Why the A1 at Buckden needs attention ... NOW!
HAVING just read the article about the Buckden WI’s suggested improvements to the Buckden roundabout, I wanted to strongly agree and also to point out that coming onto the roundabout from Perry Road is just as hazardous.
At peak times you have to use a Russian roulette method of crossing the junction as cars travelling north and south on the A1 barely slow down and seem to think that they have priority. Reading about Helen Cotterill’s accident brought back memories of my own accident in July 2011 on that roundabout. My husband was driving me to Addenbrooke’s Hospital as I had recently had a stomach operation and the wound was infected, hence the reason we were going back. We had come out of Perry Road and were about to turn into Buckden when a car, coming at speed from the north direction A1, hit us from the side. The car turned a complete 360 degrees and was a complete right off. I completed my journey back to Addenbrooke’s by ambulance and luckily was not seriously hurt but, as in Helen’s case, it could have been so much worse.
Even though there are speed restrictions of 50mph in both directions drivers regularly disregard this and do not slow down for the roundabout.
Traffic lights, as at Brampton Hut, would be wonderful for we villagers of Buckden and Perry who have to take our lives into our hands sometimes several times a day.
Good luck with your mission ladies of the WI, there are many who wholeheartedly support you!
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I WAS very pleased to read in The Hunts Post last week that members of Buckden WI have started a campaign to have traffic lights installed at Buckden roundabout. I wish them every success. I’ve seen several near-misses there myself. This is a badly-designed roundabout and a real danger to road users, cyclists as well as drivers, and is an accident black-spot.
As a driver, travelling from St Neots, I always get into the right hand lane and indicate right to get on to the roundabout, but then quickly indicate left to alert oncoming traffic on my left that I am turning sharp left into Buckden High Street – a road they cannot see for themselves. Leaving Buckden village at this roundabout, to join the A1 dual-carriageway, can also be hazardous because impatient motorists emerging from the Shell garage on the left, do not take enough care.
To avoid this dangerous A1 roundabout at Buckden, which I always do when I have a passenger in my car, I leave St Neots via Great Paxton, go through the Darcy’s, turn left towards Buckden and past the marina. It’s a longer route but I consider it to be definitely much safer.
I wish the ladies of the WI Buckden the best of luck with their campaign and hope they succeed. I feel sure lives will be lost if something is not done about this hazard soon.
EDNA A JONES
THE base problem is the approach speed of traffic on the A1 from both north and south of the roundabout. Attractive as the suggestion of traffic lights may at first sight appear, there is little doubt that the Highways Agency spokesman is correct in stating that traffic lights “would lead to greater congestion and could introduce additional [I would suggest “exacerbate existing”] safety problems”. Damage only RTCs from vehicles tailgating/following too closely at inappropriate speeds are a common occurrence on the A1 approaches to the roundabout, and clearly would increase with lights regularly and routinely bringing traffic to a complete stop.
I would, however, strongly disagree with the Highways Agency that “no other improvements were [read “are”] feasible”. Extension of the existing 50mph limit on both A1 carriageways to the Little Paxton flyover and its enforcement by the installation of average speed cameras over the total length of the limit is feasible, cost effective when set against the overall costs of “accidents” on this stretch of road, would benefit all users of the A1, and also go some way to addressing the concerns of residents of Diddington and Southoe in accessing those villages.
Similarly a specifically targeted increase in the total police funding for road traffic units to not only support enforcement of speed limits, but also proactively deal with problems of mobile phone use, tailgating and sheer driver ignorance as exemplified by the driver who collided with the car on the roundabout because “he didn’t realise he had to stop” are a matter that should become a priority in the remit of the Police and Crime commissioner.
Congratulations to Buckden WI for fresh publicity for one aspect of problems of A1 safety that parish councils in Southoe, Diddington and Buckden, alongside concerned residents of all three villages, have been pursuing for some considerable time.
Great North Road
AS a long-term resident of Buckden – 37 years – I heartily support anything that can be done to improve the traffic flow out of the village. I do battle with the roundabout every weekday morning about 8am and sometimes have to wait seven or eight minutes before I can get out of the High Street onto the roundabout.
Because the southbound traffic is going so fast and doesn’t seem to slow down at all, it’s like taking your life in your steering wheel. Even when traffic is coming round the roundabout from the Perry Road or the A1 northbound, oncoming traffic cuts it up so badly that it nearly takes the back end off vehicles.
I do remember some years ago a petition was organised and the response to this by the Highways Agency was fairly negative, resulting in a 50mph limit which really doesn’t solve the problem as the traffic is still approaching the roundabout far too fast and not slowing down at all in most cases unless there is a queue.
I don’t agree at all with the HA’s statement “that traffic signals would lead to greater congestion and introduce additional safety problems along this section of the A1”. Surely it has been proven that traffic lights at Brampton Hut have greatly improved the traffic flow and reduced the amount of accidents, so why is Buckden so different?
We all have a right to be able to leave our village in safety and it certainly isn’t that at peak times. I even know of one lady who wanted to move from Brampton to Buckden but wouldn’t seriously consider it because of the roundabout problems.
CAN the roundabout at Buckden be made safer? No, the only way this junction can be made safer is to build an over or an underpass. Drivers heading south don’t seem to realise that there is a left hand turn into the village and treat it as a continuous road. As a former bus driver I had to hit the brakes hard a few times trying to turn left onto the A1 from the village. It seems to me that health and safety is taken very seriously, provided it’s not going to cost money.