Mark's Musings

A miscellany of thoughts and opinions from an unimportant small town politician and bit-part web developer

Evesham Traffic


Evesham Civic Society is having a meeting this evening to discuss various proposals for improving the traffic flow in the town centre, and in particular restoring two-way access from Workman Bridge to/from the High Street. I can’t be there, as I have another meeting to attend at Wychavon, but I thought I’d stick my oar in anyway with some comments on the suggested solutions.

You need to read these in conjunction with the PDF created by the Civic Society. Since the suggestions aren’t otherwise numbered, I’ll refer to them by the names of the proponents in the order they appear on the PDF.

Alan Pye

This makes Swan Lane and Mill Street two-way and reverses the flow in Oat Street and Chapel Lane.

The main problem with this, as with any scheme which seeks to restore two-way traffic on Swan Lane, is that doing so would almost certainly mean losing the on-street parking. That’s not going to be popular with local residents who don’t have anywhere else to park. It also has two exits onto High Street, one from Swan lane and one from Oat Street, in very close proximity. That’s unlikely to be practical, especially as these locations won’t be suitable for mini-roundabouts. There are also questions about whether the hill section of Mill Street can take two-way traffic, although that could potentially be addressed by a priority system.

On the other hand, it has the advantage of keeping two lanes of traffic onto High Street, albeit on two different streets. That’s important, for reasons I’ll explain below.

Anthony Dowling

This system simply reverses the flow of Swan lane and Oat Street, with Mill Street being made two-way. It has the advantage of not needing any changes to on-street parking, and is one of the most commonly proposed solutions on social media.

However, it still has the issue of two exits onto High Street close together, as Avon Street will still be there. More importantly, it halves the capacity of the exit from the east onto the High Street. At the moment, there are two lanes of Westbound traffic in Swan lane, meaning that when the lights are green, two vehicles at once can exit the junction. From Oat Street, only one at a time would be able to do so. That’s either going to mean longer delays for High Street traffic, or longer tailbacks in westbound traffic, or both. As things stand, the tailbacks in Swan Lane reach Chapel Street at peak times. If all that traffic had to use Oat Street, it would reach much further back.

Schemes involving two way traffic on Swan Lane and/or reversing the flow in Oat Street could work if the parking issue was considered unimportant, and if the volume of vehicles leaving the zone to the west (over Workman Bridge) was high enough to significantly mitigate the loss of eastbound capacity. But I suspect that neither of these would be the case.

James Fleck

This system retains the existing one-way flow in Oat Street, Chapel Street and Swan Lane, but makes Mill Street two way. As such this is by far the simplest suggested solution, and avoids all the gotchas inherent in changing Swan Lane and Oat Street.

My main caveat for this is, again, the hill section of Mill Street. I have a feeling it may not be easy to create a road layout that allows two-way traffic here, especially if buses are still allowed to use this route (and banning them would significantly affect route patterns).

I also think that a mini-roundabout at the Bridge Street/Mill Street junction wouldn’t work, as the junction there also has to cater for Monks Walk which is somewhat offset from Mill Street. However, traffic lights would work well enough here, so that’s not a problem.

James Powell

This is just plain barking.

Kate Gardner

This is, effectively, the same as Alan Pye’s proposal, with the exception that it allows two-way traffic on Chapel Street.

As such, it suffers from the same issues as Alan Pye’s scheme, but with the added disadvantage that the bus stop and parking on Chapel Street would also need to go!

Mark Goodge

This is my suggested scheme. Rather than go into it in detail here, you can see the full article elsewhere on my website.

Phil Cooper

This is much the same as James Fleck’s proposal, with only minor differences at the junctions. The main difference is making the entrance to Rynal Place one way, presumably in order to prevent the use of Lancaster Grove as a rat run. I suspect that this would be unpopular with residents of the Rynals, though, as it would force them to go out onto the High Street in order to head west.

None of these schemes are perfect (not even mine!). They all have drawbacks of one form or another. Which is one of the reasons why all of them are impossible to implement without detailed traffic data and computer simulations. Fortunately, that data collection is now in progress, so we should have some idea in the not to distant future of what is and is not practical. Let’s just hope that some solution to two-way traffic between Workman Bridge and High Street is on the cards after the computer has done its stuff.