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Letter: This Trial Appears to Reveal a Lack of SCC Knowledge and Investigation

Published on: 3 Dec, 2020
Updated on: 3 Dec, 2020

From: Frank Phillipson

In response to: One-Way Trial for Walnut Tree Close Unsupported By Local Lib Dem Councillors

One reason for the Walnut Tree Close/Woodbridge Meadows (WTC/WM) one-way trial was a request by a 160-resident petition for closure of the road to separate the commercial and residential ends.

But there is a significant number of commercial properties along the residential section of the road, not just at one end. Many of these businesses rely on passing trade and were established because of the present access.

WTC/WM may now be classed as a “D” class road (D4003) but the road was opened as a through route in the Sixties to relieve traffic congestion.

The road has been used as such since and not, as implied by SCC, as something more recent. The modern OS 1: 25,000 map shows WTC/WM marked dark orange as a through route, similar to The Chase and Guildford Park Road. Lesser roads are marked yellow or white.

This one-way trial seems to reveal a lack of knowledge resulting from poor investigation and understanding of the situation.

I don’t know how traffic exiting Walnut Tree Close to the gyratory system causes delays on the system itself. The traffic on Walnut Tree Close has to queue and wait their turn to enter the system.

The trial itself will now force former southbound vehicles on Walnut Tree Close, including HGVs, to have to gain access via the gyratory system.

SCC has suggested traffic using WTC/WM has increased since 2016. I would suggest it is no greater than any increase in traffic generally. Where are the traffic counts to prove otherwise? The restriction caused by the trial will simply force traffic to use other routes and especially Woodbridge Road, causing congestion, inconvenience and danger elsewhere.

In any significant planning application, SCC would require a developer to provide a traffic impact study. SCC has intimated if there are problems, they will reverse them, which indicates no such study has been done.

Why does there need to be a physical trial, with all the trouble it may cause, when a study using data of vehicle patterns and volume could model the situation?

A trial at a time of unusually low traffic is totally invalid and acting on any such results in the future that affect businesses could possibly be legally challenged for loss of trade.

SCC say they want the trial now before there are multiple highway improvement schemes made across Guildford town centre. If so, there is all the more reason to postpone the trial (if there needs to be one) until after these have been completed to accurately gauge the effects of a trial.

The congestion caused at the Walnut Tree Close junction with the gyratory system might possibly be addressed by providing traffic signals on the Walnut Tree Close exit linked to the signals on the Farnham Road and gyratory system sets of signals.

At Woodbridge Meadows junction with Woodbridge Road, congestion could be lessened by possibly providing traffic signals linked to the sets of signals westbound on Woodbridge Road and central reservation U-turn just west of the bridge over the Wey.

An alternative might be introducing a short delay with both signals being on red at each of these sets to allow a brief window for vehicles to exit the roads.

As an alternative to this trial, the situation might be improved less radically by installing speed tables/speed cushions on the residential section of Walnut Tree Close, from No.173 in the north, to Gateway House in the south, thus making it generally safer by reducing vehicle speeds and less attractive as a through route.

A further disincentive to traffic using the route might be to stop the central reservation crossing opposite the Woodbridge Meadows junction on to Woodbridge Road, making all traffic turn left only and go around the Dennis roundabout to travel eastwards along Woodbridge Road.

The existing junction arrangement leads to conflicting traffic movements because vehicles turning right accelerate to reach the central reservation where there is limited room for vehicles to wait, sometimes resulting in cars blocking the westbound traffic.

These suggestions to improve safety maintain the present access to properties and businesses rather than closing off the road in one direction.

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test 2 Responses to Letter: This Trial Appears to Reveal a Lack of SCC Knowledge and Investigation

  1. Frank Emery Reply

    December 4, 2020 at 4:52 pm

    What a great solution to a ridiculous problem caused by the council’s inability to see the bigger picture. They should have conducted proper risk assessments and validation of data before commencing this idiotic scheme.

  2. A J Calladine Reply

    December 5, 2020 at 6:16 pm

    Frank Emery’s comment on the Walnut Tree Close Scheme is typical of the many responses given when councils look to change the status quo. How does he know the council have not carried out a risk assessment, and what is the bigger picture he claims to talk about?

    This scheme is also in response not just to a desire from local residents to live in a quieter and safer place, but to also encourage local people to leave their car at home and use bicycles to access both the station and Guildford town centre.

    The clue is in the name “trial”. If it doesn’t achieve its objective it will revert back. With climate change being the biggest challenge ever to face the human race, carrying on before is not sustainable and the status quo must go.

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