Short Term - It is agreed by all that the paramount priority is the safety of pedestrians and property owners along the narrow areas of The Street, where vehicles mounting the kerb and driving partly on the footway is a common occurrence. KCC are now looking into the design of a scheme to help alleviate this problem thorough the installation of bollards in the carriageway. It is hoped that the design will help prevent vehicles from using the footways as passing places and therefore allay pedestrian concerns here. If this scheme is approved, it is expected to be implemented in the first quarter of 2021. Additional enhanced signage is also being designed with the aim to deter inappropriate traffic heading towards the village at the Halfpence Lane roundabout junction.
Medium Term - There is an accord that the Cobham/Sole Street to Meopham corridor is being used inappropriately as a rat run route, primarily by A2 users. There is however no easy solution to this because complex issues are involved, such as traffic displacement to other areas, maintaining access to Cobham School, the pubs and the shop, emergency service responses, traders and deliveries to the community, school buses etc. Innovative trials of potential highway improvement schemes are being actively considered, including the introduction of a temporary traffic lights system, or making Cobham a one-way road. It must be stressed that these ideas are currently at feasibility stage only and no final decisions have yet been made. If such schemes are considered appropriate to be approved as trials, the purpose will be to ultimately to find out what works and what doesn’t. If successful, we would hope to see a trial introduced at some stage during 2021.
Long Term - Given that the source of the traffic problem is primarily displaced traffic coming off the M2/A2, in order to avoid congestion and delays, KCC are working with both Highways England (HE) and Lower Thames Crossing (LTC) to collaborate on a future scheme that keeps such traffic where it should remain, on the Strategic Road Network owned by HE. KCC will be looking into the feasibility of using innovative video technology-based solutions that could provide an ‘access only’ answer. This would mean that the technology would recognise the number plates of vehicles, and have the ability to automatically reference DVLA database and fine drivers that are not authorised users. As above, it must again be stressed that this idea is very much at concept stage and could be the first of its kind. Much more work is needed before a final decision can be made as to its suitability. If such a scheme is ultimately considered viable, then we would hope to see it trialled in advance of the opening of the LTC.