Onchan Local Plan:
Traffic and Pedestrians
6.1 Onchan, due to its location close to Douglas acts as a primary route for traffic from the north travelling to and from Douglas for work, business and shopping. Much of the traffic from Ramsey travels through the study area when the Mountain Road is closed in bad weather and the vast majority of Laxey and Lonan residents work in Douglas (579 persons), Onchan (52 persons), Braddan (38 persons) and Malew (34 persons) illustrating the inevitable through-put of vehicles throughout the working week. Some of the roadways are not ideal, for example the main feeder route to Douglas from the north results in traffic using the TT Course which, between Bemahague and Governor's Bridge is narrow in places and would benefit from widening and the Commissioners would recommend the introduction of a larger more permanent roundabout although the constraints of the operation of the TT Races should be borne in mind. The Commissioners have also recommended that a dual carriageway be introduced between "The Nook" and Governor's Bridge. However, the Department would prefer that the narrow road problem is resolved by the introduction of a one way system around this stretch of the Course, utilising the new public footpath through the grounds of Government House but have this widened to accommodate one way vehicular traffic. This alternative would overcome the need to remove a significant amount of trees currently alongside the road.
6.2 Pedestrian movements within the village are generally unrestricted although the pavements between Royal Avenue and Corkill's Garage roundabout are narrow in places and make passing difficult. The relatively poor parking facilities along Main Road do not help attract passing trade to the various shops which front onto the Main Road, although the resident village population support the local shops to a great extent and as such the changes in ownership or use of shops in the village centre is relatively low.
6.3 The creation of a pedestrian refuge in the middle of School Road as it meets Whitebridge Road has helped pedestrian and vehicular movement in this area.
6.4 There remain, however, a number of junctions and accesses which are far from ideal and pose problems within the study area, mainly within the village. The junctions of Alberta Drive/Summerhill Road, Harbour Road/King Edward Road, Stoney Road/Avondale Road and Lakeside Gardens/Whitebridge Road all present problems of visibility for emerging vehicles and other junctions such as Wybourn Drive/Governor's Road and Birch Hill Crescent/Hillberry Road are beginning to experience traffic build ups at peak times and the Commissioners would recommend the introduction of a roundabout in the latter case. Also, the Little Mill and Scollag Roads offer poor visibility from the winding and narrow nature of the roads themselves and are often the route for pony trekking and horse riders. It is not considered however, that it would be acceptable to widen either the Little Mill or Scollag Roads as this would alter significantly the visual impact of the area and may destroy a considerable amount of wildlife which exists within the hedging on both sides of the roads. Neither road is suitable for any further development thereon although it may be appropriate to provide passing points along the length of the road to assist vehicular movement.
6.5 Whilst Onchan would benefit from the reduction in traffic passing through the centre of the village, it is unlikely that an alternative route could be identified which would be a quick and easy route for traffic travelling to Douglas. In any case most of the other routes into the capital are already heavily used and have problems of their own (Braddan Road, for example). It is not accepted that either the Little Mill or Scollag Roads should be widened and in any case it is not felt that the widening of either would help reduce traffic passing through the centre of the village. It may be possible to widen the roadway passing over Groudle Bridge thus making more attractive the coastal route through Onchan to Douglas and possibly reducing the amount of traffic passing through the centre of the village.
6.6 Pedestrian movement within the village could be improved with the widening of certain footpaths. Many respondents to the Issues and Options document suggested that there should be a footpath installed along Blackberry Lane to aid pedestrian safety, particularly at night as there are no street lights which make using the Lane sometimes dangerous.
6.7 It is considered appropriate to apply the following policies and recommendations to the study area in terms of Traffic and Pedestrians:
6.8 THE DEPARTMENT WOULD SUPPORT THE PRINCIPLE OF THE PROVISION OF AN ALTERNATIVE ROUTE FOR THROUGH TRAFFIC THUS DIVERTING TRAFFIC FROM THE HEART OF THE VILLAGE. ALSO, THE DEPARTMENT WOULD ENCOURAGE THE CONSIDERATION OF MAKING MORE ATTRACTIVE KING EDWARD ROAD AS A ROUTE TO DOUGLAS, POSSIBLY INVOLVING WIDENING OF THE ROADWAY ON GROUDLE BRIDGE.
6.9 THE DEPARTMENT WOULD SUPPORT THE PROVISION OF A FOOTPATH ALONG BLACKBERRY LANE.
6.10 THE DEPARTMENT WOULD SUPPORT THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE FOLLOWING JUNCTIONS:
i. BEMAHAGUE ROAD/GOVERNOR'S ROAD (at Governor's Bridge)*
ii. SCHOOL/MAIN ROADS
iii. MAIN ROAD/ROYAL AVENUE
iv. ALBERTA DRIVE/SUMMERHILL ROAD.
*IN THE CASE OF i) THE DEPARTMENT WOULD FAVOUR THE INTRODUCTION OF A ONE WAY SYSTEM UTILISING THE PUBLIC FOOTPATH THROUGH THE GROUNDS OF GOVERNMENT HOUSE (THE FOOTPATH WOULD HAVE TO BE WIDENED) RATHER THAN THE WIDENING OF THE TT COURSE WHICH WOULD RESULT IN THE LOSS OF A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF TREES.
6.11 THE DEPARTMENT WOULD WELCOME PROPOSALS BY THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT TO IMPROVE PEDESTRIAN SAFETY AND CONVENIENCE THROUGHOUT THE VILLAGE PARTICULARY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE VILLAGE, BETWEEN CORKILL'S GARAGE AND ELM TREE HOUSE AND ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD FROM THE "ONCHAN GALLERY AND GIFT CENTRE" TO THE MAIN ROAD METHODIST CHURCH.
6.12 THE DEPARTMENT WOULD ENCOURAGE PROPOSALS WHICH WIDEN GROUDLE BRIDGE IN A SYMPATHETIC MANNER SUCH AS TO ENABLE AND ENCOURAGE INCREASED TRAFFIC LEVELS ALONG KING EDWARD ROAD.
6.13 ANY PROPOSAL FOR DEVELOPMENT ALONGSIDE MAIN ROAD MAY INVOLVE A REQUIREMENT FOR WIDENING THE EXISTING FOOTPATH IN FRONT OF THE SITE, WHERE THIS IS CONSIDERED CURRENTLY INADEQUATE.
6.14 THE DEPARTMENT IS OPPOSED TO THE PRINCIPLE OF THE WIDENING OF EITHER THE SCOLLAG OR LITTLE MILL ROADS ON THE GROUNDS OF INAPROPRIATE VISUAL IMPACT AND DESTRUCTION OF WILDLIFE.