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Residents Seek Urgent Action to Make York Road Crossing Safe

Published on: 3 Jul, 2016
Updated on: 3 Jul, 2016

By Will Parsons

Urgent action to improve a pedestrian crossing, on York Road by Waitrose, is being demanded by residents who consider the crossing dangerous.

The new traffic lights are causing confusion for some drivers, especially those exiting the Waitrose car park. Residents fear that driver uncertainty could lead to an accident.

As can be seen in the video clip, motorists exiting right are confused by signals directed at other lanes of traffic.

Some drivers have been observed running a red light while the green man was showing, and this kind of behaviour, perhaps caused by confusion, is causing local concern among nearby residents, especially as the crossing is used by many primary school children.

Local father Calum Shaw has set up a petition to pressure the Surrey County Council (SCC) to address the problem.

Local father ... Shaw has raised a petition following local concerns over pedestrian crossing by Waitrose car park exit.

Local father Calum Shaw has raised a petition following local concerns over pedestrian crossing by Waitrose car park exit.

Mr Shaw first organised the petition after seeing cars making mistakes when he was walking his daughter to school.

Having later read on Facebook about three local mums who had near-misses on the crossing he wrote: “I knew that various people had contacted GBC [Guildford Borough Council] and SCC, the Surrey Police and Waitrose, but nothing was really happening.”

Borough councillor Caroline Reeves (Lib Dem, Friary & St Nicolas) and county councillor David Goodwin, (Lib Dem, Guildford South West) both advised Calum that the next step was a petition: “So one evening I just set it up, and after that, the campaign ran itself.”

The petition, which closed on June 12, was signed by 114 people and was discussed at the joint SCC/GBC Guildford Local Committee meeting on the June 22.

The petition suggested increasing pedestrian safety by adding a right turn filter light opposite Waitrose or adding a sensor on the pedestrian crossing to increase crossing time, currently, at only four or five seconds, considered by users to be too short.

Although the council representatives ruled out both proposed measures at the meeting, it was stressed that they were working with Waitrose to make the junction safer.

However, while certain trial measures were previously introduced, Calum Shaw wrote: “As far as I can see, there have been no changes in the last month and a half.”

A motorist who regularly uses York Road, but who did not wish to be named, said, “Initially, as you pulled out from Waitrose car park to turn right you waited for a green light and immediately after you turned you met a red light. That was very confusing and dangerous.

“This has now supposedly been ‘remedied’ by a sack being put over one of the lights. Surely, considering the thousands that must have been spent on the new traffic system, motorists could expect and deserve more than this?”

John Hilder, a highways manager at Surrey County Council, said in an email on Friday, July 1, that council officers are considering proposals made at the committee meeting, and also working on a response to Calum Shaw’s petition.

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Responses to Residents Seek Urgent Action to Make York Road Crossing Safe

  1. Sally Parrott Reply

    July 3, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    Whoever made the decision to discontinue the use of the pedestrian tunnels in York Road and by Debenhams made a grave error.

    Perhaps pedestrians felt unsafe using them? If so, the cost of having both tunnels manned to ensure safety would be be far less than the cost of fuel as cars queue at street level, not to mention the health damage resulting from the foul air breathed in and around those queuing cars.

    • Jackie Kay Reply

      July 6, 2016 at 10:12 pm

      The tunnels were filled in as there was road widening required for the fliter lanes in and out of Waitrose car parks.

      I hope the pedestrian tunnel at York Road/Woodbridge road is maintained as I find it safer to walk down there to cross the road.

  2. Alan Cooper Reply

    July 3, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    I have spoken with the Highways Department and the Surrey Road Policing Unit.

    When exiting Waitrose and turning right into York Road, the pedestrian lights are red for pedestrians waiting to cross. motorists need to know that the the primary light which under The Road Traffic Act 1988 is the one that must be obeyed for York Road, it is actually to their left, where other traffic will be stationary.

    The secondary ones are by the crossing should be ignored. That is why a long lens cover was placed over this light and now an orange cover.

    • Calum Shaw Reply

      July 3, 2016 at 9:17 pm

      It’s true that it is often driver error, but it’s not possible to re-educate all the drivers. There are several possible changes that will help to make it clearer to drivers. Hopefully SCC will try some of them out soon.

  3. Jim Allen Reply

    July 3, 2016 at 6:24 pm

    What ever else please don’t ask Surrey Highways or GBC to ‘solve the problem’. They simple have dogmatic unrealistic ideas which will simply result in chaos e.g: Bus lanes in congested areas; badly timed pedestrian crossing; dangerous traffic islands, All these before the York Road fiasco.

    Originally they were going to put the pedestrian crossing below the lights meaning school children would have had to cross four roads on the way to school not just two.

    Why did they remove the tunnels? Only a fool could accept the explanation put forward to close them.

  4. John Lomas Reply

    July 4, 2016 at 8:25 am

    The secondary light on the left-hand-side requires vertical shutters so that it can’t be seen by emerging vehicles.

  5. David Raison Reply

    July 4, 2016 at 10:37 am

    GBC seems to be developing a policy of removing pedestrian underpasses. First Debenhams and now York Road.

    The underpasses are an extremely safe means of crossing busy roads and have the added benefit of not disrupting the traffic flow. One has only to see the havoc caused by the two sets of pedestrian lights by the Burpham Sainsbury to realise the benefits of underpasses.

    Highways policy is the responsibility of Surrey County Council not Guildford Borough Council (GBC). It has previously been reported that they do have a policy of replacing underpasses with other forms of crossings. Ed

  6. Dave Middleton Reply

    July 4, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    How about this for an easy fix?

    Make it a left turn only for traffic coming out of Waitrose’s car park, feeding it down to the roundabout and back up York Rd.

    Problem solved.

  7. David Smith Reply

    July 4, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    Can I invite people to use the sub way at the bottom of York Road. It stinks of urine, leaks and is quite threatening late in the evening. The same is true of the subway near bar “33HZ” [Park Street].

    Can Waitrose not try and educate drivers with a flyer at the tills for a couple of months?

    • Jim Allen Reply

      July 6, 2016 at 7:27 am

      I have often used this subway over the past ten years and never once has it smelt of urine. Dave Smith must have caught it on a bad day.

      As for flyers – waste of time. Drivers simply have too much information to adsorb while driving: the phone, the sat nav, the reversing TV, the speedo, the rev counter, never mind actually looking at the road.

      If ever there was more need for a personal navigator in the passenger seat for driving through Surrey it’s now.

  8. C Carroll Reply

    July 4, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    I have tried to cross here, it’s very dangerous.

    The simple solution is to ban all traffic leaving Waitrose from turning right. If all traffic turned left and simply used the roundabout at the bottom of York Road (a mere 100 metres away) this would solve the problem, and only cost a bit of road paint.

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