Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Area Transport Strategy

Twice a year a group meets with the rather grand title of Western Area Transport Strategy Steering Group.  It's made up of representatives from Preston, Eaglescliffe, Yarm, Kirklevington, Long Newton and surrounding areas - elected ward councillors, parish councillors, police and residents' groups.  At the first meetings some years ago the participants were asked to set some priorities for travel and transport in the area.  Each year Stockton Council allocates a budget to it and the money can be spent on any projects which will help towards those priorities.  Perhaps not surprisingly, road safety and the movement of HGVs through Yarm and Eaglescliffe have been high on the list for years.
Tonight's meeting allocated almost £45k - some to studies in order to see what if anything can be done to improve safety on Yarm Rd and the A67, mostly in Eaglescliffe but also in Western Parishes ward and a little in Yarm; a look at Long Newton lane to see what can be done to try to keep it as safe as possible bearing in mind the increasing amount of traffic likely to flow along there when new housing is built in Eaglescliffe; consultation on and possible installation of traffic calming in Muirfield Rd; the possibility of closure of a little used and poorly maintained road in Kirklevington parish, and a contribution towards a major scheme to help pedestrian access to Levendale School in Yarm.
Unlike some areas of the borough our budget was adequate for our needs, so there was no haggling needed, no arguments over who should have what in their ward.  As always in the Western Area meetings party politics seem to be left at the door and people in the room are willing to listen carefully, share ideas and support schemes in parts of the area they don't know or have any personal interest in.  Long may it continue so!
We also made a little list of things that need to be looked at and tackled outside of this budget - Network Rail to paint a fence at Allen's West, Vehicle activated signs to be serviced or replaced as their useful life draws to a close, and a bollard to stop inconsiderate parking.
In the autumn we will reconvene and hear more detail of some of the schemes, progress reports and decisions that might have to be taken in the light of the work being done between now and then.
If only all meetings were as productive as that.

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