OTLEY TRAFFIC SYSTEM – LATEST UPDATE

The most recent update I have received from Highways in relation to the Otley traffic sytem is as follows:

“The original scheme was part of a package of works known as the Otley Parking Strategy. The aim of the strategy was to assess the current parking arrangements across Otley and make improvements where needed. An element of the proposal was to make Walkergate/ Nelson Street/ Charles Street one-way to retain resident, business and visitor parking whilst addressing a long standing complaint of congestion and conflict along these routes, which were created by difficulties experienced by drivers due to the road width and parking. Some road safety concerns relating to drivers travelling along the footway directly outside the residents’ front doors still persists at some locations by inconsiderate drivers being impatient and by removing the obstructions, removed the need for such anti-social behaviour.

Whilst the initial one way proposals were supported by the residents along these routes, (It is worth noting that no objections from anyone as part of the formal legal advertisement process were received prior to the schemes introduction), the knock on effect on traffic flows and movements within Otley, which was unforeseen, was unacceptable and therefore we had to consider alternative options. This in early December saw the one way flows along Walkergate and Charles Street reversed following discussions with local ward Councillors. This has had the desired effect in easing traffic congestion to west of Otley but we mindful that this may create an increase in queue lengths on Pool Road during the evening peak period which has now materialised on some evenings. We have not to date received any adverse comments from the bus operators to the latest scheme but will be contacting them soon to gain feedback. 

Officers within the City Councils Urban Traffic Management Control team now have remote access to control and view the signalised junctions and are working to reprogram the signal timings during peak periods to help ease the traffic queues on Pool Road. Officer are aware that some drivers with a local knowledge of the area are choosing to illegally ignore the ‘Access Only’ order on Crow Lane and are choosing to drive through this restriction along Crow lane to avoid the queues. The Police have been undertaking active enforcement on Crow Lane to deter these illegal manoeuvres. 

Any scheme, in its initial stages following installation, takes time to settle down and a thorough review of the current scheme therefore is best undertaken once the new pattern of traffic movements has stabilised. A meeting therefore will be held in early January 2015 with the Police, Council Officers and Elected Members to discuss the issues raised by the current scheme and to consider what additional options may be needed.. 

I am sorry that the current scheme has generated concerns, but I trust that the above demonstrates the reasoning behind the proposals and the ongoing work to resolve any outstanding concerns in the very near future.”