Bus only lane - Eaves Drive to Oak Road, Sittingbourne
Members considered the report of the Director of Highways, Transportation and Waste which considered a request by a Ward Member to allow general traffic to use the bus-only link between Oak Road and the Great Easthall housing development.
A Ward Member spoke against opening the road to general traffic and considered it impossible to implement as there was an electrical sub-station nearby. He explained that many drivers were using the bus-link illegally. Another Ward Member also spoke against opening the road to general traffic. She raised concern with the impact on other roads in Murston if the link road was used for general traffic. The Ward Member also raised issues of increased traffic on other routes; and increased parking on both sides of the road, restricting access for emergency vehicles. She also referred to the Climate Change Emergency declared by the Council in June 2019, and considered the whole ethos of the Great Easthall housing development should be looked at, with the encouragement for bus use, and as such the link should remain buses only.
Members raised the following points:
· Support the comments from the Ward Members;
· the link needed to remain for buses only;
· bus use needed to be encouraged;
· the junction of Oak Road was dangerous, with parked cars there;
· a number of residents had requested the road be opened to general traffic;
· this was a very thorough report and clearly outlined the difficulties of opening up the road;
· a solution was needed so that buses could safely use the link;
· an alternative route out of the estate for general traffic was needed;
· could not leave it as it was as buses were not using the link;
· suggested other options, such as retractable bollards;
· a report was needed to look at possible ways the road could be used by buses again;
· a feasibility study with costings should be carried out on alternative routes out for residents only, such as from Great Easthall, via Tonge Road to Stones Farm; and
· needed to be aware that the link road was un-adopted.
The Chairman summarised and said that the route should remain for buses only, with no general traffic, which Member agreed. She suggested there be a meeting with the developers, KCC and the bus company in order to move forward and ensure that buses could use the link road. The Swale District Manager advised that the Bus Quality Partnership look at the issue and that the support of the bus company was needed first. The Seafront and Engineering Manager stated that the bus operators would welcome any interaction and would be happy to engage in the process.
(1) That the report be noted and no further action be taken in respect of removing the current vehicle restrictions.
(2) That the KCC Public Transport Team and the Seafront and Engineering Manager meet with the Quality Bus Partnership to look into finding a solution to ensure that buses were able to use the link, and to report back to the JTB if necessary.