Calling time on Airth speeding traffic

A councillor says its time for action after years of talking about the dangers of a busy main road that passes through Airth.

By Kirsty Paterson
Monday, 27th May 2019, 4:16 pm

Councillor Jim Flynn, who lives in the village, is one of many local campaigners worried about the village’s Main Street, particularly the section close to the village community centre, which children have to cross to get to school.

HGVs, tractors, buses and other vehicles use this road – and many of them, says Councillor Flynn, travel at more than the 30mph speed limit, despite the narrowness of the pavement which is hemmed in by a traditional stone wall on one side.

He has joined forces with the community council, which has protested about the danger for many years now, and members of Airth Primary’s Parent Council who have also highlighted the problem for over a decade.

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Campaigners also believe it is dangerous for Larbert High School pupils.

Councillor Flynn said: “Large HGVs driving through the village are putting people at risk – and more so if someone is standing on a small island in the middle of the road!

“A few days ago I witnessed two large lorries carrying Portacabins speeding through the village – my estimate is they were doing 35 mph and their loads overlapped the pavement.

“There was a lady with a child in a buggy on the pavement who only by squeezing herself against the stone wall avoided being crushed by these speeding vehicles!”

Councillor Flynn was joined in his call by Bob Smith, joint secretary of Airth Community Council.

“We have been campaigning on this for many, many years,” he said.  “When I couldn’t get the council to take any action, I actually wrote to around 30 local haulier companies and asked them to impose a voluntary 20mph speed limit.”

They are calling for a reduced speed limit, preferably 20mph in the village itself, but also on approaching roads to slow traffic down.

Ideally, they would like a pelican crossing to replace the narrow traffic island.

However, the council’s road department say that there has been extensive dialogue on the issue and traffic surveys do not support the residents’ 

A spokesperson said: “The traffic surveys concluded that average speeds, measured at a point close to the crossing island near the Community Centre, were below the 30 mph speed limit, and it was also noted that HGV traffic made up less than one per cent of the average daily vehicle movements.

“The survey of pedestrian crossing patterns concluded that the average waiting time, before a pedestrian considered it safe to cross, was seven seconds, with a maximum recorded waiting time of 27 seconds. To put this in context, the waiting time for a signalised puffin type crossing is between 30 seconds and 60 seconds, therefore longer than the maximum surveyed time under the current crossing arrangements.”

However, the department has agreed to undertake further traffic surveys to establish if circumstances have changed.

It has also agreed to look at establishing a 40mph buffer zone to the north west of the village as part of development proposals under consideration to the west of Airth.