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Opinion : Lets have a ‘Dutch-style roundabout’ in High Wycombe

| August 7, 2020

The Oxford Road roundabout in High Wycombe. (Archive picture)

Roundabouts can be dangerous places for cyclists and pedestrians alike.

However for many years the Dutch have had roundabouts specially designed to be safe for cyclists and pedestrians.

Britain’s first ‘Dutch-style roundabout’, that prioritises cyclists and pedestrians, was recently completed in Cambridge at a cost of £2.3m, as reported by a national news website.

The roundabout actually consists of three roundabouts in one. The centre roundabout is for cars, around this is a roundabout for cyclists and finally there is a roundabout / path for pedestrians at the outer edge. Vehicles approaching and leaving the roundabout have to give way to the cyclists and pedestrians who have ultimate right of way.

Surely such a roundabout is a good idea as it promotes road safety?

My good self is left wondering why Buckinghamshire wasn’t the first county to have such a roundabout? Indeed surely the Oxford Road roundabout in High Wycombe (pictured above) would have been an ideal location to trial the idea?

At £2.3m (as per the roundabout in Cambridge) the installation costs would be no more than ‘pocket money’ considering the millions spent in Wycombe on ‘Masterplans’ and ‘improving’ A-roads that many didn’t think need improving in the first place?

Unfortunately, as mentioned in the report on the national news site, the roundabout in Cambridge has been described by some as ‘confusing’ and ‘a killing zone’ as a cyclist or pedestrian could be run over by vehicles leaving the roundabout that fail to give way.

But surely Wycombe has the answer to the safety problems? All it needs are some traffic lights strategically positioned at vehicle entrances / exits and the intersections with the outer cycle and pedestrian roundabouts?

Wycombe must probably be the ‘traffic light capital’ of Buckinghamshire. With all the experience gained over the years with traffic lights in the town surely a linked light system could take the killer edge off the ‘Dutch-style roundabout’ and make it safe for UK roads and the reckless motorists who fail to give way?

The Oxford Road roundabout has ten carriageways that enter or exit the main roundabout. When converted to ‘Dutch-style’ each entrance / exit lane would have three (vehicle, cycle and pedestrian) crossings at each entrance / exit, all of which would need two traffic light columns.

So, by some simple maths, the number of lights needed to control the a ‘Dutch-style’ roundabout like the one in Oxford Road would need 10 x 3 x 2 = 60 traffic light columns.

With Wycombe’s ‘the more the merrier’ approach to traffic lights surely a junction with 60 traffic light columns would be certain to gain approval indeed it would be heaven on earth for traffic light enthusiasts.

With all those lights in operation there would be no need for Christmas lights to be installed in that part of town during December!

Why stop at £2.3m like the roundabout in Cambridge. Surely, with a little creative imagination, a similar design in Wycombe could break the £10m barrier?

In my opinion the A40 and Crest Road junction ‘improvements’ should be put on hold and work commenced immediately on a traffic light controlled ‘Dutch-style’ roundabout in High Wycombe so Buckinghamshire can be a world leader in the technology!

What do you think?

My blogs are published regularly here on the WycombeToday.com website.

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