Grotto Road junction – Weybridge

The Grotto Road, Thames Street junction in Weybridge is notorious for road danger – the pedestrian risk and traffic around school times is horrendous. What makes it really dangerous is that there is no footpath by the fence in Grotto Road. Many primary age children walk by themselves or with their parents either alongside the fence in the traffic or have to cross Grotto Road twice to get to school.

So, what can be done about it?

Cllr Andrew Davis lobbied Surrey county to build a path – with an estimated cost somewhere between £20,000 to £60,000 but Surrey hasn’t the money. However, Weybridge has. Weybridge councillors have £500,000 to spend on such projects. All okay then? Well, actually . . . No!

Here is the bizarre thing. Any such project has to have a feasibility study, but Weybridge’s £500,000 may not be spent on such studies. And Surrey cannot even afford the study to demonstrate the cost effectiveness and benefit of the project!

Fortunately, Cllr Davis has managed to get Surrey to consider making a bid to Weybridge councillors to pay for the project, based on the upper estimate of £60,000, if the project is shown to have a good level of local support.

The Weybridge Liberal Democrat team have set up a survey to canvass support from local people who are concerned about the danger of this junction.

Weybridge residents, find out more and add your support here and watch this space for updates.

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.

Cycling Strategy comes to Weybridge

CyclistThe Weybridge cycling campaign welcomes the move to set Weybridge as the town in Elmbridge to begin the new cycling strategy.  This five year strategy looks to the present and future needs of the town in planning new facilities for cyclists.  The main trust will be to plan for a network of safe cycling routes between Weybridge and its neighbours (Shepperton, Walton, Hersham, Cobham, Byfleet, Woodham and Addlestone) especially in relation to the main locations in Weybridge: the riverside, town centre, Heathside School/Brooklands College (along with the primary schools), station, Brooklands offices and out-of-town shopping.

The aim is for safe cycling between all of these locations.  Our aim is to catch up with the Netherlands.  They began a while ago but look at this video to see how they managed the change.

Morrison’s Monday Mayhem – Avoided?

Proposed view of Morrisons Small

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Update.  As I said below we had to wait until the new year to find out how the traffic moved around the new store.  I have not seen any glitches in the traffic but I know that some people have found small hiccups on school days turning right into Thames Street. Also I have never seen the store car park full – the lowest being seven place left.

An exciting day on Monday as our illustrious mayor opens the new Weybridge Morrisons.

Not only is the store new but it is a flagship store and that means people will come to see the new features that no other Morrison store has.  I can smell the bakery from where I live.

Morrisons says that the first two weeks of a store opening draws many more people than usual so they will have extra staff in place to protect the car park from over filling.  These staff are intended to stay fro two weeks but if the problems persist then the staff will be kept on until the pressure dies down.

As the opening comes just before Christmas the extra traffic could last through Christmas and the sales into January.  By January we should see the normal flow.

It will be interesting to see where these extra cars will go. Contact me here if you have a problem.