The Yeovil based Highways Department recently submitted an entire rethink of the Six Pilgrims Lydford to Castle Cary area - A beautifully constructed traffic signage system and road marking extravagaza to deal with problems that have been escallating year on year since the Benz 3 wheeler.
I've formed a very dim view of the Yeovil Highways Department. They are starved of money so they can't leave their desks let alone understand any of the local problems. They're supposed to be an independent body, but, they're basically public servants who aren't allowed to serve the public. - They can only parrot whatever the Government-du-jour tells them the limits are today.
I'm not just being cynical here, but speeding cars don't take any notice of road signage if there's no one around to stop them. HGV's will still be doing 50 down the middle of the street at midnight through Alford whatever the signs say. The problem isn't protecting the hamlets and villages with a few judiciously placed 30mph signs, it's about reducing the level of HGV traffic to zero along a road that isn't suitable for any.
Here's what the Highways Deprtment thought the B3153 looked like up until 2016:
Yet this is what it's always looked like if you live here:
My father was an amazingly law-abiding type, but he used to view red lights as an advisory, moreso and with more glee in torrential rain. People never think that when you're driving, you're in sole charge of a lethal weapon. To borrow a pertinent phrase from the NRA: Cars don't kill people, people kill people.
It's apparent that a large proportion of road users take no notice of road signs along the B3153. A centre white line in a village means 'drive with your wheels either side of it'. Hurtling down Ansford Hill doing 50 past the empty speed cameras is fun right up until your brake pipes fail. Trying to reach escape velocity upon seeing the national speed limit signs at either end of Keinton Mandeville - Aiming for three seconds of weightlessness before having to slow down for re-entry at the Lydford lights. Doing any of these things doesn't mean that you're a competent driver, it means you're a danger to the public.
I've noticed a spate of DIY signs sprouting up all around this area recently. Hand painted 30mph circles tacked to telegraph poles and pleading red paint to slow down is becoming a rustic trend-setting cottage industry.
The Ansford Hill and Lydford signs are looking particularly impressive right now.
Community policing of traffic is necessary because there's no traffic management in this area. The Somerset highways department is based in Yeovil. I think they share a proto-googlemap from the 1990's before bends could be rendered on screens and ping pong balls were still square. They never have the cash to go anywhere and for some unknown reason, we're paying taxes to have an entire department of desk-jockeys imagine what ups and downs look like from an arial map.
Traffic management is not only cheaper than anyone thinks, it's far easier than anyone's let on - The guys who park their vehicles in the road near Lydford lights are doing a sterling job of creating a single lane chicane for the cost of road tax - Even cheaper are the signs to Pylle and Ditcheat - A statement of fact on the A37 to send the message and cure the HGV problem for less than £15 from SixPAC!