As the name suggests, Main Street is the main street running through the centre of Cold Ashby. Not unsurprisingly (as it's a residential street) it has houses on either side and, quite legitimately, residents leave their cars parked outside as they don't have garages and there is nowhere else to park- which has the effect of reducing the width of the road to a single lane.
In most other villages this wouldn’t be an issue, but unfortunately in Cold Ashby (as you can imagine with 35,000 vehicles a week wanting to pass by) this causes hold ups and very regularly gridlock in the middle of the village.
The issue is that traffic with the *perceived right of way will often ignore oncoming traffic that has already set off past the parked cars and continue on its way along Main Street unaware that the vehicles approaching have nowhere or only very limited room to pull over. If this was just one car going in either direction it would be relatively easy to sort out and everyone would carry on their way with a cheery wave, but unfortunately because of the sheer volume of traffic this generally isn’t the case.
The problem starts because cars without the *right of way often have to wait a long time before there is a gap in oncoming traffic for them to pull out past the parked cars and this inevitably leads to a build-up of traffic behind such that, when a gap does appear rather than just one vehicle at a time going everyone follows all at once! Almost without fail, once the line of vehicles is half way along Main Street something appears coming the other way. If what’s coming the other way also happens to be a line of traffic the resulting conflict in the middle of the street can take some serious sorting out. The cars at the front have got nowhere to go and the cars following can't reverse because they are being followed by yet more cars...with more joining all the time! Remember upwards of 35,000 a week pass through the village)
Unfortunately, what often results is extended sounding of car horns (not welcome at 5.30am when the rush hour traffic gets going), hurling of abuse and insults from the drivers of the front two vehicles (not ideal if you're walking the kids to the school bus) and quite often full blown road rage!
Invariably traffic has to mount the pavement which, as the picture shows, causes all sorts of other problems (pavements are for people after all), and in the meantime traffic at the back of the queue often attempts to circumnavigate the problem by taking a detour along Church Lane.
First and foremost let us state here now that the good people of Cold Ashby and in particular CAPEG feel your pain! We feel your pain because like you we’re all drivers too and we don’t like getting held up any more than you do - plus if anything it’s worse for us as we live here and are faced with this sort of hold up and the resulting fallout every day.
However things can be improved provided that we all use this section of road sensibly.
*For more information on passing parked cars please refer to the highway code and specifically sections 160, 162 and 163
If you're coming into the village from the the A14, yes you do have the right of way - but if you see a car coming towards you PLEASE wait for it to come past even if this means that a few other vehicles sneak in behind it. Whilst on the face of it you have the moral high ground and yes you could proceed, we can assure you that what will follow will likely cost you far more time than if you had waited, and could well end up causing damage to your car or someone else’s. Also, if you come up to the junction and see a whole load of vehicles waiting at the other end of the road, even though it is your right of way why not be courteous and allow a few of them through? This will keep things moving, won’t in reality cost you a great deal of time and I’m sure that over time you’ll see the benefit when you're travelling back in the other direction, once a few other people take the same approach.
If you're approaching Main Street from West Haddon please be patient. A gap will arrive and when it does there will be time for you to make it through so PLEASE don’t travel excessively fast. If you happen to be in a queue, PLEASE be realistic and remember that you don’t have the right of way. If you can see cars waiting at the other end of the street and a chain of 5 cars have already pushed their luck following each other through, don’t add to the chain! When people at the other end see other drivers clearly pushing their luck this spurs them on to push forwards regardless of whether traffic is oncoming or not and is what leads to unnecessary confrontation.
Redirect traffic with a bypass or relief road
In the longer term, however, there is clearly only one obvious resolution to this and that is to provide a more suitable route for people wishing to travel East-West and West-East. Whether this is by revisiting the A14/M6/M1 junction or providing a bypass doesn’t really matter but what is clear is that unless something is done this problem will get worse and your journey through our village is going to be fraught with more hold ups!
If you're coming into the village from the direction of the A14...yes you do have the right of way - but if you see a car coming towards you PLEASE wait for it to come past even if this means that a few other vehicles sneak in behind it. Whilst on the face of it you have the moral high ground and yes you could proceed, we can assure you that what will follow will likely cost you far more time than if you had waited and could well end up causing damage to your car or someone else’s.
Here we have what is sadly a typical example! The Volvo is already well down Main Street, the Audi has joined Main Street from Naseby Road, ignores the fact that there is a car approaching and continues on regardless...pointless!
Fortunately there was a big enough gap behind for the Audi so that it could reverse but not before the usual friendly banter between drivers.
Several years ago residents on Main Street fed up being faced with traffic using the path as the road successfully campaigned to have bollards and railings installed.
These have been knocked down so many times that the county council have had to change them to ones on flexible fixings. Whilst these still act a deterrent and WILL damage your vehicle if you knock into them they will flip back into position after the event!
Believe it or not this flexi-bollard is only a few years old!
Please stick to the road. It will be cheaper in the long run
Our best preserved flexi-bollard. We were thinking about protecting it with some bollards!
Rather an unnecessary warning sign! Not strictly speaking on main street, but it had to come that way to get to here.
Its not just machinery either!