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Speed limit lowered on Carlisle bypass 'rat runs'

Speed limits are being lowered on roads leading to Carlisle’s western bypass as safety concerns about vehicle volumes show no signs of easing.

Carlisle rat runs photo
Carlisle city councillor Jessica Riddle on Burgh Road with residents Monica Carruthers, Shona Graham, Charlotte Archibald, Aileen Nelson and Gerald Chamberlin

People living in the Burgh Road area remain frustrated about the number of motorists using the road as a rat run from the bypass into the city.

Some have had that frustration compounded after a hedge that screened much of the noise and view of traffic from the route was uprooted to make way for a new path for pedestrians and cyclists.

Their case has been taken up with Cumbria County Council, whose officials have pledge to replace the hedge that’s been pulled out.

Jessica Riddle, the city councillor for Belle Vue, has taken up residents’ case securing an assurance over the replacement and highlighting continuing concerns about safety on Burgh Road.

In another development, the county council has revealed it is to cut the speed limit on rural sections of Orton and Moorhouse roads as well as putting new 30mph road markings in place there and at Burgh Road.

On the hedge, Mrs Riddle, who was contacted by a number of residents, said: “We’re working with the city and county council to resolve the problem.”

Sheila Graham, of Palmer Road, was one of those who complained that the uprooting of the hedge affected peoples’ privacy.

“We were shocked to see it happen. I looked at the window and they were pulling them out,” she said.

Concerns, however, persist about traffic levels on Burgh Road following the opening of the bypass – the Carlisle Northern Development Route (CNDR) – in 2012.

Those living in the area say danger has increased because of the number of cars and heavy lorries using the road’s exit as access to the west of the city, often causing difficulties in bigger vehicles passing. Gerald Chamberlin, of Burgh Road, said: “Everybody knows this is a shortcut. People don’t realise they’re in a 30mph zone, but nothing will happen until there’s an accident.”

Mrs Riddle is aware of the concerns. “It’s going to be really difficult to deal with the traffic. We’re trying to get things sorted out,” she said.

Cumbria County Council says the combined foot and cycle path linking the bypass with nearby streets is being created at residents’ request.

It says a replacement hedge will be planted next month.

The authority says it originally planned to introduce traffic calming measures on Burgh Road after the CNDR’s opening – including narrowing the road in places – but they were scaled back after talks with residents.

But the spokesman added: “We will be reducing the speed limit from 60mph to 40mph on the rural sections of Orton Road and Moorhouse Road and introducing gateway features with red road markings at locations at the start of the 30mph limit on both these roads, and on Burgh Road. A 40mph speed limit will also be introduced on Sandsfield Road.”

Have your say

One main purpose of the CNDR is to reduce traffic and congestion throughout the city. It connects roads leading out of the city to reduce bottlenecks on some of the main city roads which, before the development, were often more dangerous and congested than now. Drivers are using the roads, that people are now complaining about more, as they're more direct than those used before the development. The traffic volume in Carlisle is only going to increase, particularly with a pending housing boom, so the volume needs to spread more evenly. It only makes sense to spread that volume to roads which are not used to capacity already than keep journey lengths longer by only increasing the capacity of main routes with even more expensive, lengthly developments on those roads which, would bring a lot more inconvenience to a lot more people. The likelihood is that if the main routes were to be expanded, diversions would cause the same if not worse problems than now. In the long term, if residents are being affected as badly as made out, then these issues should be addressed and it looks as though that is happening. I suspect the bypass has saved a lot of people's time and money. Personally, I now have an extra hour every day to spend with my wife and three children because I have a quicker way to get to and from work.
The purpose of the 40mph limit in place at the end of Burgh Road is to reduce congestion and accidents at either end of the 40pmh stretch by allowing traffic to spread out a bit. As an avid fence-sitter though, I agree that too many drivers in Carlisle are inconsiderate and rude toward other road users. Every journey along the bypass leaves me angry and frustrated due to lack of common sense, courtesy, consideration and safety. Drivers should use all roads correctly and not just do what everyone else appears to be doing. Educate drivers better and they will drive better. That's not a dig at instructors, they are brilliant, it's the lack of education once qualifying to drive.

Posted by Mike on 4 April 2014 at 01:09

Liz, why does this road need to have a name? It is the A689, a main road, just like the A595 & A596 that go to West Cumbria. It is easier to read maps to plan a journey if they have a classification such as A, B or C before the number.
Oh, by the way it is also known as the Carlisle Northern Development Route (CNDR) or is that not hip enough for you?
And Sally, where have you been for the last 20 years? Police stopping speeders. Not been doing that for years, all on camera and recorded delivery letter.
Give yourselves a shake girls, you are showing us decent lady drivers up.

Posted by Polly on 21 March 2014 at 21:04

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