Trafford Council is proposing to close off Barrington Road to through-traffic using special powers recently granted by the government.
The council has given notice that, with effect from June 20th, it intends to erect some form of a barrier at the junction with Sandiway Road and Gaskell Road for a period of up to 18 months.
Pedestrians and cyclists would still be able to use the road in its entirety, but the move would prevent vehicles from using Barrington Road and/or Sandiway Road as a means of travelling from the Woodlands Road junction to the A56 Manchester Road.
Drivers must instead access the A56 via Woodlands Road and Church Street, and vice versa.
Trafford’s proposal – which it says is designed to “maintain public safety during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak” – follows special powers granted to local authorities to facilitate their response to the pandemic.
Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport, has spoken of the “once in a generation opportunity to deliver a lasting transformative change in how we make short journeys in our towns and cities”.
And he said he “expects” local authorities “to make significant changes to their road layouts to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians”.
A government document reads: “Local authorities in areas with high levels of public transport use should take measures to reallocate road space to people walking and cycling, both to encourage active travel and to enable social distancing during restart.”
However, one resident of a neighbouring road, Burlington Road, described the proposal as “absurd”.
He said: “While this seemingly magnanimous and noble gesture might be viewed as well intentioned and beneficial to cyclists and pedestrians using the Barrington Road route, it will ‘unintentionally’ (or perhaps wilfully?) turn Sandiway and Burlington Road into the very same short cut ‘rat run’ route your state Barrington Road currently manifests as.
“If this absurd proposed road closure and re-routing of vehicular traffic does go ahead – and pray common sense and logic see the asinine scheme reviewed and ditched – then the least precaution the TMBC / Amey authors who conjured up this bizarre scheme might initiate is the installation of speed control bumps along the length of Burlington Road.”
Michael Welton, Green Party councillor for Altrincham, said: “We were really surprised when the council told us about this plan earlier in the week. We are concerned that any changes must make roads safer and not simply transfer problems onto neighbouring roads.
“There are clearly issues that need to be addressed and we are feeding back residents views to the Council. We have discussed our concerns with the Leader of the council. It is essential that any unintended consequences are considered before any changes are made.”
We’ve approached Trafford Council for a comment on the proposal.