About the scheme
Lewis Gardens is situated on Colchester High Street, between Queen Street and Priory Street. It has been identified as a location that requires casualty reduction measures to be introduced.
Access to Queen Street from the High Street (travelling eastbound) is restricted to bus lane users only. In order to circumnavigate this restriction, some drivers continue to travel east along the High Street towards Lewis Gardens and then undertake dangerous U-Turn manoeuvres utilising part of the pedestrian route to complete the turn, then proceeding along High Street in a westbound direction, thus allowing them to enter Queen Street legally. This has led to a number of collisions and personal injury accidents including serious injuries to pedestrians and cyclists.
There are no plans to either suspend or remove the bus lane on Queen Street as bus lanes in Colchester town centre have helped to reduce town centre traffic, supporting bus services with bus priority leading to consistent and attractive journey times.
Instead, we have looked into the options and listened to local feedback. We believe that the installation of islands, bollards and kerbing is the best way to reduce the unsafe U-turns at Lewis Gardens. An additional bollard just west of the island will protect the staff parking area at The Minories and prevent larger-diameter sweeping turn-around movements.
After further observation of driver behaviour at the site, Councillor Kevin Bentley, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, said: “U-turn prohibition for Lewis Gardens is now being advertised. If and when sealed, this order will make it an offence to carry out a U-turn in the High Street 60 metres either side of the Lewis Gardens junction. Enforcement, as with all such traffic orders, will be a matter for Essex Police. The intention of the order, as with the building of the traffic island and bollards at the junction, is to prevent drivers performing dangerous U-turns across the junction which is often busy with pedestrians and cyclists. We would encourage all car users to consider the route they are taking, and use alternative routes and modes of transport.”
Through feedback, we are able to deliver a scheme designed to be in keeping with the local area.
Access to and from Lewis Gardens, including Firstsite and the other properties in Lewis Gardens, will not be adversely affected by these safety measures.
We would encourage all car users to consider the route they are taking, and use alternative routes and modes of transport.
Construction of the island was carried out August 2019
Below: Diagram of proposed sign locations
An open meeting was held on 1 August 2019 at GreyFriars Hotel to address concerns raised by some residents in Roman Road and Castle Road.