We shouldn’t let our dread of traffic lights eclipse our need for OCC to buy the bridge.
Since the toll bridge came up for sale earlier this week I’ve been talking to people around Eynsham and online. Many are worried that if OCC buy the bridge and scrap the toll traffic might go too fast. The bridge is certainly too narrow for vehicles travelling at any speed. This is a very real worry, the bridge is narrow, but we mustn’t lose sight of the main thing: that there is now a rare opportunity for OCC to buy the bridge. This has to be our focus. The traffic calming can come later.
Once the bridge is OCC’s (and therefore ours) there are lots of traffic calming measures to consider before the blunt instrument of traffic lights are imposed.
Anything that allows traffic to flow safely, slowly and steadily would do the trick; perhaps some combination of rumble strips, speed humps, width restrictions, double white lines, flashing amber lights, a speed camera set at 20mph with zero tolerance (that would bring in extra revenue, too), and I’m sure there are lots of other ways I haven’t thought of. Any sane person would have to concede that charging a toll is a pretty weird and unusual way of traffic calming.
Don’t lose sight of what’s at the heart of the matter: OCC must buy the bridge, or we’re stuck with years of more of the same unnecessary daily misery. This is so urgent that whatever worries we may have – chiefly a fear of traffic lights, from what I’m hearing – must wait to be considered after the happy day when the bridge finally becomes public property and integrated into the public road network.