HATCHINGS painted on a road to improve safety have mystified motorists.
The outside lane of the southbound side of The Quay has been effectively blanked off to slow traffic down before it reaches the pedestrian and traffic shared space in Commercial Road and Southgate Street.
But that outside lane used to be only for traffic turning right to Severn Road.
“It seems daft,” said James Smith, who drives past most weekends. “That right hand lane from the Quay Street junction to the swing bridge on the corner by Severn Road was only for drivers going right anyway.
“All they seem to have done is made a bottleneck at the Quay Street traffic lights - those who head round to Commercial Road are still going the same speed anyway.”
Gloucestershire County Council, which did not consult on the work because it was part of a capital programme and there are no residents on that stretch, later adjusted it after a complaint. It insists the new layout improves safety for pedestrians and slows traffic.
There are two pedestrian crossing islands instead one, and traffic turning right in to Barrack Square now has a filter lane.
According to the Highway Code, the hatchings should not be driven on unless it is safe to do so.
Crashmap.co.uk reveals there has been four collisions of the lowest, slight, severity at The Quay in 2005 and 2006.
There have been two collisions, one of them serious, since the Commercial Road shared space was introduced in 2011, and there were two slight-rated collisions there before the new layout.
A Gloucestershire County Council spokesman said: “The hatching and other road improvements were put in place to manage traffic on the approach to the shared space and to improve safety for people crossing to the Docks.
“Following concerns raised by residents, the hatching was removed at the entrance to the road and is no longer in effect.”
The Quay could also be part of a proposed plan which would ring the city with a 20mph zone from the junction of Trier Way, Bristol Road, and St Ann Way, to Southgate Street and Commercial Road, Royal Oak Road, Westgate Island/St Oswald’s Road, and Priory Road. The zone would be inside the A430 Gouda Way, Black Dog Way, Bruton Way, Trier Way. Those roads would stay at the limits they are already at.
The Highway code says diagonal white lines bounded by broken lines may be used in the centre of the road to separate opposing flows of traffic.
“They are often provided at junctions to protect traffic turning right,” states the code. “They may also be used on the approach to a central traffic island or the start of a dual carriageway.
“Hatched markings with a single, broken boundary line may be used at the edge of the road or next to the central reservation of a dual carriageway: the diagonal lines always slope towards the direction of travel.
“You should not enter any hatched area bounded
by a broken line unless it is safe to do so.”