Blackspots in Weybridge

ACCIDENTS WAITING TO HAPPEN ON OUR ROADS

Many Weybridge residents are acutely aware of the traffic dangers in their neighbourhoods and on the roads they use as they go about their lives. Five local ‘black spots’ have been brought to our attention recently: Grenside Road (behind Thames Street), the junction by the station (again), Mayfield Road, Princes Road and Pine Grove and now Minorca Road.  All for different reasons, but each an example of why we need action to make our roads safer for all users.  In all cases Surrey County Council have a role to play in bringing about improvements.  Do you know of other roads where the risk of an accident is greater than average?

To let us know – email vicki.macleod@elmbridgelibdems.org.uk

In this article, we are highlighting the problems for residents of Grenside Road.

In Grenside Road the problem has been caused by a ‘kiss and drop’ policy for pupils at St George’s Junior School. In its efforts to encourage safety on Thames Street, the school has opened a back entrance to the school.  This now means that parents drive in to Grenside Road and park on the pavements. This has not solved the safety problem, it has simply transferred it to Grenside, where it is felt acutely by the residents who are lobbying Surrey to improve safety. They have been supported in this by Portmore Park and District Residents Association and the Lib Dems.

The local Surrey councillor has referred the matter to SCC Highways, but nothing has happened yet, despite the safety issues.

Dangers include: risk of a collision when exiting garages in the morning due to poor visibility, risk to young children going in to and leaving the school who are hidden by the bonnets of parental SUVs; risk to local pedestrians – especially those in buggies or with prams –  who are prevented from using their pavements because they are blocked by parked parents dropping off their children. The parking here is so intense at school drop off and collect time that people have been known to park on the grass between pavement and gardens.

Despite efforts of local Elmbridge Councillors and strong lobbying by Lib Dem Cllr Andrew Davis to have Grenside Road included in SCC’s Strategic Review of parking in Weybridge, SCC refused to budge from their original view and Grenside was excluded from consideration.

Possible solutions

Local resident Sarah Groves has written to her SCC councillor saying; “Local residents feel that this road has been completely ignored . . .. Since the Junior School’s ‘Kiss and Drop’ system was put in place there has been an increase in the volume of traffic on Grenside – parents are now approaching the School via Grenside from Grotto Road and from Thames Street via Convent Lane and then onto Grenside, this at peak times causes chaos especially when there is nowhere to turn safely –  Grenside Road is effectively a cul-de-sac.  The whole fabric of the road and pavements has deteriorated due to the high volume of traffic with vehicles turning and reversing onto pavements – churning the surface up with their SUV’s.”

She adds: “There is no traffic management system in place i.e. parking restrictions, speed limit signs, nor in fact the triangular signs showing children crossing; and the rear entrance/exit of the school has no clear yellow zigzags, that are outside every other school where children enter and leave.”

Local Lib Dem Vicki Macleod says “We were stunned that Surrey did not include Grenside Road in the strategic review of parking: it is a prime example of where a small intervention could have a big and positive impact on safety. We will continue to suport local residents in their quest to make Grenside safe for children and residents.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Surrey urged to fund 20 mph limits

20mphFor a background on why 20mph is so important see here.

The Surrey Liberal Democrats are calling on the Surrey administration to provide the necessary funding to implement 20 mph speed limits outside Surrey schools where requested by the school and the local community.

Introducing a 20mph limit on all our streets is probably the most important way of improving our health and quality of life.  Even more cost effective than spending more on NHS England!  The reason is simple.  If speeds on the streets are less than 20mph cycling and walking increases and as more people cycle and walk their life expectancy improves by six years on average.  Not only do people live longer but their quality of life improvise too.  All this can be done by a simple change in the speed limit law.

It is of upmost importance that children are safe going to and from school and 20 mph speed limits outside schools help to achieve this by reducing traffic speeds and improving road safety.  A reduced speed limit warns drivers that they need to slow down near a school and in general drivers do slow down.

In Mole Valley, Surrey introduced three trial 20 mph advisory limits outside schools and following the trial the 20 mph advisory limits were made permanent.  However, whilst making these trial 20 mph limits permanent, Surrey also decided not to roll-out the trial to cover the roads outside other schools in the district.

Baker Street Plans

As part of the planning conditions, Morrison has to pay for traffic calming in Baker Street.  The draft plans are below and have been sent to Surrey’s transportation development planning team to agree as a condition of the planning permission.  What do you think?

Baker Street Traffic Calming

 

 

 

 

You can open up a larger map here: Draft Baker Street Scheme-01

Baker Street Traffic

Baker Street websiteNow that the associated roadworks for Morrison’s development are largely complete traffic should reduce along Baker Street.  These are the “developer’s” draft proposals for Baker Street.  The scheme is currently with Surrey’s Transportation Development Planning Team to agree as a condition of the planning permission.  There might be an option for a 20mph limit (or 20mph zone).

Just when the vanguard countries like Denmark and the Netherlands are removing road humps – Surrey is still putting them in place.  Just make sure the humps are not near your house!!  Ask the people of Portmore Park Road, Thames Street and Walton Lane.

The Weybridge Plane Tree

The London plane at the junction of Monument Road and Monument Hill – the local landmark fast becoming an icon in the development debate – is potentially threatened by the Morrisons planning application for a new store in Weybridge.  Many options, including mine of using shared space, have been considered but at an early stage discussions between Surrey and Morrisons ruled out the inclusion of raised crossings and shared space, due to the function of Monument Hill as an A road as it says in a recent report.

This is lazy.  There are already “A” roads in Britain with shared space – indeed there are already primary routes with shared space. (Primary routes are strategically more important than “A” roads).  There are also roads with shared space that have greater flow of traffic than Monument Hill.

If we cannot get a shared space solution with lower speed limits or a “four stop” stop solution there will have to be a roundabout.  A roundabout will almost certainly lead to the felling of the Weybridge plane tree.

We need to have an open mind in this debate and consider as many options as possible.

Cycling

A number of people gave positive feedback about my piece on traffic in the most recent Focus – but what about cycling said some.

I could not agree more.  In my day job I not only provide, what I believe to be, the country’s best cycle insurance policy but I have campaigned for over twenty years for better cycling provision.  Not just for recreational cycling the like of which Sustrans provide so well, but for day to day cycling in our towns and cities.  We all know that encouraging cycling is good for people’s health and for the environment but even for people who do not take up cycling it reduces congestion.

In these hard pressed times investing providing safer routes for cyclists is probably one of the most cost effective use of government spending.

You can find out more here.

20mph limits – Surrey says no!

There is a good reason why we should introduce 20mph limits for urban streets and rural lanes – it makes travel very much safer and, counter intuitively, increases traffic flow at times of congestion.

At speeds below 20mph people can recognize the intentions of others by their facial expression – beyond around 22mph this is no longer possible.  That it why at higher speeds we need traffic signals, signs and indicators etc.

Unfortunately Surrey has voted against promoting such proposals.