ARCHIVES (August 2000)


Residents' Comments - Traffic Lights in the Pound? : 6 July 2000

This is a copy of a letter sent to Cookham Parish Council regarding the proposal by Cllr John Stretton to install traffic lights in the Pound.

TRAFFIC IN THE POUND 

Our credentials. We have lived in The Pound for 29 years.

Hazards in The Pound. From our direct experience and observation over this time we would agree that these are essentially as described in the paper.

Those affected by the hazards. The paper mentions drivers, pedestrians and others using The Pound. Another group is the residents and businesses in The Pound, who experience all the hazards experienced by others, but also have to drive into and off the road and cross on foot into their premises. We have more experience than most in using this road and we feel our opinions should have been obtained before any paper was finalised. So far as we are aware, nobody living in The Pound was consulted. This was a serious omission and severely undermines the value of the conclusions of the paper.

Effect of humps. Speed may not be an 'over-riding consideration', but it is an important consideration nonetheless. Problems in The Pound are exacerbated by the curve in the road between the Old Swan Uppers and the Maidenhead Road. This reduces sight lines considerably and can make it very hazardous to cross The Pound anywhere between Maidenhead Road and 50 yards or more east of The Old Swan Uppers. Any method of reducing traffic speed is to be welcomed.

In this we consider the humps to have been a success. In general, traffic is slowed down, which must reduce the seriousness of any accident that might occur. This benefits all. The humps have made it much easier and safer for us when driving out of our garage entrance. We also feel much safer when crossing the road into or out of  our property.

TRAFFIC LIGHTS. We cannot agree that traffic lights would solve all the problems.

Comparison with Cookham Bridge. The lights on Cookham Bridge must be about 40 to 50 yards apart (we have not measured this). No traffic enters or leaves the controlled length between the lights.

The lights in The Pound will be 250 yards apart. There are 16 exits onto the controlled length, between them serving 24 private residences, two operating public houses (plus one at present closed) and one small business.

Experience of the effect of the lights on Cookham Bridge can have no relevance to The Pound.

Effect on traffic flows in general. We have not consulted any Department of Transport Regulations and Recommendations on traffic lights (this must be done before any proposals can be considered seriously) and we did not find the calculations in the paper altogether clear. Our own assessment, made along similar lines to that in the paper, indicates a rather more pessimistic outcome.

A major factor is how long each set of lights is at green before turning red. Assuming values for this varying between 30 and 120 seconds, the lights will be at red from 85 to 75% of the time, causing obvious delays. The pedestrian crossings will increase the delays to traffic.

We are happy to leave experienced traffic engineers to make a more accurate assessment of the effect of traffic lights, but the effect on traffic flows in The Pound and nearby roads obviously will be very serious.

Effect  of  traffic lights on traffic in The Pound. The main effect will be a great increase in speed. Drivers, after being held up for a minimum of three minutes (and much longer under some circumstances) then presented with 250 yards of unimpeded one-way carriageway will drive as fast as possible to the other end. We know from surveys, before the humps were installed, that speeds of over 60 mph have been reached with two-way traffic. Even with wider footpaths, this could be very disturbing for pedestrians.

Effect on residents and businesses in The Pound. 

Our main personal difficulty will be in driving out of our garage entrance. The paper suggests that this will become easier. This is nonsense! Our house is on the south side of The Pound. We have a mirror that shows us traffic approaching from the right (from The Moor) and we can see down to the present roundabout and hump at the junction with Terrys Lane. We cannot see to the left without nosing out a little, which is quite safe at present because traffic is slowed by the hump just to the west and is on the left-hand (far) side of the road.

With traffic lights, tagging on behind the last vehicle to pass, as suggested, does not sound the sort of manoeuvre we would like to undertake very often. Ironically, the most dangerous time to exit would be when the traffic flow is light. We then would not know where the lights were in their cycle and we could easily drive out to the left and meet head-on a driver just released from the lights at Maidenhead Road and racing down the middle of the carriageway.

As residents, if we survive, we might learn a few tricks to reduce danger margins slightly, but what about strangers leaving the public houses and other premises? 

No! Driving out onto The Pound would be like driving blind onto a Grand Prix track without even knowing which way the cars are racing. Russian roulette is not our favourite pastime.

We have not consulted other residents of The Pound, we feel this should be done, but is the duty of those making proposals.

Summary and conclusions

It is accepted that The Pound presents problems and dangers to all types of user. These dangers are increased with greater speeds of vehicles using the road.

Although the humps may have done little to make it easier to use the footpaths, they have been successful in reducing the speed of vehicles, thus reducing the potential severity of possible accidents. They have also made it easier and safer for pedestrians crossing the road and for persons driving out of the many exits onto the carriageway.

We would welcome any viable proposal that solves all the problems, but traffic lights, far from being a solution, would only serve to increase problems for nearly all, and especially for residents and businesses in The Pound.

Actions requested. We consider this a very serious matter and ask you to send a copy of this letter to all that have received or will receive a copy of the Committee Paper. We would appreciate your confirmation that this action has been taken.


Is the National Trust Doing its Duty for Cookham? : 28 June 2000

On 16 June, I was at the Annual Meeting called by the Thames & Chiltern region of the National Trust to report on its stewardship of Maidenhead and Cookham commons among which is Cookham Moor.

In view of the local interest following the granting of the wayleave to "Glimpses" and the on-going traffic debate, I have thought it worthwhile to offer these brief impressions. 

The meeting was attended by 30 or so local National Trust subscribers. It was chaired by Peter Eva, the Chairman of the committee. (He is appointed by the Thames & Chiltern region to advise on the management of the Maidenhead & Cookham Commons.) Present were David Roberts the Land Agent based at Hughenden Manor, responsible for the Moor. (He also claims the responsibility for decisively influencing the shape of the final form of the "Glimpses" planning proposal) and Mr Carver, the warden.

Peter Eva and David Roberts are key National Trust players in the protection of Cookham Moor. The National Trust policy as set out in its National Strategic Plan is
that the basis for such a plan should be a Statement of Significance, prepared with assistance from staff, volunteers, and supporters within the local community.
 
Other players with some involvement in this matter include David Ricardo, Councillors Lawrence and Jay with an interest in local traffic matters, Tony Prichard, Chairman of the Parish Council, and Mr Copas, the owner of Marsh Meadow.

The discussion focused round the extent to which the protection of the Moor rather than its exploitation, should be the National Trust's paramount consideration. Should traffic authorisations that did not bring direct and immediate benefit to the Moor, be allowed? Should local parking considerations be a significant concern of the National Trust?

My impression was that the balance of opinion was against these
possibilities.

B Aston


Car Parking Needed: 28 June 2000

I WILL be driving down from Scotland to Maidenhead and Cookham ,where I intend to spend ,a week or so ,and then a week in London or two, so I was wondering if you know of any place where I can leave the car for a week or so, I will pay goes with out saying, this will be next year, in May or June, thank you cheerio.

Any ideas tell thecrier@cookham.com


Sponsored Walk: 27 June 2000
John Copping and Charlie Hedges raised 295 from their sponsored walk to raise money for the Cookham Millennium Celebrations on 15th July.  

Thank you to John and Charlie and to all those who sponsored them

 from the organisers of the Cookham Millennium Project


Thanks to the Thames Valley Hospice Committee: 27 June 2000

 

A very big thank you to the Thames Valley Hospice Committee for the lovely flowers 

from Liz Kwantes


Letter - Traffic in the Pound, Cookham: 25 June 2000


Having lived in the Pound for over 25 years I was very surprised by the Maidenhead Advertisers'  report of Cllr John Stretton's survey of traffic conditions there. I do not  know how he conducted his survey but in my experience the traffic calming  scheme involving humps has indeed calmed the traffic and in this respect  been very successful. I see little hard evidence to back his alarmist opinion that the road is unsafe; in fact some of his assertions are clearly inaccurate, such as residents reversing blind into the road when almost all  of us have mirrors.

Cllr Stretton's 'solution' of traffic lights has been considered and discarded in the past. All they would do is to increase speed and pollution as traffic 'revs up' when the lights change, encourage tailbacks and turn Cookham into a thoroughly suburbanized environment. The increased speed  generated by one way traffic and the restriction in road width would make exiting for local residents far more rather than less hazardous.

 

It is true enough that the Pound is narrow for the volume of traffic it is  required to handle. For this reason I think the Council should be  congratulated on having, through the humps scheme, taken a carefully  considered initiative that has genuinely improved traffic conditions. 

 

 C.P.R. Dubois


Poppy field on Grange Road - Quite Breathtaking: 25 June 2000

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