Highway Grass verges

Grass Verges

Following another Surrey funding crisis.  Surrey has proposed reducing the number of cuts each year from the present  ten  a year down to seven a year.  Elmbridge provides this service on behalf of Surrey and the cabinet had to decide between the following options.

  1. Carry out reduced level of cutting to the revised Surrey client specification (within the level of funding offered by Surrey);
  2. Maintain the existing frequency (which would incur an additional cost to the borough of £3,597 a year for the remainder of the contract, in addition to the funding provided by Surrey);
  3. Increase the frequency to twelve (which would require a growth item in the highway verges budget of £28,534 a year for the remainder of the contract); or
  4. Hand back to Surrey.

The cabinet discussed the four options in respect of the Surreyservices and mindful of the current budget position, agreed that option 2 above should be supported. It was noted that this option would incur an additional cost to the borough of £3,597 a year for the remainder of the contract.

The new administration has still to contend with the appalling state of the grass cutting contract inherited from the previous administration.

Parking Webcast

Andrew Davis Full Council

Prime Minister’s question time it isn’t but nor do we want it to be.  Here I am (from 35m 40s) doing my best to answer questions at Elmbridge’s first full council meeting since the new administration of Liberal Democrats and its coalition allies formed this year.

You’ll see that most questions in this meeting were directed at me as cabinet member for highways and transport.

 

Parking Meeting – 14 July

Oakdale RoadAt a well attended meeting hosted by Weybridge Lib Dems, residents from across Weybridge discussed parking issues in Weybridge generally and specifically the Surrey Council Council proposals for parking in Weybridge for the next three years.

The meeting believed that consultation had not been full enough, that there was an absence of strategic thinking and that the changes made did little to address the overall issues faced by Weybridge residents, workers and businesses.

Several voices at the town meeting called for a more fundamental and strategic review of parking needs and provision in Weybridge and stressed that this must included consideration of increasing off-street parking (an Elmbridge responsibility).

Feedback from discussion groups are reported under the following themed headings below: general, schools, car parks, controlled parking and other.

General

  1. Strategic approach for better movement of traffic and safety for all road users.
  2. Lack of parking for workers is the number one issue.
  3. Parking controls cause displacement and causes workers to park further and further away from the town centre.
  4. There should be incentives for workers not to park in the town.
  5. The controlled parking in the town centre and Portmore Park causing more drivers to park in Grotto Park – particularly Old Palace Road. Making it dangerous for cyclists.  Grass areas now being parked on making the town less pleasant than it could be.
  6. Street privatisation not the answer to displacement parking.

Schools

  1. Schools should be looked at in their own right – specific issues across all. Most school exacerbating other problems.
  2. Accessing additional areas: for example, the field behind St Georges School for drop off and pick up or staff.
  3. St George’s School should be obliged to provide parking and have responsibility for managing drop-off and pick-up.

Car Parks

  1. Park and ride for workers in Weybridge from Brooklands or Runnymede Centre. Use incentives such as a reward card.
  2. Spaces do exist but aren’t accessed.  For example, a Weybridge Hospital are virtually unused at by staff at night and weekends and could be used by residents
  3. Build a multi-storey car park at Churchfields, the hospital or the station with park and ride.
  4. Convert open spaces into car parks: the meadow in Churchfields Avenue or Whittets Ait Green.
  5. Businesses should subsidise workers’ parking in car parks in Weybridge.
  6. Better utilisation of car parks: for example, Churchfields pushes people to park on street. Squeeze more cars in with specific spaces for small cars.  Restrict Churchfields to 2-3 hours which would increase turnover to shops as well.

Controlled Parking

  1. Mark-up up bays to help drivers park more considerately (no charges) just lines to help avoid overhanging other people’s off-street parking.
  2. Limit controlled parking zone to two hours only somewhere between 10am and 4pm.
  3. Limit no parking from 10-11am and 2-3pm to limit all day parking.
  4. Residents’ only parking from 6pm to 8am – overnight.
  5. Oakdale/Elmgrove Road allow two-hour parking for non-residents – 10am to 3pm
  6. Inconsiderate parking near drives and corners.
  7. Offer business user permits for specific streets.
  8. Comprehensive restrictions for residents’ permits – only one per house or flat. Hugh premium for extra cars.
  9. Send parking enforcement to particular hot spots at strategic times. For example, school streets at school times and Limes Road etc in the evenings/weekends.

Other points

  1. Encourage residents to rent out off-street space.
  2. Parking in Monument Road makes it difficult for pedestrians to pass, particularly when children are coming out of school.
  3. It would improve the High Street to have fewer parking places.
  4. 20mph zone is ignored and not policed – especially bad in Portmore Park Road and St Alban’s Avenue.
  5. Car Share scheme.

Thames Byfleet Cycleway

Heath RoadThe Liberal Democrats along with its allies in the new coalition administration agreed in cabinet today to proceed with studies to facilitate a path/cycleway alongside the Heath from the station to Brooklands Lane.  This land is held in common and is therefore heavily protected so any proposal with have to be very sensitive to the green space.

Campaigners have been seeking such a development for over two decades and there is still more work to come.

You can check the details here.

Town Meeting on Parking

Double-yellow-lines-on-a-road-and-pavement-curb-2101582Following the disturbing lack of engagement of residents, businesses and other interested parties by Surrey in its review of parking in Weybridge, your local Lib Dems decided to host a consultation meeting in the Weybridge Community Centre, Churchfields Place at 8:00pm, on Thursday, 14 July.

Discussion will include off-street and on-street parking policies; safety, parking on main roads; the balance between shoppers, workers and residents; and, the most effective way to ration available spaces.  It will also discuss approach to individual streets such as Curzon Road, Grenside Road, Pine Grove Road and Wey Road.  It will be an action filled event and school drop-offs etc will also be discussed.

Surrey’s parking review for Weybridge was up for decision at the Local Committee meeting on 27 June.  Cllr Andrew Davis argued that the consultation process should involve more presentation and dialogue with local residents before a set of firm proposals was put forward. He was supported by colleagues across all parties.  This resulted in the local committee agreeing that Surrey officers should discuss and amend the proposal in direct consultation with your Weybridge councillors at the end of July.

The previous proposal are here.

 

Morrisons Deliveries

Morrisons-02Morrisons had applied to have the its delivery times times extended with a variation of condition four (deliveries/servicing) of planning permission 2015/0138 (delivery times) to allow deliveries between 5:00 and 23:00, seven days a week.  This would include bank and public holidays.

Whilst no-one had actually complained about noise following the previous extension and the application was conditional for one year only the it was generally felt that 5:00 was too early in the morning on a Sunday, especially when one felt that the shop only opens at 10:00 on Sunday.   Supermarket logistics are quite complicated especially in the south-east and delivery times are set more for distribution efficiency rather than the time the shop actually opens.

There were moves to allow the deliveries a little earlier than at present but unfortunately the planning committee may only refuse or permit it may not vary the application itself.

The applicant may now appeal against Elmbridge’s decision or submit a less extreme application next time.

Parking Review

Double-yellow-lines-on-a-road-and-pavement-curb-2101582Surrey is progressing with its review of parking in Weybridge.  The basic premise of Surrey’s review is that parking restrictions are throttling the town by restricting parking for shoppers.  This assumption is not based on any evidence.  The only evidence that I have seen is that retail sales in Weybridge town centre have increased remarkably over the last ten years despite the onset of internet shopping.  Although we could always work for a better place to shop – witness the success of the town market outside Waitrose last weekend organised by the Weybridge Town Business Group of which I am a founder member. The jury is definitely out on Surrey’s assumptions.

Consequently many of the requests that were made by locals have been ignored because extending restrictions of any kind would only be introduced in extremis.

Soon Surrey will consult on its on its proposals.  Whatever the outcome of the consultation the proposal may not be extended – only contracted.  For example, if you wanted a yellow line on a corner in your neighbourhood and Surrey did not include that yellow line in its proposals then even if all the residents clamored for that line to be included nothing could be done until the next review.  On the other hand, if a yellow line was included in Surrey’s proposals and everyone said no during the consultation then that line could be excluded.

That is why I pushed for the maximum levels of restrictions that you asked for on the basis that if, during the formal consultation, you decided that you wanted to reduce the restrictions that could be done. But they cannot be extended.

There is one step before the final decision is made – a meeting of Surrey’s Elmbridge Local Committee at 4:00 on Monday, 27 June 2016

Queens Road
I pushed for no parking at any time along the Cricket Green and although the idea met with opposition – “Were will they park?” was the cry – I was able to present the flow of traffic and the safety of cyclists and pedestrians as more important that a few parked cars.  The proposals now contain restrictions along Queens Road but not as extensively as I would have liked to put before you.

Heath Road
I was unsuccessful in including parking restrictions for safety reasons along Heath Road. You might not agree with me that the safety of our cyclists is more important than the ability to park a few cars on our main roads.  But at least you would have been able to say you did not want such restrictions in Heath Road and it could be removed from the final implementation.  If the the current proposals go through you will not be able to add to it.

Dorchester Road
This street felt left out of the recent changes when Oakdale Road was include into the Controlled Parking Zone and Surrey would have left it out again in their proposals had I not vehemently insisted that it be included.  My reason again is that if residents around about do not want the restriction following consultation at least Dorchester Road could be excluded from the final implementation but if, as Surrey proposed, Dorchester Road was excluded it could not be added until the next review.  So Dorchester Road is in – you can now remove if you.

St Albans Avenue, Mount Pleasant and The Crescent
These streets were left out although I want them include on the basis I have mentioned above. After consultation one can remove but you cannot add.

Elmgrove Road, Holstein Avenue and Oakdale Road
Surrey wanted to move residents only parking by adding short stay parking in this zone (maximum two hours – no return for two hours.  On this basis I asked for the times to be extended to 20:00 in the evening.  This has been included.

Curzon Road Corners
These are all included.

Thames Street
Various changes are included here but as the people in the street know only too well the devil is in the details.

Portmore Park Road
No changes.

Vaillent Road
No addition for the corners – although I hope to get movement on that one.

Limes Raod
Minor changes.

Your last chance to make any changes to these proposals is at Surrey’s Elmbridge Local Committee at 4:00 on Monday, 27 June 2016.  Click on the link to see the membership.

I hope to get more detailed maps for you shortly.

Road closure

ROAD-CLOSURESBrooklands road will be closed from its junction with St George’s Avenue to its junction with Heath Road on two consecutive Sundays beginning on 19 June. The closure is because of maintenance on the water mains and the works are expected to be carried out between 9:00 and 16.30. Traffic will be diverted via Hanger Hill, Queens Road, Seven Hills Road and Byfleet Road during this time. Access will be maintained for pedestrians, emergency vehicles, residents and businesses at all times.

New Lights in Town

Traffic LightsIs it just me or are these new pedestrian crossing lights facing the wrong way.

Surely, if you have two displays, the upper ones should facing the people crossing from the other side.

The upper displays were probably added because only having one display mean that people could not see if there were many people waiting.

I know that Puffin crossings are supposed to be an improvement on the old Pelican crossing that we are used to but like so many engineering features they can have the opposite effect.

Studies show that the new Puffins are marginally safer than the old Pelicans. What they mean is that there are fewer injuries associated with Puffins than Pelicans. Traffic engineers often confuse fewer and less serious accidents with a place being safer. One could put guard rails along the entire High Street so that no -one can cross the street without using a car.  That would make the High Street “safer” but it make it less amenable for walking.  In my view if a High Street was a guard rail there is someone wrong with the layout and design of the street.

Guard rails in High Streets, pro-car new traffic signals, poor road surfaces – it re-enforces the notion that our Surrey administration favours Chelsea tractors over walking.

The reason why Puffins have the display on the post is to make pedestrians look at the on coming traffic.  Imagine if the traffic signals for cars where placed not ahead but to the left and the right.

I am awaiting an answer from Surrey Highways regarding this replacement programme.  I hadn’t seen any thing about it in the committee papers and it was not discussed.  I hope it not a waste of money.

This picture happens to show my workplace – no not the Ship but above Waitrose.

Old Bridge

Wey BridgeThe road surface over Weybridge’s Old Bridge has been poor for too long.   Wey Meadows residents pointed out to me that this short stretch must be the worst in Weybridge.  I called Surrey’s chief highways engineer who reviewed the situation and told me that following inspection of the bridge the structure team had decided to bring the resurfacing work forward to June or July this year.

In the meantime there will be extra patching (now installed but not satisfactory).

Surrey structures team does not believe that the poor surface threatens the integrity of the bridge itself.

I would bring all the schedules of work into the public domain so that we could at least see the order in which these works were to be done and why.  Whilst none of us want delay (like waiting for a bus) we feel better if we know when the project will begin (like bus indicator boards).  The technology is not that expensive and I believe it would save Surrey money.