ECHO has received two ‘Opinion’ contributions about this project. These are both the personal views of the respective writers, not ECHO’s.
The first is an extract of the detail from a recent communication which former councillor Nigel Lee sent to the Project’s lead officer, Bryn Lewis.
It seems that all the assessment work has been done whilst the chaos of the Butts improvements were under way (plus the Charter Avenue works to some extent), and many road users were using Earlsdon as a relief road. Now they are done, there has been a noticeable drop in traffic. Surely a new assessment is needed?
It is well known that users avoid the Canley Island (fire station), Kenilworth Road lights and Leamington Road island by coming by Sainsburys, Beechwood Avenue, Kenilworth Road / Coat of Arms bridge Road, Baginton Road, and back onto the A45 by the Festival Island. None of these schemes will change that.
As many cars ignore the 30mph, why you think making it 20mph will make any difference to speeds I cannot understand.(unless you are to spend money on enforcement)
With that in mind I will therefore try to break down my responses in groups.
These assume ALL the schemes are introduced as designed.
If any of them are removed from the plan, then the whole dynamic will change, and if that happens, then surely you will have to issue the consultation process yet again.
Schemes that will benefit, and cause little adverse effects:-
- Albany Road Toucan Crossing
- Berkeley Road North restriction
- Beechwood Avenue/Hartington Crescent Island improvements
- Moor St and Warwick one way
- Arden St egress only junction
Schemes that will benefit, but dependant on other parts being adopted , could cause minor issues
- Closure of access to Shaftsbury Road, this will increase traffic on Beechwood Avenue
- One way at the bottom of Spencer Road, only really effective with the Bus gate
- One way in Newcombe Road, this will have issue on egress during school time, made worse with the new bus stops designs.
- One way on Berkeley Road South. This will mean the majority of deliveries will have to use Styvechale/Osbourne Road. It will also mean that any taxi accessing the new taxi rank will logically use the same route.
- Road restriction on Beechwood adjacent to the Tennis Club access. If a vehicle approaches from Kenilworth Road, wishing to access the club, it will be on the right-hand side of the road, if a vehicle is exiting and wishes to turn toward Kenilworth Road, there will be an impasse, and that car will have to turn left. This happens currently, but the cars can safely manoeuvre to allow them to pass.
Schemes that will have adverse effects on local area
- Moving the bus stops into the running lanes on Earlsdon Avenue North and South. This will cause severe traffic congestion, especially on the section outside the library at school times. It also could have a knock-on effect on the upper part of Newcombe road, as when busy, users will use that and Poplar Road to avoid the library bus stop.
- No entry to Warwick and Styvechale Avenues. This will increase traffic on Earlsdon Avenue North and South, as access from
- Town/Cheylesmore/Rugby/London will, logically, have to use Leamington Road (and its junction with Warwick Road and Kenilworth Road), Kenilworth Road, and its Junction with Earlsdon Avenue
- Allesley/Tile Hill/Birmingham will now HAVE to use Broad Lane/Tile Hill Lane, Hearsall Common, Earlsdon Avenue North and South.
It also does nothing to stop the cars using the roads in the other direction during the evenings (which will only be worse if more vehicles are forced to use Earlsdon Avenue/Kenilworth Road Lights.)
- No access/egress from Stoneleigh Avenue. This will increase traffic on Beechwood Avenue, and its junction with Kenilworth Road, and its junction with Rochester Road.
- Yellow line works on Beechwood from the golf club to Kenilworth Road. This will only enable any speeding driver to have An unimpeded dead straight line between the S bend and Kenilworth Road. Currently the staggered parking significantly reduce speeding vehicles. They would also cause extra parking on Styvechale and Stoneleigh Avenues from the Golf Club.
- No access/egress on Arden Street. This will move traffic along Beechwood Avenue to Rochester Road, then down towards Earlsdon Street It will also increase traffic on Earlsdon Street, as all the residents will have to use it for access and egress.
- Access only at Moor Street As above this will force more vehicles on to Earlsdon Street
- Beechwood Avenue/Rochester Road junction change. The current issue with buses at this junction is that they have to swing into the right-hand lane to make the turn into Rochester Road. The new junction design does not seem to aid this, in fact it could make the issue more difficult. If the bus prepares the turn, but the running lanes of Rochester want to turn into Beechwood, then the junction will gridlock. There will also be a significant loss in parking in the area, which will have an adverse effect on the Church.
- Pedestrian Crossing outside Wetherspoons. Many people are in favour of the crossing, but the subsequent design changes to Earlsdon Street seem somewhat strange. I realise you need the zig zag protection, but why not put the bus stop right up to them, then the bus has a clean route to depart. This would leave the original parking as is.
- Delivery bay in Earlsdon Street. Anyone who has used this road when a blue badge car parked outside the old building society will tell you the chaos that car caused. Putting a 10-tonne lorry there for a period of time would be far worse.
- Bus gate in Spencer Road. Primarily, this will move even more traffic onto Kenilworth Road and its junction at Earlsdon Avenue South, it also raise questions as to how car users who utilise the additional parking spaces are supposed to get back out of the road or lorries who would then have to reverse all the way back to Davenport Road.
Other alternative schemes that would achieve the original objective but have not been considered
- Arden Street closure
- Stoneleigh Avenue closure
- Shaftsbury Road closure
- Bus gate
- Warwick and Styvechale Avenue no entry
- Restriction on Beechwood Avenue by the Tennis club
- Yellow line works on Beechwood Avenue
Use tabletop junctions at :
- Warwick Avenue/Beechwood Avenue
- Styvechale Avenue/Beechwood Avenue
- Rochester Road/Beechwood Avenue and remove changes to parking and road lining at the junction with Bates Road.
- Access to Tennis Club
- Moor Street/Earlsdon Street
- Albany Road/Newcombe Road/Spencer Avenue.
- Dalton Road/Spencer Avenue
Move the bus stop on Earlsdon Avenue South back to start after the access drop kerb to the care home, this would ensure the bus can get into the stop straight (which is not possible most of the time)
Leave the bus stop outside the Library but enlarge the central refuge at the pedestrian crossing to make the road a single lane (currently many near misses as some think it is wide enough for 2 cars). This, if staggered, would ensure a safer crossing, and would let traffic move on one side, rather than both ways stopping once a pedestrian commences to cross.
Build out the pavement around the trees on Earlsdon Avenue South to make the pavements better for all users, and also it would define parking areas along the road. One of these would be after the bus stop (as above) and would create a wider safer pavement from there to the crossing at the island.
Improve the junction at Kenilworth Road/Earlsdon Avenue south to make it run better (especially from town wishing to turn into Earlsdon Avenue).
Improve the junction at Beechwood Avenue/Kenilworth Road as with this being a 40 mph road, there have been numerous accidents at this place (2 of my friends have had accidents there).
These are the personal views of Clare McArthur:
At the time of writing, the consultation period for the Earlsdon Liveable Neighbourhood Proposals is due to run until 29 October. In response to public feedback during the initial consultation, the proposed measures cover a wider area than initially planned – additional funding has been secured from Sustrans for this.
The consultation protocol requires that all responses are noted. All public feedback from the initial consultation was published. Examination of all those responses alongside the proposals shows that, as far as possible (given that some elements were mutually exclusive) this feedback has been taken into account. After the current second consultation period, public feedback will again help to inform the scheme. If any measures, in full or in part, are implemented there will be assessment of their effectiveness. Any subsequent adjustments to improve outcomes would not be time limited.
The proposed scheme is detailed in 18 information sheets plus a summary sheet. This means that there is a great deal to read and cross reference. In the interests of full and positive engagement, this is necessary. The rationale for each proposal is explained alongside the anticipated benefits and impacts. Reviews of existing similar schemes confirm that those anticipated outcomes are realistic. Alternatives that were considered are also described together with the reasons for not including them. The information sheets invite respondents to have their say in influencing particular proposals – this can be done via the online feedback form. Respondents are not required to comment on every proposal. It is possible to express support for some proposed measures alongside concerns, objections or questions about others.
A key objective of a Liveable Neighbourhood (LN) Scheme is to reduce the volume of through traffic along residential roads by encouraging vehicles onto roads that are more suitable for high traffic volumes. Analysis of traffic flows shows that a substantial proportion of traffic in Earlsdon is not local and is not stopping in the area. The Earlsdon LN Scheme seeks to direct this traffic onto roads such as the Kenilworth Road, the A45 and Butts Road, which have been adapted or built to absorb greater volumes of through traffic. Inevitably, some measures would also change the way that local traffic can use residential streets. This may necessitate taking a different route (which in turn may mean a slightly longer journey time) but will not mean that access to roads is denied. Local traffic would not be prevented from moving around and through Earlsdon, but it would need to make some adjustments to how it moves.
Reducing through traffic and the ‘space’ it creates within a neighbourhood provides opportunities for the safer movement of all road users and pedestrians. It generates a positive impact on people living there. Established LN schemes have reported reductions in street crime and have seen no adverse impact on emergency vehicle response times. Studies by organisations such as Possible and The University of Westminster’s Active Travel Academy show that roads within a LN generally experience a 50% reduction in road casualties and an increase in more active travel with people choosing to walk or cycle locally more often. People are making these choices not because their opportunity to drive has been limited, but because they recognise that lower (through) traffic volumes together with a reduced speed limit* means that their streets become safer. Given that many Earlsdon residents have expressed their concern about the increasing volume of excessively speeding traffic on local suburban streets, any proposals attempting to address this problem deserve consideration. Funding for specific traffic calming measures such as zebra and pedestrian crossings to improve road safety is certainly not easy to obtain and, sadly, often happens only after fatalities.
* ROSPA is clear that: “20 mph speed limits can result in 40% fewer collisions and a seven-fold reduction in deaths.” The World Health Organisation (WHO) says: “A safe speed on roads with possible conflicts between cars, pedestrians and cyclists is 20mph”. Interestingly, research suggests that, whilst crash outcomes are far better at 20mph than at 30mph, traffic flow and journey times don’t seem to change very much.
(Member of Earlsdon Community Speedwatch)