Langham Traffic Survey
Langham Parish Council (LPC) have prepared this document so that feedback can be obtained on traffic behavior in the village. The idea is to collect opinions from residents so that consensus views can be used to drive activities that may help to alleviate any perceived problems. The survey, which is in the form of a questionnaire, will cover areas such as speeding, parking and other erratic driving behavior. It should be understood however that LPC has no enforcement powers and are relying on County Highways, the Essex Police or the North Essex Parking Partnership to implement restrictions or enforce penalties that arise out of non compliance by road users.

1. Speeding Traffic

1.1 In the core of the village

The four roads which formulate the core of the village and carry relatively high levels of transit traffic are Moor Road, School Road, Wick Road and Park Lane. Apart from Park Lane the other three have an existing 30 mph limit. It is not reasonable to expect traffic restrictions on these roads to be reduced to lower speed limits. Park Lane is more rural in nature and has long sections of farmland on both sides so restrictions below the existing 40 mph limit will be difficult to achieve based on the evaluation criteria.

1.2 Areas within the national speed limit

Roads such as Langham Lane and Birchwood Road are, in the main, restricted to the national speed limit of 60 mph. However there are small sections of these two roads that convert to 30mph restrictions on the approach to the village centre. Because of the reduced number of dwellings and the surrounding terrain being mainly green areas or farmland the evaluation criteria, which includes the number of serious accidents involving injuries, categorises these roads accordingly.

2. Traffic Calming Measures

When speed restriction signs are not proving to be effective and residents feel that speed restrictions are regularly being exceeded, the answer may not be to reduce them further but to encourage traffic to respect them. Traffic calming is one option.

The first stage of any consideration of traffic calming is to ensure that all road users are fully aware of the speed limit on the road they are using. Any posted speed limit is a maximum speed and not a target speed.

On 30mph roads where there is no street lighting, the size and frequency of the speed limit repeater signs can be looked at and whether additional carriageway roundels showing the speed limit are required.

Once it has been established that everything has been done to show drivers the speed limit, then if following automatic traffic counts there was still a problem with drivers exceeding the speed limit, physical measures can then be considered.

Physical measures can lead to further problems. Where used elsewhere there are often reports of vehicle noise when braking before them and accelerating away from them. There would also have to be consideration of the type of vehicles that use the road. In a rural location such as Langham we have regular traffic from larger farm equipment, especially at harvest time, and measures that interrupt the movement of this traffic could not be considered.

Implementation of any traffic calming measures would need to be considered in the light of traffic speed, volume, and any accident data. Siting of traffic calming measures needs careful consideration to achieve maximum impact whilst at the same time maintaining safety of road users. Proposed siting would also need to involve consultation with local residents.

Types of Calming Measures

a) Village Gateways

In a village location speed terminal signs at the entry points could be further enhanced through Village Gateway treatments to provide a more prominent feature that a driver is leaving a rural environment and entering a village. In most cases this is usually associated with a 30 mph speed restriction as is the case in Langham.

b) Speed Bumps, Rumble strips

There are various types of speed bumps/cushions and rumble strips available which are used in different situations across the country. Any such measure has to be suitable and appropriate for its particular location and be introduced in agreement with Highways Essex.

c) Carriageway narrowing

Carriage narrowing is seen as effective in many locations, but is likely to create problems on the roads in Langham where heavy traffic, including farm vehicles, has to pass and so is not considered to be a viable solution.

d) Standard Vehicle Activated Sign (VAS)

A VAS camera is sited on Park Lane in the direction of the A12. There is a feeling that this is largely ignored by traffic but it is difficult to know whether this helps to alleviate speeding problems. However, it is sited at a suitable place, immediately before a dangerous junction and no serious accidends have occued there since it was installed.

There are also complexities with obtaining permission for the use and siting of VAS cameras

e) Portable VAS (or SID Speed Indicator Device)

A portable VAS sign performs the same role as a permanently sited VAS and the benefits of this are:
- cost sharing with other parishes
- having the flexibility to use it at the desired location
- adding new locations once agreed.

It should be noted however that the anchoring mechanism would need to stay permanently in place at the agreed locations.

3. Erratic or Dangerous Driving Behavior

Enforcement issues around this are outside the control of LPC but collecting data on this could prove valuable for any discussions held with Essex police.

4. Parking Issues

Parking issues are experienced around the village. These issues arise in a number of ways and vary by time of day, day of the week, and by type of location.

Excessive parking, inconsiderate parking, dangerous parking, and parking on footpaths and verges are some examples. Again LPC has no enforcement role in this but data collection will help LPC to concentrate on any new areas that may require restrictions or the liaison with responsible parties.

5. Traffic Noise

Sometimes overlooked and difficult to apply restrictions to but it does tend to go hand in hand with speeding and should be reviewed.
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