Bengeo residents have started a petition urging the county council to act on traffic issues caused by motorists using residential streets as a ratrun.
Congestion has plagued the narrow streets for decades with various initiatives being proposed. However, a permanent solution has never been found.
The Bengeo rat-run was first identified as an issue in a report by Hertford Borough Council in the 1970s. However, the focus at this time was on Port Vale, which was eventually closed off 1979. Around the same time, an HGV ban was imposed on Lower Bengeo.
In January 2008 traffic restrictions were imposed on Tower Street and Cross Road in a bid to ease congestion. These restrictions prohibited right-turns into Cross Road from Bengeo Street and made Tower Street one-way in the direction of Dumcombe Road to Bengeo Street. Waiting restrictions were also introduced in Byde Street and Balfour Street.
A later survey by Hertfordshire Highways showed that as a result of these restrictions, traffic in Cross Street dropped by 72 per cent, whilst traffic in The Avenue went up by 123 per cent.
Problems are most acute in Byde Street, Wellington Street and Nelson Street, especially at the junction of the latter, where p[arked cars and a tight corner regularly see vehicle conflicts.
The petition has been started by local resident John Howsen and has so far attracted 79 signatures.
We the undersigned petition the County Council to undertake effective action to solve the acute traffic issues on Elton Road, Fanshawe Street, Byde Street, Wellington Street and Nelson Street.
For over 20 years the residents of Elton Road, Fanshawe Street, Byde Street, Wellington Street and Nelson Street have suffered from the problems caused by through traffic using these streets to access Hertford North Station, the A119 and the A414.
In money allotted from the Sainsbury’s development, £25k was specifically allotted to Byde St to mitigate the rat run. Action was not taken, and the rat run is now believed to be ranked one of the worst in Hertfordshire.
Daily incidents include road rage, residents being driven at by speeding vans, people being sworn at while on their own drives, cars routinely mounting pavements as children walk to school, and regularly, people being knocked off bikes, minor and serious collisions. The traffic causes constant noise, dust and pollution.
The people living in these streets deserve better.
Hertfordshire County Council states it wants pedestrians, cyclists and public transport to be prioritised on residential streets to improve public health through better air quality and supporting physical activity such as cycling.
We call on the Council to make good on its claimed priorities: 1) To take decisive action to stop the rat run. 2) To meet with ‘rat run’ residents and listen to our ideas; 3) To spend the money allotted to us to actually improve our streets – not on another round of endless paperwork.
Let’s make Lower Bengeo beautiful
The ePetition runs from 25th January to 19th March 2021.
To find out more about the history of this issue read our 2008 report on the Bengeo ratrun.
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