Automatic Payment Parking comes to Weybridge

Work begins in September for a ticketless payment system for Churchfields car park. There will be several options but most locals will probably choose to simply drive in – drive out and pay on account.

No longer will you have to guess you length of your stay.  If you bump into a friend whilst shopping you can can have a coffee or lunch without going to fill the meter.  No need for coins either.

Convenience

Unlike many car parks elsewhere you will not even have to pay on exit via a pay-station. You simply drive out.

Of course, non-locals will have to use a pay station – unless they choose to register their vehicle on account.

Costs

Although the new car park should be a great benefit to users it will cost the borough a loss in revenue of around £30,000 a year.  This is currently what is collected from parking fines.  With barriered pay on exit parking penalties will reduce almost to nothing.

Some might say that the borough should have increased the parking charges to cover the cost of the proposals.  However, the Liberal Democrat led Elmbridge administration decided to recommend the full council agree this proposal without changing the charges in any way.

The main reason is that people might develop different parking habits from before and we felt it would be prudent to see what changes, if any, might be required.

Charge by the minute not the hour

So charges will remain at current levels.  After a few months we will be able to assess the new usage pattern and new, more flexible, charging arrangements could be introduced – possible pay only for the minutes used rather than the mainly current hourly system.  As ever, there will be consultations before any payment charge proposal are introduced.

We have reasonable confidence that once the barriers are installed the level of parking charge evasion will decrease to almost zero and therefore the revenue will increase by between 10% to 30%.  We’ll see.  As we get closer to the launch date we will be sending out more detailed information.

Dominic Raab backs the Heathrow Expansion – the Liberal Democrats will oppose it

Dominic Raab published a piece in last month’s Your Elmbridge outlining the so-called benefits of the Heathrow Expansion.


Read above, or view here on page 20 of 23

As the Liberal Democrat candidate, I find it imperative to respond. A third runway at Heathrow would have a serious negative effect on our community, both during and after construction. The promises are a premature ‘take-off’ and we need to bring the discussion back down to the ground!

Let’s be quite clear at the outset – the case for a third runway at Heathrow has not been made; in fact, the opposite. The national government’s report identifies Gatwick as the better economic choice. Since its release, the figures for Heathrow have been thoroughly dismantled by impartial experts. The government has halved the estimated benefits. Transport for London has tripled the projected costs. On the government’s own figures, the net benefit over 60 years is a mere £6bn.

Have a look at the proposed work.

The runway (red) cuts across the M25 requiring demolition of many homes and businesses and terminates near a nature reserve. The motorway will be rerouted, tunnelling underneath the runway and other major road works will be necessary (blue).

A new Heathrow ‘hub’ (orange) replaces a golf course to the north. The words “amenity to residents” seem to have disappeared from the Raab radar screen! The M25 upheaval will spread across Elmbridge. The knock-on economic costs have not been factored into the decision.

Dominic Raab’s claim that a 54% increase in aircraft traffic will lead to reduced aircraft noise beggars belief! Homes and businesses near Heathrow will need heavy soundproofing, building work better employed constructing new homes. But, for a huge area under new flight paths including Elmbridge, if you want to open your windows, sit on your patio around the barbeque or visit local nature reserves, well it’s ear-defenders for you. The threat to impose fines on the airport for noise infringements won’t benefit the residents and will just be passed on.

More empty promises are made. “No increase in road traffic”! The M25 and interconnecting roads across our community are frequently gridlocked focused around Heathrow junctions. “Air quality will be maintained”! Currently, local air quality frequently breaks health guidelines. A 54% increase in air traffic will make both aspects worse.

The Transport Minister “Suggested that a new rail link connecting Surrey directly to the airport is under consideration”! If this doubly hedged ‘carrot’ happens, a large intermediate transfer hub would appear somewhere in leafy Surrey and a cross-country tract would be converted from nature, farm, housing and business to railway. Shifting the problem does not solve it.

The Heathrow Authority will only meet a small fraction of the cost of the project – billions will come from taxation. But in the time since the start of the decision process, aircraft and communication technologies have been transformed. Do we need this runway at all? With improving seat booking, current passenger capacity would increase by 30%. Superliners that are lighter, quieter and more efficient raise this figure even more, also reducing environmental pollution. Concrete mixer unnecessary! Put your wallet away!

Elmbridge has long been an area of outstanding beauty and tranquillity with its rivers, parks and commons. This is under real threat. It is not too late for us to make our concerns known.

Andrew Davis
andrew-davis.org.uk

New benefits for Elmbridge car parks

Car parking in Elmbridge is amongst the most contentious issues the borough has to deal with. Until now all car parks have been treated in the same manner across Elmbridge regardless of their circumstances.

Now, thanks to an in-depth study, led by Liberal Democrat Councillor Andrew Davis, portfolio holder for Highways and Transport, a more thoughtful approach is being taken to the benefit of car park users and local business.

The study found that all cars parks are not equal.  Some are heavily used and others not, a number even declining in custom.   A major finding indicated that car parks should be treated as an integral part of the local community infrastructure.  This has led to a revised and more sympathetic charging policy to encourage users to spend more time in the area to help local trade. As a result car parks in Ditton, Molesey and Hersham will enjoy free short stay parking on a Saturday to help increase shopping in those areas. In addition all town and village car parks in the borough will be free for the four Saturdays before Christmas for the same reason. The policy will be reviewed after nine months and adjusted as necessary.

For the particular benefit of residents and other users, monthly season tickets, contactless payment facilities and pay-on-exit schemes will be introduced.

It is estimated that the cost for free parking around the year in the nominated car parks will be £14-16,000 for 2017.  This is seen as an acceptable investment to help both Elmbridge residents and traders.

Money has also been agreed for the improved up keep of car parks and to provide temporary arrangements to offset restricted parking while repairs are undertaken in Drewitts Court car park in Walton.

Better Train Service For Elmbridge

Southern CrossrailElmbridge could have twice as many trains running up to London with this new inexpensive change to London Waterloo station.  Look at the video.

This plan was developed by the ETA, the national environmental transport campaigning organisation charity, based in Weybridge, which through its campaigning has changed many ways in which we see the world.

The latest campaign is for a quick and simple alteration to London Waterloo station which will double its capacity and dramatically improve the daily commute for millions. Watch our video and find out more about this exciting campaign.

Slower speeds, safer streets

Damage after crashSurrey’s Conservative Leader, David Hodge, when giving evidence about 20mph speed limits to a House of Commons Select Committee in 2014 said: “The problem is that it is all very well putting in a 20mph limit, but unless somebody is going to enforce it you have wasted a whole lot of money. My view is that I have no intention of wasting public money putting in 20mph limits.”

John Furey, Surrey’s portfolio holder for transport told me that he had no mind to implement 20mph limits because it hindered people’s business and he wanted growth for Surrey.  But this view does not bear scrutiny.

Let’s do a quick calculation.  Most car journeys are under five miles long. They usually begin on a side street, pass along a few main roads and end on a side street.  Let’s assume that the journey is 5 miles long – 4.6 miles on main roads and 0.4 miles on the two sides streets at each end.  Let us also assume that the driver can drive at the maximum speed along the whole journey – hardly likely during the day (even at night either) – no stopping to give way at junctions, no traffic lights, no zebra crossings and no congestion. At 30mph the journey would take ten minutes door-to door.  Given that the maximum speeds in the side streets would be 20mph – the journey in such a case would be 10.4 minutes door-to door. The difference is 24 seconds.  In other words, the journey would take 4% longer.  The longer the journey the proportionally smaller the time difference.  During the middle of the day the difference would be too small to notice.  Yet for the sake of a few seconds lives are lost and injuries greater.

But the 20mph limit on side streets makes a greater difference. Surveys across the country have shown that mothers will cycle if the streets are seen to be safe and, more importantly, they will let their children cycle too.  In general mothers have more influence on their children cycling than fathers.  The greater the switch to cycling the lower the air pollution, the more pleasant the environment, and the healthier the people.

Given that between the ages of 5 and 40 the greatest single cause of death in Britain is being killed by a moving vehicle (whether driving it, being a passenger or being a passerby) it is important to reduce this loss of life.  Enforcing a 20mph speed limit on side streets would be the single most effective way for the police service to protect us.

Currently the cost of 20mph limits is a small 20mph roundel on every other lamppost.

Heathrow

heathrow_3_750Heathrow was a poor locational choice for a new major airport even when it opened in 1944 and replaced Croydon and Hendon airports.  Also the land for this new London Airport was forcibly purchased by the national government under special powers – the Defence of the Realm Act – without compensation to the landowners specifically to avoid public opposition.

A similar approach is happening today.  Notwithstanding, the impact of an enlarged airport on noise, air and ground pollution the proposed airport expansion does not make economic sense.  The assumptions used in the Davies report  – discount rates for investment, payback periods and PFI rates etc could be considered designed to ensure that the recommendation of the report  could only be Heathrow.

If it is considered that south-east England needs extra airport capacity then it should be in the Thames estuary if at all and while such an airport is being built then perhaps Gatwick could be expanded as a less dreadful choice than Heathrow.

At present Heathrow is running at too high a capacity – far higher than other airports. Heathrow should have the number of flights reduced so that it ordinarily runs at 80% capacity.  At such capacity the amount of stacking would be reduced, thus dramatically reducing air pollution and noise (saving fuel too) and also the airport would be able to cope better when the weather is not so favourable.

To do this the national government  – with one year’s notice  – should randomly withdraw six slots (flight movements in or out) a month (a week would be better but more unsettling for the industry).  The reason that withdrawn slots should be randomly chosen is to avoid any possibility that airlines could be seen to affect the choice of slot to be removed.  At the same time four of those slots would be leased by auction for, say, five years to the highest bidder.  The revenue would not go to the airport but to the state.  The revenues could be partly used to either compensate those who lived near the airport before it was built or to develop better landside connections to reduce air pollution from arriving road traffic or both.

Adverts on Roundabouts

Advert-01Are you keen on having advertisements on our roundabouts in Elmbridge because you you see no harm in them? Or are you dead against them because they impoverish our beautiful borough? A number of proposals have already been withdrawn.  You can see what is proposed by clicking on a roundabout near you.

Sainsburys, Portsmouth Road, Cobham2015/1898
Claygate Lane/Kingston By-Pass, Ditton2015/1905
Lynwood Road/Woodfield Road, Ditton2015/1900
Embercourt Road/Hampton Court Way, Ditton2015/1903
Burwood Road/Severn Hills Road, Hersham2015/1894
Queen’s Road/West Grove, Hersham2015/1892
Hurst Road/Sadler’s Ride, Molesey2015/1901
Ashley Road/Stompond Lane, Walton, 2015/1908
Brooklands Road/Parvis Road, Weybridge,  2015/1907
Brooklands Road/Wellington  Way, Weybridge,  2015/1906
Monument Hill /Monument Road, Weybridge2015/1899

Cycling Vs Driving

Are you safer as a driver or as a cyclist?  In other words would you live longer as a cyclist or a motorist?  You might be surprised to find out that cycling is safer than driving.  Although many people think cycling is more dangerous than driving.  Studies show that driver mortality and morbidity is higher than that for cyclists.  Many studies have shown that cyclists live longer than non-cyclists – even when taking into consideration other relevant factors.

In Britain fatalities have been falling for all modes – walking, cycling and driving.  In 2000, there were 30 fatalities per billion kilometres travelled for cyclists, compared to 48 for pedestrians and 3 for cars.

However, because people drive so many more miles than they cycle, the risk per exposure hour is much higher for motorists.  Per hour traveling, driving is twice a dangerous as cycling.  Driving presents almost twice the risk of cycling at 0.47 fatalities per exposure hour against 0.26 fatalities per exposure hour for cycling.  Here’s a table showing risks for a variety of activities:

Modal Danger

See that cycling is more dangerous than airline flying but safer than being in a car.

But the real advantage of cycling is that cyclists are healthier than non-cyclists.  Even after adjustment for other risk factors, including leisure time physical activity, those who do not cycle to work experience a 39% higher mortality rate than those who do.

While the fear of being hit by a car is a really great reason for cyclists to be absolutely defensive “drivers,” it is in fact counterproductive in terms of prolonging your life if you allow it to prevent you from choosing to cycle.

As you can see below cyclists have a greater life expectancy than non-cyclists.

Cycling Expectancy

Further research has shown that school children who cycle to school are more attentive and fair better than those who do not  – this also takes into account other factors, for example, the propensity for the parents of cycling children to be better educated than those who are not.

That is why I think that it is vital that we consider, as when and where we can, facilities for what many people believe is the best form of transport yet invented by humankind.

Bus Service Changes

Bus in Weybridge-01Following the Conservative Surrey administration decision to cut the bus budget, a revised bus timetable has been introduced and will begin on 29 August.

436 Weybridge-Byfleet-Woking

  • Timetable change will reduce frequency from half hourly to generally hourly,
  • Sunday shuttle service between Weybridge Station and Mercedes Benz World will be withdrawn.

451 Weybridge-Addlestone-Chertsey-Staines

  • This service will be withdrawn

459 Kingston-Esher-Hersham-Weybridge-Addlestone-Woodham-Woking

  • This service will be withdrawn

514 Kingston-Ditton-Molesey-Hersham

  • This service will be extended hourly from Hersham to Walton Station, Queens Road and Weybridge. Beyond Weybridge, some journeys will continue direct to Addlestone and some will go to Addlestone via Byfleet and Weybridge Tesco.