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Letter: We Should Not Give Up on the London Road Scheme

Published on: 25 Feb, 2024
Updated on: 25 Feb, 2024

From: Bibhas Neogi

In response to: Two-thirds of London Road Cycle Scheme Deferred or Cancelled

Map showing sections of the London Road scheme. Apple maps

The London Road improvement scheme has been divided into three sections.

Section 1 is between New Inn Lane and Boxgrove roundabouts, Section 2 is the Boxgrove roundabout itself and Section 3 is the remainder down to York Road junction.

In my view, Section 1 design needs to explore the possibility of stopping southbound traffic going to the town centre. Such a measure would only allow a single lane of northbound traffic preferably limited to 20mph.

Freed-up road space could then be used for generous widths of cycle lanes and footways. This would enhance safety a great deal for cyclists and pedestrians.

Of course, stopping southbound through traffic on London Road could only be done if there were an alternative access to the town centre. I have outlined a possible option of creating a southbound on-slip to the A3 at Clay Lane. It is described in more detail here.

I hope SCC would explore the idea and, if deemed viable, would liaise with National Highways and seek their agreement. My earlier comments on the article ‘Don’t Bow to Naysayers’ Say Cycling Campaigners describe other aspects of this solution.

As for Section 2 – Boxgrove roundabout, the modifications along a Dutch-style roundabout (that incorporates a circular cycle lane inside the roundabout), it appears that if recommendations are approved by county councillors on February 27, its construction is likely to proceed.

There have been a lot of discussions about the safety of a Dutch-style design for Boxgrove roundabout here in The Dragon and concern about increased accidents that have occurred in Cambridge where such a roundabout has been constructed. This roundabout is very busy during peak periods and I hope SCC has thoroughly examined the safety aspects before proceeding to undertake its construction.

In order to enhance safety, a modification would be to create a grade-separated design where the circular cycle lane is about 2.5m below the level of the roundabout and it passes under the road lanes that are mostly short straight lengths. This should ensure total safety for cyclists and encourage greater take up on Active travel. The sketch below shows this.

A modified Dutch-style roundabout where the cycle lane passes under the roads.

It would cost a bit more but the advantages should outweigh the cost of dealing with accidents, severe injuries and even possible fatalities.

Section 3 is between Boxgrove Roundabout and York Road junction. It has relatively fewer issues and has northbound cycle lane partly going through Stoke Park. However, as reported, SCC is likely to defer this part also.

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Responses to Letter: We Should Not Give Up on the London Road Scheme

  1. Dave Middleton Reply

    February 25, 2024 at 2:01 pm

    So, the author proposes that, once the new slip road from Clay Lane onto the A3 Guildford bound is built (probably costing millions of pounds), people living in Burpham and seeking, say to go to G-Live, should join the A3, come off at Stoke Cross and then fiddle their way from there, to G-Live either via Stoke Road and Nightingale Road, or by going along the Parkway to rejoin the London Road at Boxgrove roundabout?

    Absolutely preposterous!

    • Bibhas Neogi Reply

      February 25, 2024 at 7:16 pm

      My proposal is to convert the existing emergency access road beside Clay Lane Bridge into a slip road. Some overlaying may be required but no roadworks would be necessary for the A3. The conversion would require a few signs and road markings. So it should not cost millions.

      Access to southbound A3 has many advantages for those going further south or to the University, to the hospital, to the centre of Guildford, to Ladymead Business Park and to the A320 towards Woking.

      Motorists heading for Boxgrove Roundabout from London Road area north of Abbotswood, would have at the most a couple of miles extra to drive and time wise should be about the same considering the higher speed limits on the A3 and the A25.

      Is it really that bad considering the advantages for many? It makes Active travel attractive and affords much enhanced safety for cyclists of all ages and pedestrians in London Road because of no through southbound traffic?

  2. David Ogilvie Reply

    March 7, 2024 at 1:01 pm

    Local traffic should not be allowed on the A3 trunk road. The fact that it was allowed on the section between the Dennis roundabout and the cathedral exit was a design fault which is a major cause on congestion. Slip roads should be provided to solve the problem.

    • Bibhas Neogi Reply

      March 7, 2024 at 5:02 pm

      The A3 is no longer a trunk road. It has been re-classified as a strategic route.

      The reason for not creating an on-slip at Clay Lane in the initial design was most likely to be the alignment of the A3 here which has a long left-hand curve. Backward visibility is poor for the joining traffic.

      My suggestion is to restrict the A3 to two lanes past the Merrow off-slip with 50-mph limit. It reduces to two lanes shortly afterwards past the Stoke Road off-slip anyway and speed reduced to 50-mph. Reducing speed limit to 50-mph was raised not so long ago as a safety measure on this section. This makes it possible to make the on-slip a lane gain and backward visibility is not a problem then.

      Advantages of creating this on-slip are many. London Road one-way and one lane would free up road space for segregated cycle lanes to be incorporated. It makes Active Travel safer and more attractive and for children cycling to schools.

      Slight disadvantage for motorised traffic is that access to Boxgrove roundabout is about 1.5 miles longer but time wise it shouldn’t be much different especially if 20-mph limit is introduced on London Road. Other advantages are for traffic heading for central Guildford, University, hospital, Ladymead Business Centre and for going further south. Overall advantages greatly outweigh disadvantages for a few.

      I hope SCC would explore the possibilities. I have written to Cllr Furniss about this redesign option.

    • Keith Reeves Reply

      March 7, 2024 at 5:58 pm

      The fault, if it can be called that, is an artefact of the piecemeal development of the highway. The Dennis roundabout is where the “new” A3 met the old Guildford and Godalming bypass. Inevitably south west bound traffic joins the A3 here. Unfortunately we don’t have the luxury of starting from scratch to eliminate the non-ideal junction spacing and issues of limited access etc that the A3 presents in Surrey.

      I suspect Mr Ogilvy doesn’t mean “slip roads” should be provided, rather he is referring to local distributor roads. Examples can be seen adjacent to the M20 north of Maidstone. It sounds like a good idea; however, I assume Mr Ogilvie doesn’t live in one of the properties which would have to be demolished.

  3. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    April 5, 2024 at 6:45 pm

    I have received no response from Cllr Matt Furniss. I hope he finds the proposal worthwhile enough to initiate an examination if he hasn’t already.

    It is often the case that an innovative solution is not considered simply because it is a method that has not been tried before. An example is the bridge over the A3 in Guildford that carries the slip road to Farnham (the A31).

    It was destined to be demolished because of rusting of anchors of steel cables at the ends. The solution was to replace the concrete sections at both ends and use new cables but the rest of the bridge, made up of 2m long box sections, was kept intact by temporary cables fixed on the outside that held it together.

    It took an immense amount of persuasion before the method was explored and eventually found to be the best and the most cost-effective solution. It was even possible to erect a temporary bridge sitting on the deck that allowed a lane of car traffic to be maintained during the works.

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