Petition could lead to safety improvements

Councillor Alec Clark with Bill Harrow of Transport Scotland.
Councillor Alec Clark with Bill Harrow of Transport Scotland.

Roads bosses are to re-examine safety issues on the A77 in Girvan after a petition warned that it is “only a matter of time” before a serious accident occurs.

A senior official from Transport Scotland was in the town last week at the request of local Councillor Alec Clark to see the problem for himself and he left promising that his team would take another look at possible speed reducing measures.

Bill Harrow , area manager for Transport Scotland in Glasgow, spent three hours in Girvan last Thursday after residents, who had signed a petition in December calling for traffic calming measures to be introduced, described his earlier response as “contradictory nonsense which had failed to address the issue”.

Last week, he took up an invitation from Cllr Clark to come to the town in person and together they toured some of the “hot spots” including Vicarton Street and Henrietta Street where, it is claimed, there has been a perceptible increase in the speed of traffic passing through the town.

The main focus was on Vicarton Street where a 44-name petition had been signed by the residents calling for action to curb traffic speed coming into and going out of the town.

The petition had highlighted the impact of the renovation of the railway bridge which has meant that heavy vehicles no longer have to slow down to negotiate under it.

Traffic volumes on that stretch had also increased following the opening of the Asda store.

And vehicles had been witnessed braking heavily at the one and only pedestrian crossing.

The letter accompanying the petition said: “Public safety is paramount in all this and there is the potential for a serious, perhaps fatal, accident to occur.”

Councillor Clark spent some time briefing the Transport Scotland senior manager at a meeting in the Carrick Buildings before the two “hit the road”.

At the Vicarton Street pedestrian crossing, Cllr Clark outlined the problem to Mr Harrow as traffic thundered past.

He said: “There are so many things that drivers need to be aware of on this stretch of road.

“Firstly, it is a residential area which, because of the supermarket, petrol station and other businesses, already has a high volume of local traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian.

“Add to this the traffic heading to and from the ferry port as well as other through traffic on what is a very busy trunk road, then it is obvious that speed is a critical component in keeping people safe. Safety is the paramount issue here.”

After his conducted tour, which also included a close look at the bottleneck at the Henrietta Street/Knockcushan Street roundabout, Mr Harrow said he was grateful to Cllr Clark for taking the time and trouble to brief him on the issues.

He said “While obviously I can make no promises standing here right now, I have found the visit most informative and will be asking my team to take another look at what might be done to address the concerns raised by the residents and Councillor Clark.”

At the Girvan and district community council meeting last week it was reported that a survey of traffic on Vicarton Street had revealed that 28,000 vehicles passed over a four day period which included 8000 coaches and heavy goods vehicles.