Purpose of the report: Performance Management
Following a road traffic collision on 20 February 2016 that led to the deaths of two pedestrians on Bridge Street in Guildford, a petition was submitted to the council on 17 May 2016 to improve road safety on Bridge Street. It was resolved by the council that this issue and proposals should be scrutinised by the Economic Prosperity, Environment and Highways Board.
Duncan Knox, Road Safety Team Manager
George Bowen, Petitioner
Cllr Keith Taylor, Guildford Local Committee Chairman
Cllr Matt Furniss, Vice Chair of Guildford Local Committee and Deputy Leader of Guildford Borough Council
Cllr Mark Brett- Warburton, Guildford Local Member
Paul Millin, Travel and Transport Group Manager
Jason Russell, Assistant Director for Highways
Key points raised during the discussion:
1. The Chairman informed the Board the item on Bridge Street, Guildford was referred from the Full County Council after a petition with more than 11,000 signatures was received. The Economic Prosperity, Environment and Highways Board were chosen as the most appropriate Board to discuss matters of road safety. Further to this the Chairman advised the Board that discussions should stay within the remit of road safety, other issues that did not relate to road safety were the concern of the Local Committee.
2. The Road Safety Team Manager provided an introduction to the report outlining that in the event of a collision/accident; this would be recorded on collision maps which would help identify hot spots, showing how some locations have greater collision/accident rates than others. As a result, a clear pattern was recognised that Onslow Street was an area of concern that required investigation.
3. Before commenting on the report, the petitioner George Bowen explained to the Board that his purpose was to represent the views of those who signed the petition, the families of the victims and the general public. In representing these views the petitioner commented on the report outlining that a number of issues had not been addressed to the fullest extent and certain recommendations had not been considered. The Petitioner stated that he was excited about the pedestrianisation of Bridge Street but did not think the idea that accidents will only occur at the crossing between Bridge Street and Onslow Street was correct.
4. The Guildford Local Committee Chairman offered his condolences to the families of the victims. The Local Committee Chairman showed extended support to the Road Safety Team Manager’s report, giving assurance that work around Bridge Street will be given priority by the local committee. The Board was also informed of seven LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) schemes in place with a budget of around £9 million to make Bridge Street safer.
5. In light of the report the Vice Chair of Guildford Local Committee shared support and referred to the £2.6 million LEP money in place to make improvements to Walnut Tree Bridge which would reconfigure traffic around Bridge Street and improve pedestrian safety. It was stated that a phasing approach would be undertaken when work started, focusing on the impacts to traffic movements around the town centre.
6. Members of the Board were encouraged by the report, expressing positive feedback, in particular to the conversion of the one way system to a two way traffic flow. Several Members commented on the junction with Bridge Street stating that it was confusing working out the correct lane to merge into when approaching Bridge Street.
7. The Chairman of the Board asked for clarity upon how the system will operate when access to Bridge Street would be converted to buses only. Officers informed the Board that at present a bus study is being conducted to explore the idea and results will be circulated back to the Board in due course.
8. The Board sought reassurances around the financial aspect from the Enterprise M3 bid, especially in terms of when funding can be expected. Officers explained that the first review will take place in September, and the project itself is a lengthy process that requires input from legal and finance which is expected to be concluded by the end of the year.
9. Councillor Mark Brett-Warburton expressed enthusiasm and support towards the Enterprise M3 scheme however more work needed to be done to change the attitudes of drivers and pedestrians.
10. Members voiced some concern around the complexity and lengthiness of the Enterprise M3 scheme and stressed the need for work to be done urgently. It was also put forward that temporary solutions should be sought until the funding for the LEP scheme was secured.
11. The Chairman of the Board suggested that signage promoting the pedestrian route through Walnut Tree Bridge to the town centre was essential.
12. Some members of the Board asked for the item to be reconsidered by the board in a year’s time.
13. A report will be submitted to full council for 12 July 2016.
The EPEH Board endorsed and agreed the following recommendations,