PSM High Street proposal criticised as too expensive

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A PROPOSAL to alter the priority to traffic in Port St Mary has been criticised by Rushen MHK Quintin Gill for being more complicated and costly than just improving signage.

But fellow Rushen MHK and Infrastructure Minister Phil Gawne said his department decided this was the best scheme and, at £800-£1,000, would cost slightly more than improving signage.

The proposal is in response to concern that motorists were ignoring a no entry sign at the entrance to a one-way section of the High Street and driving the wrong way up the road, instead of turning to the right and continuing along Park Road.

A resident reported she saw several incidents on a daily basis of motorists driving the wrong way along the street.

The Department of Infrastructure looked at reversing the one-way system, but decided it was more complicated and expensive as it involved relocating a bus stop and losing car parking spaces. Police also advised it could encourage speeding.

Presently, motorists entering or leaving Park Road must give way to traffic from the High Street. Under the proposal this will be reversed, so motorists driving along High Street must give way to motorists entering and leaving Park Road. A build out would narrow the street to act as a physical barrier to warn motorists.

Mr Gill said he echoes the concerns of ‘a number of residents’ who asked: ‘Why not take the cheapest option and enhance it and if that fails, look at the more expensive option? In Department of Infrastructure tradition, they are going for the most expensive option. Do you do the easy, cheap thing or one that is grandiose? The scale is different to Ballakillowey roundabout [criticised for being too large and expensive], but the principle is the same.’

Mr Gawne said the ‘build out’ would be removable, ‘so if the changes proved unacceptable we could go back to what’s already there, if necessary’. The cost, he added, is ‘a few hundred pounds more expensive than the less effective lining and signage work apparently suggested by Mr Gill’.

This is just a proposal, he said, and feedback so far, from just one resident, was positive.

He added: ‘I am personally disappointed that Quintin has not contacted me or the officers concerned to discuss this proposal as we would have been able to offer him a better understanding of what is proposed.’

Other Rushen candidates were contacted for their comments. Juan Watterson said: ‘The department has not got a good record [in proving] that the cheapest option is not the best and I’m not sure what consideration has been given to it. Altering the signage seems to be a natural first step.’

David Jones said: ‘Whenever you put an obstruction in the road somebody will collide with it. Across [in the UK], the plethora of road restrictions have caused nothing but accident after accident, either from people hitting them or going too fast, avoiding them and colliding with another car.

‘They create accidents, especially at night and when it’s raining. I’m not in support of anything that creates an obstruction, if it’s a case of painting lines on the road, that’s different.’

Laurence Skelly said: ‘Something must be done to prevent motorists driving down the High Street. It’s dangerous and if this can be resolved by simple and reasonable road improvements at the Park Road junction I believe it’s well worth it.’

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