Last week one article in your comprehensive survey of Alfriston’s traffic problems, contained claims for which no evidence was provided. They were in fact erroneous.
A spokesperson(s) for SHARE said: “When temporary traffic lights were installed for one week as part of an experiment, many in the village witnessed chaos, more aggressive driving by frustrated drivers, greater car pollution from queuing traffic and a general downturn in our village environment. Stop and start traffic queues led back to the Market Square where there are the most pedestrians.”
The recorded facts do not support these claims. The experiment that ran for ten days was monitored daily from 6am untill 6pm by 12 ESCC staff and 20 local volunteers, located throughout the entire village. Every evening a report was sent to ESCC. Neither more chaos nor more aggressive driving than usual were reported nor were queues throughout the High St more extensive than they are every single day.
We give just three of many favourable reactions SAFE received.
“The traffic light experiment was, from CCB’s point of view, the most successful attempt at keeping traffic off the pavements that there has been. (Director, Cuckmere Community Bus (14.8.011.)
“This is the first time ever that a wheelchair or pram has been able to get from the car parks to the Tye without battling with traffic driving on pavements and hitting them.” (A North St resident.)
“We are not going to please everyone all of the time but High Street parking is still the issue. The traffic lights are a great success. Traffic now comes through in convoys when the lights change and the white van speed is mostly reduced because they are controlled by the lights.” (Resident living west of High St).
SHARE also stated: “Damage to buildings has on the whole been minimal and superficial.”
Those living in listed buildings at the Narrows, do not agree. As Sussex Express reported (9/2011) the owners of Moonrakers restaurant wrote to Councillor Bennett (23/8/11) stating that for reasons of futility and expense they were no longer prepared to repair the continuing damage.
In May 2010, Moonrakers had suffered one direct hit. Shortly after that a vehicle hit the lower leaded-lights window of our restaurant and it broke completely; shards fell onto the table inside.
In September 2010 we experienced 7 hits within two weeks, with almost daily damage to the fabric and masonry of our glorious mediaeval building. In the last three weeks of July 2011 – we experienced more damage caused by vehicles being unable to pass in the Narrows. The same leaded–pane window, ground floor, north end of building, is in danger of falling out completely.
Evidence for SAFE’s refutations can be found in our extensive files, letters, documentary evidence etc, which are open to anyone. We invite SHARE to produce documentary evidence for their statements. Those following this discussion should know that the recommended lights are intelligent: they talk to each other, provide sophisticated queue detection and maintain the traffic flow.
Editor’s note: In our efforts to remain impartial in our reporting of the Alfriston traffic issue, we sought the opinions of groups from both sides of the debate.