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PROPOSAL FOR THE INTRODUCTION OF TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT MEASURES IN DENHEAD

Description of Denhead

1. Within the hamlet are 13 residential properties, all owner occupied, either side of a single track road with no official passing places.  There are no footpaths.  For travel between St Andrews and Peat Inn, the road is shorter (by approximately 700m, 1.4km as opposed to 2.1km) than using the minor road to the crossroads by Claremont Farm.  There are a further six properties near Denhead whose exit/access is via the road through the hamlet.
 
2. Vehicles are able to pass each other by utilising the drives and entrances to properties, at two field entrances (one within the hamlet, one at the top of the hill at the St Andrews end of the road) and at an unofficial widening of the verge opposite the entrance to the public footpath to St Andrews, alongside The Duke’s Golf Course.  Another unofficial passing place has been so damaged that the verge has collapsed into a ditch.  The road has straight stretches at both ends of the hamlet which encourage speed.


The Problem

3. Use of the road through the hamlet has grown considerably over the past ten years, by all manner of users.  What was once an very quiet road is now relatively busy and there have been an increasing number of “close calls”, incidents, vehicles in the ditch etc, due in most instances to one or more of the following; excessive speed, impatience and/or lack of knowledge on how to pass horses.  It is not a safe road for any user.

4. Despite the wide variety of road users and the number of near misses, the National speed limit applies.  In effect this permits dangerous driving for the few who drive thoughtlessly through the hamlet.


Road Users

5. As far as is known, there has been no census of road users.  From observation, users comprise the following:

  • Residents’ light vehicles i.e. cars.
  • Private and business light vehicles using it as a short cut.  Virtually all through traffic falls into this group and most are considerate and careful drivers.  However, the use of the road as a “rat run” is a major cause of concern. Such drivers are likely to be in a hurry.  There have been a number of altercations between such drivers and walkers/residents.  Speeding vehicles are mainly private cars and “white van man”.
  • Vehicles from RB Grant Electricians.  Being a local business, Grant’s van drivers are well aware of the hazards and drive with care and consideration.
  • Horse riders from Drumcarrow Equestrian Centre.  The riding centre has grown and developed into an international business attracting considerable use, including Riding for the Disabled.  A large number of horses require daily exercise and one of their main hacking routes is the hamlet road.  There has been a continual succession of incidents between horses and drivers.
  • Walkers have always used the road because it provides the link between two public footpaths (the Denhead-Cameron Reservoir track and the public path to St Andrews via The Duke’s and Craigtoun Park).  At least seven dog owners use the road daily including non residents.  Children (mainly grandchildren of residents) use the road, both walking and cycling, and are often unaccompanied.
  • Taxis, mainly passing through and frequently at what most people would consider to be an unsafe speed.
  • Flexi bus.  The introduction of the Flexibus service (used and appreciated by residents) has added to through traffic although a recent complaint about excessive speed has led to a policy of Flexibuses taking the long way round rather than passing through.
  • Cyclists.  The road has been designated a Kingdom of Fife Cycle Route and is well used by cyclists in both directions.
  • Delivery vehicles incl HGV/oil tankers/refuse removal vehicles etc.  Virtually all HGVs using the road are delivery or collection vehicles.  Only rarely do HGVs mistakenly use the road.  The refuse vehicle is prone to driving over verges.  This has been reported to the Council.
  • Farm vehicles make seasonal use of the road for access to fields.  It has been noted that tractors are as capable of excessive speeds through the hamlet as other road users.
  • Very occasionally motorcyclists use the road.  They appear to be the most considerate group of motorised vehicle users and are not know to have caused any problems.

Additional Problems caused by Inconsiderate Driving.

6. The ditches and culverts along the road are inadequate for rainwater disposal during heavy downpours.  Water can be several inches deep in the road.  One cottage has had kerbstones fitted specifically to protect against floodwater. A second property has had the verge raised to redirect rainwater runoff.  A third is liable to flooding and relies on sand bags over the drive as a flood prevention measure, not always successfully.  In their haste to get somewhere, and in the absence of passing places, drivers occasionally mount the verges both within and outwith the hamlet.

7. Outwith the hamlet this has led to the collapse of verges into ditches thus blocking them. This exacerbates the flooding problem as the rainwater backs up.

8.  All properties in Denhead have garages or off road parking.  However, six properties have insufficient space to turn and therefore vehicles reverse out.  In the case of two cottages this is a hazardous procedure because visibility of approaching traffic is good in one direction only.  This poses an obvious risk. 
 
9. Like people everywhere, many residents exhibit considerable civic pride and maintain the verges outside their properties to create a very pleasant visual environment.  The verges are Council adopted.  Inconsiderate and impatient drivers often ignore what are very obviously tended verges and drive over them creating quagmires; this is both unsightly and makes the road muddy.  Such driving has also damaged a water mains stop cock, driveway surfaces, flood prevention verges and has led to arguments between drivers and residents.

10. Tending roadside hedges and verges can be hazardous as the noise from mowers, strimmers and hedge cutters masks the sound of fast approaching vehicles.  Speeding vehicle drivers fail to appreciate their approach may not have been heard. Such drivers seldom moderate their speed when they see people on the roadside.


Solutions

11. None of the residents of Denhead claim any expertise in traffic management but it seems fairly obvious that the hamlet requires measures to reduce excessive speed and inconsiderate driving.  Many residential areas with two way roads and footpaths on each side have 20 mph speed limits.  Kincaple, which isn’t a “rat run” and probably has a fraction of the number and variety of users as Denhead, is designated as a “Single track road with no passing places” and has a 20 mph speed limit.
 
12. Whilst there is no guarantee of success, kerbstones throughout the length of the hamlet would act to contain excessive rainwater, deter drivers from mounting verges and probably slow them down.  An emergency stop up a kerbstone being much less attractive than sliding across a verge.  It is recognised that kerbstones throughout the hamlet would be a costly project and, in the short term, may not be affordable.


Proposal

13. The Traffic Management Team of Fife Council are aware of the nature of the traffic and flooding problems in Denhead but, because no one has been seriously injured, they may not be aware of the full extent of the incidents.

14.  In an effort to avoid further confrontations and to prevent the increasing probability of injury when one of the numerous minor incidents becomes something more serious, the residents of Denhead seek Community Council support for the introduction of a 20mph speed limit in Denhead and signs saying “Single track road with no passing places”.

Signed

29 August 2015

 



 

 

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