmouth's one-way system be extended? - Credit: Beth Sharp

After England’s loss in the Euros final it is back to local matters here in sunny Sidmouth. 

Several people have asked me to bring up the possibility of having a more extensive one-way system in Sidmouth Town Centre. Something to help alleviate all the hold ups we get at present. In doing some research on the Internet I came across a Sidmouth Herald article in 2010 where Councillor Graham Liverton was proposing a one-way system for the whole of the High Street. 11 years later we still get the issues. There is no doubt that two-way traffic from Blackmore Drive to the All Saints Road roundabout does cause all sorts of problems, not least because of the parking and unloading outside the supermarkets. There are homeowners and businesses who would find this an issue but if all traffic proceeded in a southerly direction then they could either turn left into Holmdale or Russell Street and go out of town through the ford or alternatively (especially when the Ford is closed!) continue to the seafront and exit the town via Station Road. This traffic would include cars leaving the library and health centre car park. The situation at present is not helped by the blue badge holders who park legally at the end of Blackmore Drive on the double yellow lines. It is not easy to turn left when they are parked there. One for debate no doubt!

A more drastic suggestion is to make Temple Street, Vicarage Road and Station Road (from Woodlands Hotel to Alexandria Road) one way. However, the big issue would be bus travel. Could buses come into town as they do now but leave via Station Road? Travelling south from Exeter Cross has become more of an issue over time. Cars parked on single yellow lines outside Temple Street businesses during the day cause hold ups. By making it one way more on street parking could be created. All Saints Road would have to remain two way with this proposal but Peaslands Road could become one way as well. The top of Alexandria Road would have to remain two way but a further one way system could be integrated by making Alexandria Road one way (uphill) and Winslade Road one way (downhill). So for example if you live off Temple Street and you wanted to drive to Sidford you’d go via All Saints Road, Station Road and Winslade Road, as would the buses. Smaller vehicles would have the alternative of the Sid Road route out through Fortescue. The other huge benefit is that people would think twice about doing short car journeys. Walking and cycling would be more common and thus a health benefit and less pollution.

Unfortunately the one big issue that would possibly scupper these proposals is when roadworks take place. For example the resurfacing of Vicarage Road next year would be a nightmare scenario. Buses and lorries would struggle to use alternative narrow roads. This is the problem in a nutshell. We are trying to manage 21st Century traffic on 19th Century roads.

In other news we are just two weeks away from Folk Week. The weather looks set fair and with the social distancing rules due to be relaxed on the 19th of July we can look forward to a busy week. I am writing this article before the Prime Ministers announcement on the 12th July but it makes sense for masks to be recommended in crowded indoor venues especially considering the current Covid figures.

In cricket news, this Sunday Devon take on Berkshire at Sidmouth in the national one day knockout competition. Play is due to start at 11am.

Congratulations to the three members of the Marchant family who completed the Sid Valley Ring last week. Grandmother Alison, who is 72 years young, completed it with daughter Fi and granddaughter Sasha. I wonder if there are any other families where three generations have completed it together?

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