A consultation has been opened on making a large chunk of Lerwick town centre into a 20mph zone with speed bumps to help control traffic.
The SIC today published details of a traffic calming scheme that would extend from the South Hillhead, down Church Road, along the Esplanade and finish on Commercial Road near the Red Dragon takeaway.
Many side streets such as Greenfield Place, Mounthooly Street, Harbour Street and Mitchell’s Road to the North Ness Business Park will be incorporated as well as roads that are mainly used for residential parking. Nine road humps will be installed between the Knab Road and North Ness mini roundabouts with another on Mitchell’s Road before the Mareel/Museum junction.
Objectors to the proposed order must put their objections in writing to director of infrastructure services Maggie Sandison by 15th January.
SIC roads executive manager Dave Coupe said that the council has identified the town centre and Esplanade area as an accident injury hotspot thus the need for the proposed changes which have been the subject of previous reports.
He said that there were about two injury accidents in the area per year and of 22 accidents since 2000, 16 had involved pedestrians. The trend, he said, appeared to be growing in recent years.
Mr Coupe said: “It’s about providing a 20mph zone in an area with a significant number of pedestrian accidents within. We will be looking at another consultation on plans for crossings at a later date.
“I cannot think of any other section of road in Shetland that has two injury accidents per year. That is quite significant.”
Mr Coupe said that it appeared the traffic calming and road crossing schemes has been confused in some people’s minds, but they there was no linkage and one was not dependant on the other.
He added that the best way to guage public opinion was to publish a consultation which would “capture” a wide range of views. Mr Coupe will be drawing up a report for environment and transport committee, taking responses into consideration and this should go before councillors about April.”
Mr Coupe added that zoning the entire area as a 20mph area would save money on signage and saving putting up “silly” signs for 30mph sections of very short road that only had slow moving traffic.
Westside Pine proprietor Janet Davidge, whose business is on the Esplanade, said that there was no issue with traffic going too fast on the Esplanade and the much more pressing problem for the area was the lack of parking.
Mr Davidge said: “Personally I do not see that there is any need for it. Everything is going fine and no-one ever comes into the shop that complains about the traffic or anything. Folk are not getting knocked down or anything. If it was a genuine concern, like the Brig o’ Fitch, I’d be all for doing something.”
Mrs Davidge added that some people might be put off coming to the street given the difficulties of parking and access. Having to negotiate road bumps might put them off all together.
Shetland Times Shop manager Karen Baxter said that there was little speeding in the area and few accidents she knew of. “I do not see why there is a need for it to be honest,” she added. “Are they trying just to frustrate people.”
But Living Lerwick chairwoman Cynthia Adamson said that any kind of traffic calming measure was welcome.
She added: “Living Lerwick’s concern is to shoppers, school bairns and tourists. Safety is a concern so we need to applaud the council for taking some steps to calm everything down a bit.”