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Shop owner asks drivers to ‘honk’ if they want rid of traffic wands on Cambridge street

A frustrated shop owner has put signs on the ‘wands’ that have reduced East Road in Cambridge to one lane for motorised traffic and asked drivers to honk if they want the bollards removed.

The stunt by Neil Mackay of Mackay’s hardware store on East Road appears to have been well received by motorists who were beeping their horns as they drove past yesterday (Tuesday, November 7)

The bollards – called traffic wands – were installed to create a separate cycling lane and are part of the council’s active travel programme to encourage more walking and cycling across Cambridgeshire using an Experimental Traffic Order.

Their impact is expected to be assessed at the next Cambridgeshire County Council highways and transport committee on December 5.

Neil filmed drivers honking their horns in response to his posters on the traffic wands. He said: “These road restrictions have caused people to think twice about coming to the area. We have seen a drop in footfall since they were first introduced. It was no coincidence that this happened during the STZ consultation period at the end of 2022. This played a significant role in our decision to exit from our East road site we have occupied since 1912.

“I plan to send my footage of drivers honking their horns in response to the signs to the members of the committee.”

The 'wands' on East Road. Picture: Keith Heppell
The 'wands' on East Road. Picture: Keith Heppell

Neil has announced that his business will be moving from East Road in 18 months to a new site on the outskirts of Cambridge because of the prospect of increasing road restrictions and the possibility of road pricing if a congestion charge is imposed.

A Cambridgeshire County Council spokesperson said: “We have received both positive and negative feedback about the changes. All these responses will be considered at the Highways and Transport Committee next month (Tuesday 5 December) when the scheme will be discussed, and a decision will be made as to whether to make the changes permanent.

“We have made alterations throughout the scheme and are continuing to work with the emergency services on changes to allow vehicles to pull over if necessary. We have been carrying out surveys looking at the queues and the numbers of people walking and cycling. We are also regularly monitoring congestion using traffic sensors.”

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