I spent some time yesterday evening listening to the debate at Kensworth Parish Council; the meeting included visiting speaker David Bowie (Head of Service Traffic Management at Central Bedfordshire Council) and I was joined in the public seating by some Kensworth residents.
Common Road is central to Kensworth village, has a long straight section and is classified as a "B" road. This combination of factors means that the road carries a lot of traffic, much of which chooses to ignore the published speed limits, yet there are limitations on the sort of obstructive measures which can be placed on a significant through route. As technology moves on, there may be options to upgrade existing speed cameras (newer digital models capture traffic in both directions at one, they do not just point one way) or perhaps even an average-speed installation which could monitor speed through the village rather than just past a specific fixed camera site.
None of these things can happen overnight, but it is good to be investigating what might be possible. The Parish Council can now have an informed discussion around potential costs (and to what degree funding assistance might be available from the local authority) and possible ways forward. Revised road markings and signage around areas like the school might also be considered, especially if this can be co-ordinated with practical enforcement of the regulations to ensure that traffic rules are obeyed and so danger to pedestrians and other road users is minmised.
There is no quick and easy fix, but at least the problem is being looked at in a sensible and pro-active way. I am also conscious that Slip End has similar straight road / speeding issues and are doing their best to tackle the problem. These are not issues that we are likely to ever completely eradicate, but continued dialogue and positive action can, at least, keep safety as the top priority and minmise the disruption to people's enjoyment of village life.
I will be back in Kensworth next week to talk about Neighbourhood Planning.