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Letters to Menstrie Matters

Reduction of speed limit through the village

From Mr. J. Searle

Can something be done about speed limits through Menstrie? I have been concerned about traffic speed through the village for some time but thought there was very little that could be done about it; the village is covered by a 30 mph speed limit and although many motorists seem to ignore it, that was that. But then, a few weeks ago, I happened to travel through Muckhart, and noticed that they have a village-wide 20 mph speed limit, even on the main road. This set me thinking, if they can do it why can't we?

I spoke to a few people in Muckhart and found out that they raised the issue through their Community Council who liaised with the police and Clackmannanshire Council to get the speed limit lowered. One of their key arguments was that in Muckhart there are a number of houses which front directly onto the main road. Well, we have a lot of houses that do this, probably more than Muckhart. We also have more children who need to cross the main road to get to school, to the park and the library in the community centre, and the location of the park, library etc., right next to the main road and a bus stop, is not exactly ideal.

I began to think further along these lines and noticed that the new estates already have 20 mph speed limits. This is good, but what about the existing estates and non-estate roads? Are the people who live there somehow second class and do not justify the increased safety of a lower speed limit? Compare the new estate at the western end of the village with the older parts of Menstrie: Hazel Avenue which serves the new estate is a wide road with traffic calming speed bumps; there is a grass verge then a wide pavement, the residential areas and children's play areas are fenced off from the road; there are no parked cars. This road, in fact the entire estate, enjoys a blanket 20mph speed limit. Now consider Abercrombie Place: a narrow road with cars parked both sides; no grass verge and and a narrow pavement; no play areas so children have to play in the street. This road, and other older residential roads, has a 30mph speed limit. Consider the back road: In some places there is no pavement; the road is extremely narrow; and the "walking and cycle friendly" back road to Alva, even narrower and with many blind corners, both have 30mph limits: It makes no sense.

So what can be done? All that is required are eight, yes just eight, new/altered speed limit signs, two for each of the four roads that serve the village. This would impose a universal 20 mph speed limit throughout the village. Everyone would benefit and the cost would be peanuts. I can almost hear what the council will say to this request: "There have been no significant incidents involving excess speed through Menstrie in the past X years, so the change is not justified". But ask them this: "Do we have to wait until there is a serious accident, possibly the death, of a child or old person from Menstrie House, before we take preventive action? Come on, for a few tens of pounds we can make the village much safer".

I have raised this issue with our MSP (Keith Brown - co-incidentally our Transport Minister) who informs me that although this is not his responsibility, he will write to the council endorsing my suggestion, and with Les Sharp, our Local Councillor.

I really hope something can be done to reduce traffic speed through Menstrie: I am sure everyone will benefit.
Yours etc

Jon Searle


June 2013

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