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TARA residents' survey

 

2 September 2021

RESULTS OF THE TARA RESIDENTS' SURVEY

June 24th – July 31st 2021

Dear fellow member/resident,

Firstly, a huge thank you to the 353 people who took the time to complete this survey. The number of responses easily exceeded our expectations and responses were received from almost every road and close within the TARA area – with a particularly heavy showing from the roads in and around Littleham Cross, including Barnfield Avenue and Buckingham Close.

We have spent a number of weeks analysing the data and have also had initial discussions with Cllrs Christine Channon (DCC) and Bruce de Saram (EDDC & Exmouth Town Council) to help formulate an approach and as a prelude to wider discussions. The software that we used meant that we were able to identify and exclude the very limited number of responses which didn’t answer any of the core questions (Questions 6 to 12), or where multiple entries were received from the same person. Whilst the vast majority of responses were from residents, about 5% were received from people who travel through the area – these often gave a useful alternative point of view in their comments and we have taken those into account in making recommendations for action to the Councillors.

A frequent theme from non-residents was that The Avenues might risk being accused of Nimbyism and of ignoring the similar challenges faced by other areas of Exmouth. That was never our aim, but we must take note. Whilst we should not apologise for having an active and engaged Residents’ Association we will at the same time seek to engage across Exmouth, something that we will achieve by discussions with the various Councils and other bodies.

After excluding duplicates and incomplete answers responses, we were left with about 335 individual responses:

  • Over 78% left details of their locality within the TARA area.
    - about 25% live in Douglas Avenue
    - a further 30% live in Cranford, Barnfield, and Portland Avenues, Cyprus and Salterton Roads, Buckingham Close, and Littleham Cross
    - concerns expressed by respondees in their locality were frequently to do with traffic volumes and speeds
  • About 85% of respondees were aged 35 and over
    - all age groups from 20 – 34 to 60 – 74 were well represented
    - people under the age of 35 were less likely to answer Yes to any question
    - people aged over 35 overwhelmingly answered Yes to all questions
  • We received over 50 new contacts to follow up on
  • About 20% of respondees had children of school age
  • The vast majority left comments with each question answered and over 200 individual comments were left in the final section
  • We analysed all of this data and grouped similar comments for each question and for the general comments.

 

 

The chart on the left shows the percentage answering “Yes” ( Green colour) for each question presented in descending order.

 

 

This chart has also been shared with Cllrs Channon and de Saram and was discussed with them at a
TARA meeting on August 24th .

 

 

Question 10: Pedestrian crossings by Deaf Academy?

Unsurprisingly, there is massive support for pedestrian crossings by the Deaf Academy. This was the one question where the percentage answering Yes did not vary by resident or non-resident, by locality, or by age group. We understand from Cllr Channon that a speed survey will be scheduled for Douglas Avenue by the Deaf Academy to help decide whether the type of crossing should be a “Zebra” or a “Pelican” – the latter costs about twice as much, but of course may be much more appropriate for people who are hard of hearing.

 

 

Question 7: Road signs to direct traffic away from Avenues?
The answers showed a difference between people with a declared locality and also by age group. People who left their address were 78% in favour of some form of re-direction. People aged below 50 were 63% in favour, those over 50 were more than 78% in favour. TARA have discussed various ideas with the two Councillors and have identified clear commercial benefits that would accrue to the town centre and beachfront businesses which will be taken forward for wider discussion as part of an overall Action Plan.

 

 

Question 6: 20 mph speed limits throughout?
Whilst this looks like an easy win, in reality experience shows that it is both expensive to implement and is currently unenforceable and therefore tends to be ignored. There is no point in lobbying for scarce resources and then being disappointed with the results and so TARA feel that this should be held in reserve for consideration if other measures fail to deliver the required results. This is supported by the Councillors. However, TARA continues to support the introduction of 20 mph zones on Douglas Avenue by the Deaf Academy as this is a specific measure intended to improve the safety of pupils and anyone who is hard of hearing and who needs to cross the road there.

 

Questions 11, 12, and 8: Use of bus gates, Create parklets on some side roads, & Planters and
bollards in key side roads?
The apparent level of support for these measures was perhaps overstated when comments were analysed. Many people who said “Yes” were at the same time concerned about the costs of implementation, effectiveness, and on-going maintenance (both cost and who would actually look after planters, etc). It seems as though the desire for these measures is generated in part due to various side roads being used as rat runs. Therefore if measures were introduced which included traffic re-direction (Road signs) and traffic calming along Douglas Avenue then there would be less rat-running. However, we also acknowledge the concerns of residents in Buckingham Close, Barnfield Avenue, and Littleham Cross and are asking for a fundamental review of all traffic flows in and around The Avenues to include the phasing of the lights at Littleham Cross and the Broadway/Littleham Road junction and priorities. The Councillors support a comprehensive review and this will be taken forward for wider discussion.

Question 9: Road constrictions in Douglas and Cranford Avenues?
Opinions were more divided on this question although all age groups showed a majority in favour of constrictions. Although the question refers to both Douglas and Cranford Avenues, 75% of the former were in favour but only 50% of the latter. From comments made, there was some misunderstanding of the type of constriction. Many people were not in favour of the “hump” type – whether full-width or partial (as used on Capel Lane), but having already taken advice TARA are not supportive of either type due to costs (initial and on-going), and the fact that they have limited effectiveness, a view supported by the Councillors. TARA is suggesting the type of constriction seen on Cranford Avenue by Jarvis Close: this also has the benefit of providing a crossing point.

A number of people commented that there should be less on-street parking along Douglas Avenue (and other roads) to allow traffic to flow more smoothly. Experience shows that parked cars are, in effect, road constrictions and are very effective at slowing traffic down - and “traffic calming” is a major concern for residents. Where double yellow lines are introduced, local traffic speeds up – exactly the opposite of what we want to achieve. So, in acknowledging the views of respondees from Cranford Avenue TARA are requesting that road constrictions, perhaps two in number, are considered only for Douglas Avenue and specifically the section between Merrion Avenue and Cranford Avenue. Elsewhere on Douglas Avenue the number of parked cars or the topography make speeding less likely. This measure is being wrapped in to the general request for a review of all traffic flows and is supported by the Councillors.

General comments:

The most commonly mentioned themes were:
1. 28 responses: More police presence nights and weekends / enforce existing laws / reduce noise & speed via integrated traffic calming / introduce Speedwatch & Neighbourhood watch
2. 19 responses: Review all traffic flows around Broadway, Littleham Cross, Barnfield Avenue including phasing of traffic lights (e.g. Left filter), parking, and left turn from Littleham into Douglas Avenue
3. 9 responses: Enforce existing yellow lines, including by Littleham Cross Post Office, introduce more at dangerous places e.g. near junctions
4. 9 responses: Ban the parking of HGVs, trucks, and motor homes/camper vans in side streets
5. 7 responses: Make more pedestrian & cycle-friendly including cycle lanes along Douglas Avenue from beach to NCN2
6. 7 responses: Better maintenance of hedges and trees so people can stay on footpaths; weed management (community management?); plant more trees
7. 7 responses: Traffic speeding & noise an issue across Exmouth
8. 6 responses: (links to No. 4 above) – introduce resident parking permits, use revenue to fund car parks
9. 5 responses: stop use of Douglas Avenue as a through-route to the beach
10. 5 responses: repair Douglas Avenue and help reduce noise
11. 4 responses: (links to No. 5 above) stop the use of pavements by cyclists and e-scooters
12. 3 responses: make buses more frequent so car use reduces
13. 3 responses: different ideas for limited one-way traffic flows in the area
14. 2 responses: introduce traffic calming on Salterton Road and Carlton Hill
15. 2 responses: how much traffic is there, how fast is it moving

In summary:
The survey shows the depth of feeling amongst residents regarding traffic management in The Avenues. In considering the responses received and having attempted to weigh up pro’s and con’s for different courses of action, at the initial meeting with Cllrs Channon and de Saram on August 24th.

TARA requested that the following actions be given primary focus:

 Traffic flow in the area around Littleham Cross, including delivery times to the Co-op
 Review road signage to and from the seafront & town centre to deter rat-running & sign-post the town's leisure and retail attractions, as well as the beachfront
 Pedestrian Crossings for the Deaf Academy – both Douglas Avenue & Salterton Road
 Road constrictions for part of Douglas Avenue
 Develop facilities & promote active travel through extension of NCN2 route and provision of safe routes for all walkers and users wheelchairs / motorised scooters.

 

Secondary items for consideration if the above are not as effective as hoped:
 Introduce 20 is Plenty
 Review parking on side streets

Items not to be pursued further:
 Bus gates, planters and bollards

It was agreed by those present that these ideas be worked up into a general Paper that would emphasise the commercial opportunities that would arise for town centre and beachfront businesses, the opportunity to strengthen pedestrian and cycling routes through the town, improved signage to draw visitors’ attention to the many amenities that Exmouth has to offer, and how this can be translated into initiatives across Exmouth. This Paper is currently being reviewed and once finalised will be presented for discussion with a wider group of Councillors, business representatives and other special interest groups.
Within this Paper we reference key points from the Neighbourhood Plan which should be taken into account:

1. Page 50, 12a: Strategy 2 of the Local Plan, which sets out the scale and distribution of future residential development across East Devon sought for the plan period. The fact that these effects were not taken into account and measures designed to ameliorate them constitutes a significant failure to consider existing residents and the environment and so has not
followed the NP.

2. Action GA12: For the improvement of the cycle and footway network across the Exmouth NPA to be an ETC strategic infrastructure priority project.

3. Action NEA8: The NP supports the promotion and development of Exmouth as a sustainable holiday destination.

4. Policy EE1: Tourism. Proposals for tourist facilities and holiday accommodation in the Exmouth NPA will be supported in order to boost the local economy and enhance the promotion and development of the area as a suitable holiday destination. Proposals must consider and not adversely affect the character and functioning of the local area.

5. Page 81 of the NP: Consideration to be given to pedestrians and traffic calming.
6. Page 85 of the NP: Parking for Campervans. Action GAA10. The NP supports the work of the joint Campervan Working Party and the Task and Finish Forum to promote the three designated sites for motor homes at Queen’s Drive, Imperial Recreation Ground and Maer Road CP.
7. Page 85 of the NP. Access strategy for Exmouth. Objectives:
a. Improve access for residents and improve awareness of what opportunities exist to walk or cycle rather than use cars or public transport.
b. Take advantage of the opportunities that new developments may bring to improve routes and provide good access for new developments.
c. Provide a ‘wish list’ identifying opportunities that could be implemented as and when funds are available or as new development is authorised.
d. Make the maximum use of existing pathways, quiet roads and good pavements by means of signage and the production of local maps.

8. Page 86 of the NP. Cycle Routes in Exmouth. Objective: Fully support the existing Strategy for Cycle Routes in Exmouth endorsed by EDDC. Support the implementation of additional tracks and links as suggested and investigate where need is already identified or where there is future opportunity.
9. Policy GA3: All new housing and employment development proposals should, where feasible, seek to connect with the existing footway and cycle network or seek opportunities to further develop the network to ensure connectivity. Such proposals should be mindful of the Strategy for Cycle Routes in Exmouth.

10. Action GA12: For the improvement of the cycle and footway network across the ENP area to be an ETC strategic infrastructure priority project.

TARA Committee, September 2nd 2021.

28 June 2021:

We are currently surveying residents' views and priorities on the need for traffic calming within our neighbourhood. The purpose is to make specific recommendations and seek your support for widening the discussions to include the Town Council, EDDC, DCC, local Councillors, and other interested groups within Exmouth.

You can complete our online questionnaire by clicking here.

If you have any queries or request a hard copy, please email us at: tara.exmouth@yahoo.co.uk.

We are supporting the Deaf Academy's 20's Plenty campaign on Douglas Avenue. Here's their website and petition.

Thank you!

Project TANDEM

TANDEMThe Avenues Neighbourhood Design for Environment and Mobility – is a small working group that was formed by the TARA Committee last year. The group comprises three TARA committee representatives and one TARA member who have worked hard conceptualizing the project.

“The Avenues” is defined as all households within the following boundary roads:

Salterton Road between Littleham Cross and Carlton roundabout. Rolle Road to the south of Carlton roundabout, Maer Road, Douglas Avenue up to the eastern junction with Cranford Avenue (including Buckingham Close & Jarvis Close), and Cranford Parade.

It does not include: Littleham Road, Plumb Park, or the north side of Salterton Road.

 

The group was formed to provide a focus on some of the issues that currently impact upon the quality of the local living environment. These issues affect the ability of residents to freely enjoy living where they do and also feeling safe when they leave their homes to use the area whether with mobility scooters, walking, or cycling.

One of the main issues identified is the volume and speed of traffic passing through the area. This has often been linked with the Plumb Park development but it is actually considerably worse during the long holiday season which stretches from Easter to October. It is something that is present all-year round due to rat-running – something not linked to Plumb Park.

TARA are also working closely with the Deaf Academy whose pupils are particularly vulnerable and we support their recent petition to introduce a “20’s plenty” scheme together with appropriate pedestrian crossings on Douglas Avenue and Salterton Road. As you may have seen in local media
coverage, there is now a lot of attention being paid to road safety in the vicinity of the Deaf Academy.

Whilst Lockdowns suppressed traffic and the number of holiday makers it is now very apparent that volumes, and behaviours, are returning to what they were pre-Lockdown. Poor weather had the effect of reducing numbers travelling through The Avenues, but with sunnier and calmer conditions the number of vehicles transiting through the Avenues has increased dramatically as the pent-up demand for holidays returned promptly. TARA therefore encourages members not only to complete the questionnaire, but also to consider how much better the local environment was during Lockdown compared to now and also in pre-Pandemic conditions. What we are striving for is a better environment for residents all of the time and we seek your support for this. We welcome your feedback.

The Avenues is a key access point for travelling to and from the sea front area for families living in adjacent parts of Exmouth, and many of these people do so on foot or by cycling. There is the added possibility that NCN2 (National Cycle Network) will be re-routed, and if so this new route could include Douglas Avenue. In this event it will be vital that any cycle route takes cyclists and their families along safe roads if no off-road routes are available. More information on this is given in Appendix 2.

This project also links directly to TARA’s ongoing initiative to introduce two Vehicle Activated Speed (VAS) signs by working with our local DCC Councillor, Christine Channon; these VAS devices will be mobile so that they can be used anywhere within The Avenues.

TARA continues to press for improvements to the road surface along Douglas Avenue, and is working with local developers to ensure more considerate HGV driving within the neighbourhood. A recent success has been the removal of three illegal signs that directed traffic through the Avenues from Littleham Cross / Cranford Parade.

SCOPE:

The aim of this project is to provide a framework and justification for developing a neighbourhood infrastructure for The Avenues, linked into the broader Exmouth community, that promotes the physical and mental wellbeing of residents by providing quieter, less polluted and safer places in which people of all ages and physical abilities can live, relax, play, travel and shop. These are all things that are referenced in EDDC’s current Local Plan Consultation.

Such schemes may be referred to as “Home Zones” as described in a recent guide from the London Cycling Campaign and Living Streets. It is important to note, however, that we are not proposing the introduction of full Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) measures within The Avenues.

Notwithstanding recent negative media coverage, such schemes can deliver benefits and some of these are shown in Appendix 3.

Our principal suggestion for The Avenues is the adoption of “Traffic Calming”, which is a known objective of Exmouth Town Council for the whole of the town. Together with revised signage, we will aim for most through-traffic to be channelled along Salterton Road, which is a designated “B” road, and discourage traffic from using the roads within The Avenues as “rat-runs”. The shaded area in Appendix 1 shows all of these roads. This would create what is called a low-traffic “cell”.

BENEFITS:

Such neighbourhood schemes are known to benefit residents in many ways:

  • They improve the local living environment by reducing atmospheric and noise pollution from vehicles.
  • They make “active” modes of travel, such as walking and cycling, easier, safer and more comfortable by reducing air pollution, motor traffic density and subtly shifting the emphasis from enabling movement of motor vehicles to one of prioritizing movement of people.
  • Their infrastructure costs are low and a scheme can often be implemented with a few changes to street signage and the adoption of a lower speed limit of 20mph instead of 30mph.
  • If necessary, the changes can go further and include well-placed road constrictions such as that at Cranford Parade, or include well-placed bollards, planters, etc. They can therefore be trialled and adapted at very low cost.
  • Walking and cycle-friendly neighbourhoods are good for local business and can help local businesses to thrive, such as those at Littleham Cross.
  • They invariably align directly with local Neighbourhood Plans. Indeed, great care has been taken to ensure that the proposed Avenues project has been bench-marked against and meets appropriate local objectives and actions as cited in both the Exmouth Neighbourhood Plan and the new East Devon Local Plan Consultation.
  • They can counteract the tendency of sat-nav apps to route motor traffic off main roads and onto residential streets in order to minimise journey time. This phenomenon promotes rat-running with quiet residential roads becoming increasingly busy and hostile for the people that live on them. This is a particular problem for some residents of The Avenues with street signage and sat-nav apps funnelling traffic through the area to and from Exmouth’s seafront.

Without doubt such schemes thrive by cutting rat-running. They can also encourage a shift from car use for local journeys to walking and cycling. This is because if the local environment feels calmer and safer then “active” travel feels a more comfortable and easier alternative to using the car.

SCHEME OUTLINE:

The move towards Traffic Calming within The Avenues is envisaged to consist of a series of “levers” for  promoting healthier lifestyles by minimizing both the volume and speed of traffic through the area whilst simultaneously promoting active travel (walking and cycling).

These levers will comprise a variety of interventions ranging from relatively cost-effective and simple application of:

  • a blanket 20mph speed (often called ”20’s Plenty”) scheme such as that being implemented in Newton Abbot, reinforced at selected locations by Vehicle Activated Speed (VAS) signs;
  • changes to road signage to discourage non-resident traffic, especially HGVs, from using the area as a “rat-run”e. a shortcut between two points outside of The Avenues residential area;
  • use of strategically placed planters or bollards to filter traffic flow;

to more costly methods, such as:

  • use of bus gates – these are often used to control vehicle weights and widths;
  • building road constrictions or street “parklets” (small local area having seating and planters);
  • inserting pedestrian crossings at strategic locations.

Each of these techniques for modifying traffic flow has its own particular benefits and drawbacks. For the envisaged Avenues scheme individual features will be implemented gradually, starting with the easiest, less costly measures, in order to allow the neighbourhood to adjust to each stage of traffic-calming.

If the first and most simple interventions produce the desired result, which is less and slower traffic, then it will not even be necessary to install more comprehensive measures.

 

 

IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGY:

This consultation exercise is aimed at assessing whether residents within the Avenues:

  • Support the basic approach recommended i.e. further discussion with other bodies to seek a gradual implementation of measures to improve the living environment.

also understand:

  • What residents’ main areas of concern are and whether you believe there to be any significant lifestyle or work benefits (whether these be safer streets, reduced air and noise pollution, increased opportunity for physical activity, and so on) to be gained from implementing the measures proposed. This is the function of the questionnaire.

In other areas poorly communicated schemes have generated misconceptions in some communities and it is vital therefore that the TANDEM working party and TARA engage with you at this relatively early stage.

NEXT STEPS:

  • Please use this opportunity to get your voice heard by completing the on-line Questionnaire.
    If you are unable to complete the form on-line please send an email to TARA requesting a hard copy – we will need either a contact telephone number or your address.
  • All replies are confidential and all of the information provided will be anonymised so that individuals cannot be identified, in accordance with the Data Protection Act.
  • Please indicate at the end of the Questionnaire if you would be willing for someone from the working group to contact you if we have further questions. If you are willing to do so, then please complete the box asking for your name and a contact telephone number or email address.
  • The closing date for replies is July 31st.

Many thanks!

The TANDEM working Group: David, Simon, Sara and Peter.

Appendix 1

Map showing TARA boundaries

Appendix 3

COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS AND MYTHS ABOUT LOW-TRAFFIC NEIGHBOURHOODS (LTNs)

A table compiled by TANDEM: misconceptions.about.ltns-tara.doc.appendix

  • “DISPLACED” TRAFFIC BUNGS UP THE MAIN ROADSThere is some concern that LTNs increase congestion and therefore pollution on main roads. The evidence shows this not to be the case. It can take months for traffic patterns to settle but medium-term “traffic evaporation” is well-evidenced. Around 15% of displaced traffic disappears from the area entirely as drivers adjust routes and behaviours – avoiding the area, changing travel modes or even cancelling journeys. The result is a couple of minutes extra on some residents’ journeys as they have to drive further around the edge of the LTN before entering but little substantive change to main road congestion. Refer also to the Waltham Forest Village scheme.
  • “DISPLACED” TRAFFIC MAKES OTHER NEARBY RESIDENTIAL AREAS WORSEOften the opposite is true, as cut-through drivers give up on a route because it is disrupted by a LTN. Where through traffic is an ongoing issue in a neighbouring residential area, the installation of a LTN nearby can stimulate residents demand for a similar scheme.
  • LTN SCHEMES DISADVANTAGE EMERGENCY SERVICES, THE MOBILITY IMPAIRED AND THE ELDERLYEmergency services have generally been very positive about LTN schemes. They are statutory consultees and typically see no change in response times. On balance, the elderly and mobility-impaired benefit considerably from having quieter and less car-dominated streets in which to live and to use.

Appendix 2

Notes on NCN2 by TANDEM

NCN2 is a popular cycling route used not only by local cyclists and families but also by the many cyclists who are travelling through Exmouth from the Exeter and Budleigh Salterton directions. The thinking behind re-routing NCN2 is that instead of by-passing the town centre and sea front, as it currently does via Phear Park, it could instead take people from Estuary Way through to The Strand, along the sea front, and then join the Buzzard Route at Jarvis Close via Maer Road and Douglas Avenue.

This would be a golden opportunity to bring more visitors into contact with the many businesses and attractions within the town centre itself, as well as those along the shoreline. This would be a welcome boost for businesses, needed now more than ever in the aftermath of the pandemic, and is supported by Exmouth Chamber of Commerce.