Monday, 20 April 2009

There are two suggestions locally for ‘traffic calming’ measures which appealed to my imagination and I felt I must share with the world (or at least a couple of people).

One of them is potholes. The local radio station has had a Pothole Phone-In with people trying to outdo each other with the size of their pothole and I read that an Essex Parish Council is not repairing potholes for a year to see if this results in slowing down traffic and maybe to see how many cyclists they can dispose of! Or perhaps they are trying to find out ‘how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall’

I have to admit that my favourite idea for reducing traffic speed is chickens. We, in Norfolk, are famous for this idea – it has been monitored and statistics produced, so it must be feasible. The idea was first started many years ago on a south Norfolk roundabout and because of the favourable results, it is now to be introduced on other A road roundabouts in Norfolk and Suffolk. Some roundabouts are already perfect roosting areas but others may have to be landscaped into suitable chicken environments. A spokesman for the scheme said that “the chickens require very little maintenance and are practically self sufficient”.

It does beg the question, though, of whether someone would have to be appointed to collect the eggs each day (which would obviously be free range), and could be a good source of income for local Councils and possibly lead to reductions in Council Tax. However, the income would probably have to be offset against the cost of the egg collector.

There might be a worry that the chickens would breed too prolifically but there would probably be some ‘accidental’ culling by the very nature of their location.

It has been suggested that foxes may show a great interest in the chickens and measures would have to be taken to keep the fox population under control. Perhaps local fox hunting groups could be formed to control the roundabouts – the possibilities need some discussion (preferably in complete secrecy).

If it all works out well, chickens could be introduced on all roundabouts throughout the country and it is possible that the traffic calming effects could offset the number of collisions caused by drivers rubbernecking at the chickens.

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