The design of the roads at West Green encouraged traffic to move around the oneway system at high speeds and there had been a high number of pedestrian injuries, particularly on the zebra crossings. West Green itself was inaccessible, cut off by traffic using the green as a roundabout; it was an unfriendly and an under utilised public place. Accessing Downhills Park, to the north of the green, was difficult and offputting. Pavements around the bus stops were too narrow causing overcrowding, with children spilling into the road at school leaving time.
“ I definitely like the new area. It’s really brightened up the neighbourhood and made it a lot safer as well. Before, it was quite a busy crossing right outside the school. Now, the traffic has been moved far away from the school, and it all looks much greener. It also has provided a space for the school and the local community to mingle, and as it’s much more scenic, people enjoying being there. It has also enabled us to move our entrance to the school to take advantage of the new area. It’s given the place a real uplift. ”
The one way traffic system was removed with the entire north side converted from a busy road to a calm traffic-free space dedicated to people getting around on foot or by bike. Newly planted trees in this new shared space help reconnect the ‘village green’ area with the park. Pavements and pedestrian crossings were widened, and the crossings relocated to more convenient and safer locations.
The project has transformed the area and enabled local people to make more of their everyday journeys on foot or by bike. Reconnecting and revitalising the poorly used green space, which was previously isolated in the middle of the traffic, has created a more pleasant place to live. Over one thousand children now have a safer and more pleasant journey to school. Local residents have much better access into Downhills Park and the green is now easy to reach, making it a nicer place to be, rather than just an easy and convenient place for others to drive through on their way to somewhere else.
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