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20mph speed limit for Union Street?

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NOTORIOUS ‘rat run’ Union Street could have its speed limit reduced to 20mph. 

The recommendation has been made by Melksham Town Council in response to a recent ‘speed detector radar’ survey for Union Street, carried out across seven days in March, which identified an average speed of 23mph. The council is also asking the public to submit their suggestions of additional roads in the town that could also potentially benefit from a 20mph limit. 

It is hoped that a reduced speed limit for Union Street will help slow traffic down and discourage drivers from using it as a shortcut, whilst councillors continue discussions about other ideas to reduce the volume and speed of vehicles. One new idea being considered by town councillors is staggering allocated parking bays along the street to create a chicane effect. 

The results of the recent survey show that of the 31,774 vehicles using Union Street during the seven day period, 7.1% were driving over the current 30mph limit. 

“So as usual, it’s a very small number of people causing an awful lot of trouble for a lot of people,” said cllr Pat Aves about the results at a meeting of the town council’s economic development and planning committee. 

“There is a huge volume of traffic that is using that road,” added cllr Hubbard, “which backs up the argument to support putting in the sort of things we have been talking about. People are using Union Street as a rat run as they believe it to be faster.” 

About the recommendation to introduce a 20mph speed limit on Union Street, cllr Hubbard said, “What is clear, is that the average speed of 23mph does fall within, as I understand it, the guidance from Wiltshire Council for putting forward a proposal for a 20mph limit to be imposed on that road.” 

He went on to explain that he felt 20mph signage would act as a visual deterrent. “It’s not going to solve the problem,” he said, “but on the whole 20mph limits are shown to reduce traffic by 3-4mph. If you slow it down that much, you will actually make it that people think it is quicker to not use Union Street. It won’t solve the problem, but it might help.” 

Melksham Town Council will submit their request for Union Street to have a 20mph limit to Wiltshire Council.  

Cllr Hubbard explained that it is possible to submit requests to Wiltshire Council for 20mph limits on a number of streets as a ‘bundle’, explaining that the legal costs would be the same whether it was one request or several. 

Therefore, the town council is asking the community to submit their suggestions of additional roads in the town that could potentially benefit from a 20mph limit. Any suggestions made will be discussed by the town council at the next economic development and planning committee meeting on 6th June, before being submitted to Wiltshire Council. 

Suggestions can be made at the Town Hall, by calling 01225 704187, or by emailing: townhall@melksham-tc.gov.uk  

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