Fringe Box



Letter: My Response to Niels Laub’s Letter on the London Road Scheme

Published on: 3 Oct, 2023
Updated on: 3 Oct, 2023

From: Matt Furniss

Conservative county councillor for Shalford division

In response to: Some Concerns About the London Road Active Travel Scheme

I would like to thank all of the stakeholders and residents for their time and input into the scheme so far, which I believe is an improvement on the original proposal.

Under the current proposal, SCC are proposing night works only with no road closures or traffic lights along the London Road during the day. There will be some night time closures, while still allowing access for residents. Works if agreed would take place during school holidays.

I urge all residents and readers to view the videos and information available online at:

Or at one of the drop-in sessions on the following dates:

  • Wednesday, October 4 Burpham Church, New Inn Lane 6.30pm to 9pm
  • Saturday, October 14 Guildford High School, London Road 10am to 2pm
  • Wednesday, November 8 Guildford High School, London Road 6.30pm to 9pm

Residents’ and readers’ views are important to us, and their input would be greatly appreciated.

Surrey County Council (SCC) is proposing this scheme which aims to improve safety to a key walking and cycling route in Guildford and contribute towards the council’s strategic objective to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Responses to the Niels Laub’s letter. The paragraph numbers below correspond to the numbers in his letter.

1. We acknowledge that road space is challenged in front of Guildford High School for Girls and that is why we propose to install a shared use path in the frontage of the school for use by less experienced cyclists.

This will be combined with traffic calming and reduction of the speed limit to 20mph on the adjacent carriageway so it can be safely used by experienced cyclists. Signalised crossing facilities have been provided at each end of the shared use path to facilitate its use.

Therefore, it is not the case that all cyclists are required to cross the road onto a shared pavement outside the High School as stated in this letter.

2. The minimum width of shared-use paths being provided outside the Emporia is 1.9m and this is for a distance of 50m on the southbound side and 32.1m on the northbound side of the road. It is noted that Table 6-3 of LTN1/20 recommends a minimum width of 3m for shared-use paths, but this is for shared-use routes carrying up to 300 cyclists/hour.

This is very high compared to the forecast (with intervention) usage level of up to 400 cyclists/day. Furthermore, the width of the shared-use facility we are proposing is equivalent to or wider than the total width of the existing footway plus advisory cycle lane.

6.5.6 of LTN 1/20 recommends that a length of shared use may be acceptable to achieve continuity of a cycle route.

3. There is currently a mandatory cycle lane running parallel to the footway in front of Kingpost Parade. However, the width of the cycle lane is less than 1m and well below the absolute minimum width of 1.5m recommended by LTN1/20 for cycle lanes at constraints.

This is one of the reasons why we are proposing to widen the footway into a shared-use facility with widths of 3m-4.5m.

4. Following representations from disability groups and consultation with SCC’s Passenger Transport Group, we are proposing shared use areas for all the bus stops in the scheme. Therefore, what we are proposing for the Burpham Shops bus stop is not an exception.

Responses to other key issues raised

a. Carriageway Widths

SCC are not proposing to reduce any lane widths to 3.1m as stated in the letter. The table below provides the widths we are proposing over the 1.245km length of the Burpham scheme.

It shows that we are proposing widths in excess of 6.5m for 71% of the length of the scheme with a minimum carriageway width of 6.3m being proposed for 16% of the scheme length. The figures presented within the original letter indicate that 6.3m carriageway width is adequate for HGVs.

b. Separation between cycle paths and the carriageway

While LTN1/20 recommends a minimum 0.5 metres separation between cycle paths and the carriageway in a 30mph urban zone (refer to Table 6-1 on page 54). It also recommends an absolute minimum horizontal separation of zero (0) m and our design meets this standard.

c. Absence of bus lay-bys

We only propose to remove the bus lay-by at the Highclere (northbound) bus stop on the approach to the Weylea/Woodruff. This is not expected to have any significant impact on network capacity because there are invariably delays at either the signalled pedestrian crossing or on the approach to the New Inn Lane roundabout or both downstream of the roundabout.

Therefore, if drivers are delayed behind buses while they allow passengers to embark and alight, they will be released into lighter traffic and the overall journey time along the route is likely to be the same or only slightly impacted.

d. Impact of narrow carriageways on the operations of the emergency services

We have discussed the carriageway widths we are proposing with the emergency services and they do not consider it as an issue.

e. Impact of the introduction of 5 additional signalised crossings on traffic congestion

It is proposed to introduce five additional signalised crossings along A3100 London Rd.

However, three of the proposed signalised crossings will be replacing existing uncontrolled crossings and two are on existing or proposed pedestrian desire lines. It is not clear what is wrong with providing a facility that would improve the safety of pedestrians and cyclists including school children, in fact, it will be a significant improvement.

f. The introduction of parallel crossings linking shared-use paths does not meet the required standards

LTN1/20 does not say that parallel crossings shall never be used to link sections of shared-use paths. In fact, Fig 10.38 of LTN1/20 shows a parallel crossing linking shared-use paths at a roundabout in Bournemouth.

In any case, Cycle Embassy of Great Britain does not set the standards for the design of active travel schemes.

However, it would be great if Mr Laub can share a copy of the particular Cycle Embassy of Great Britain standard he is referring to or provide us with a link to the document.

g. Long stretches of the cycle paths are only 1.4 metres wide

The cycle tracks we are proposing will have a minimum width of 1.5m, which is the absolute minimum recommended by LTN1/20.

h. The majority of the new cycle paths are designed to minimum standards, or even less than minimum standards, rather than optimum standards.

There is nothing wrong with designing new cycle paths to recommended minimum standards.

i. The introduction of a Dutch-style roundabout at Boxgrove Roundabout will have a significant impact on traffic at a busy junction.

We are still in the process of finalising the modelling for the Boxgrove roundabout scheme and will share the report as soon as it is ready. It is therefore not clear what SCC modelling the author is referring to as no information about modelling of the current proposal has been published.

j. In order to introduce cycle paths beside Stoke Park they have removed approximately 180 metres of parking which equates to approximately 30 parking bays.

We propose to reduce the number of parking spaces beside Stoke Park from the current 57 (in 4 zones) to 48. This equates to a reduction in parking bay length of 45m and not 180m as quoted incorrectly in the original letter. The results of parking surveys we have undertaken also indicate that there is adequate excess parking spaces available in the immediate vicinity to accommodate any parking displaced from the parking
spaces beside Stoke Park.

k. Bus stops generally have not been designed in accordance with LTN 1/20

Our initial designs included four bus stop bypasses (floating bus stops) which meet the LTN1/20 standard referred to above with shared-use bus stops being provided at the remaining bus stops owing to highway constraints.

For the shared-use bus stops, cyclists are directed to the rear of the bus shelters while pedestrians/ bus passengers are directed to the front of the bus shelter. However, following representation from disability groups, we have replaced the four bus stop bypasses with shared-use bus stops.

l. The introduction of a section of “cycle street” immediately outside the High School is not consistent with the concept of “quiet mixed traffic streets” as described in Chapter 7 in the LTN 1/20.

7.1.1 of LTN 1/20 states inter alia that “most people, especially with younger children, will not feel comfortable on carriageways with more than 2,500 vehicles per day and with speeds of more than 20mph.

These values should be regarded as desirable upper limits for inclusive cycling within the carriageway.”

Figure 4.1 of LTN1/20 also indicates that mixed traffic on a 20mph road with a motor traffic flow of approximately 2000 pcu/24hr is suitable for most people.

It is for the above reasons that we are proposing:

  • a mixed traffic street with speed limit reduced to 20mph and targeted at experienced and confident cyclists and
  • a shared-use facility for less experienced cyclists such as younger children and adults accompanying them. Signalised crossing facilities have also been provided at both ends of the mixed street to assist cyclists seeking to switch between the shared-use facility and the segregated facility on both sides of the road.

m. These proposals for Active Travel should attempt to improve matters for road users by making it safer for cyclists and pedestrians.

In reality, because there is insufficient space, the proposals are likely to make it more hazardous for cyclists and pedestrians and are likely to increase traffic congestion and air pollution in the area.

Our proposals will be subjected to the appropriate levels of road safety audit at the various stages and this will highlight problems which could potentially pose a hazard to cyclists and pedestrians and also make recommendations for mitigating them.

We are also in the process of finalising the traffic modelling for the scheme and the results would give us an indication of the potential impacts of network capacity. We will share the modelling results with stakeholders when they are ready in the next few weeks.

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Responses to Letter: My Response to Niels Laub’s Letter on the London Road Scheme

  1. Niels Laub Reply

    October 11, 2023 at 8:15 am

    At the Emporia, the width of the road including pavements, is 10 metres. I have checked this with a laser measuring device. If, as Cllr Furniss says, the shared pavements on either side are 1.9 metres, it follows that the carriageways in each direction can only be 3.1 metres. This means that HGVs and buses travelling in opposite directions will be separated by only 150 mm which is clearly very unsafe.

    According to Table 6-3 of LTN1/20 [Department of Transport’s Cycle Infrastructure Design], the minimum width of shared pavements should be three metres and, according to Table 5-3, because they are next to walls exceeding 600 in height, this should be increased to 3.5 metres.

    I would therefore suggest that 1.9 metre shared pavements are not compliant and are unsafe. According to the drawings, these shared pavements extend for 100 metres northbound and 120 metres southbound which is double the length you suggest.

    Table 6-1 on page 54 recommends a minimum 500 mm separation between cycle paths and carriageways in a 30mph urban zone. No such separation has been provided anywhere throughout this scheme.

    This is a highly significant safety issue, particularly bearing in mind the restricted carriageway widths. The Highway Code suggests a minimum overtaking gap of 1.5 metres between a vehicle and a cyclist which is unachievable with these proposals.

    It is disappointing that such an important scheme has been designed to absolute minimum standards rather than optimum or even recommended standards. These proposals for Active Travel should be attempting to improve matters for all road users by making it safer for cyclists and pedestrians.

    However, because there is insufficient space, the proposals are likely to make it more hazardous for all road users including cyclists and pedestrians and are likely to increase traffic congestion and air pollution in the area.

    Traffic accidents

    According to BBC News, the only other Dutch-style roundabout in Cambridge has seen an increase in accidents since its installation. There have been ten collisions since the roundabout opened in 2020, three of them serious, compared to six minor incidents 2017-2019. The ten collisions included eight involving cyclists, and the other two involved a pedestrian and a driver respectively.

    Traffic modelling

    Regarding traffic modelling at the Dutch-style roundabout, I was referring to the conclusions of SCC’s own traffic modelling which states that “the Dutch-style roundabout created poor performance on all arms. With an 11 per cent decrease in overall capacity, queue lengths and delay times increased to unsuitable levels. A 260.1 second delay was anticipated as the longest queue”. Surrey County Council are still refusing to release the data.

    Cycle Embassy for Great Britain

    Regarding the parallel crossings at New Inn Lane and Woodruff Avenue, The Cycle Embassy for Great Britain states that parallel crossings should never be used to link sections of shared pavement. Please refer to

    • Bethan Moore Reply

      October 13, 2023 at 10:37 am

      I would ask others to please stop using feigned concerns about safety to attempt to block this scheme.

      Some elements could be better if the whole road was being built from scratch. But it’s not being built from scratch. Every element of the scheme is by some degree an improvement for pedestrians and cyclists compared to what we have now and what we would be left with. Roads are for people and the most vulnerable of those people should come first.

      • Roy Darkin Reply

        October 20, 2023 at 10:57 am

        They are genuine concerns. I am dead against the proposed Dutch roundabout as making it more dangerous than it already is. Also banning the right hand turn into York Road will cause chaos.

  2. J Dickinson Reply

    October 21, 2023 at 11:04 am

    As Niels Laub is worried about the width of the vehicle lanes of this scheme, perhaps some camera-enforced additional constraints are needed to ease his concerns?

    At the specific times when there are many more vulnerable road users around, travelling to the schools and the leisure centre, let’s ask for evidence of the local need for heavy, wide vehicles to be able to travel freely.

    There is plenty of evidence why they shouldn’t be in the mix

    Consumer pressure from families could help explain why the area’s high-spending residents would prefer that HGVs and trucks choose to avoid the peak hours. Supermarkets tend to schedule deliveries when their stores aren’t busy and, in any case, the local ones have alternative routes.

    The scheduled bus services could be swapped to demand responsive versions as commissioning is in Surrey County Council’s gift. Can Niels/the lobby group please provide a list of the local businesses that want to keep their large trucks on these roads?

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