In 2015 temporary traffic management measures were introduced in the interests of public safety, including a one-way system, when masonry from the ‘Corner Building’ at 12 Market Place and 2 High Street began falling to the street below.
That building, which has scaffolding around it, is now earmarked for demolition and the ‘temporary’ traffic measure remain in place.
Two petitions have been submitted to Scottish Borders Council from local residents and from Jedburgh Community Council, with support from businesses in the town, calling for the restoration of access to Exchange Street from the Market Place.
It has led to the council commissioning an independent traffic report which has concluded that current provisions are “inadequate” and goes on to outline a number of recommendations to tackle the problems, including pedestrian drop-kerbs – but ruling out abandonment of the current one-way system.
For a number of years Exchange Street has had a ‘No Entry’ sign stopping traffic entering from Market Place.
This has brought additional traffic onto The Friars, with residents who live there having to drive the length of the road to turn at the car park adjacent Willow Court to access their own driveways.
There have also been incidents of drivers ignoring the no entry sign and causing accident risks by driving up Exchange Street from Market Place.
The petition from residents says: “We need this situation to be resolved immediately, so that traffic can enter Exchange Street from Market Pace safely.
“This can be achieved by the use of traffic lights, a priority ‘Give Way’ system, or another solution to manage traffic appropriately.
“This will benefit drivers who need to use Exchange Street and Lanton Road, reduce traffic on The Friars, and allow residents to access their properties with greater ease than during past years.”
In response Ayr-based road safety consultants Wyllie Lodge have carried out an independent review of the temporary traffic measures in the town centre.
A series of recommendations have been made to address the issues, including pedestrian drop kerbs on both sides of Exchange Street and Market Place; removal of the remnants of the Zebra crossing on the High Street; a new controlled pedestrian crossing at No 11 and the use of more permanent street furniture.
However, the report recommends that the one-way system should remain, saying: “The protracted nature of the works stretches the definition of temporary traffic management. The Corner Building is still to be demolished and possibly a new building erected. Traffic management arrangements will be required for some years to come.
“Current pedestrian provision and diversions around the scaffolding are inadequate. The scaffolding on Exchange Street only leaves enough carriageway width for one lane of traffic and is currently managed by a one-way traffic flow. Re-introducing a two-way traffic flow that is managed by either temporary traffic lights or a priority give way system would be less inconvenient for drivers accessing Burns Wynd, Lanton Road and The Friars, however this would create significant traffic congestion on Market Place and be to the detriment of road safety for all road users at Market Place, Cannongate and High Street junction.”
Members of the council’s Audit and Scrutiny Committee will consider the recommendations when they meet via video-link on Thursday, June 9.