20mph zoning & associated calming for Woodbridge

Proposal to create a core 20mph zone in Woodbridge (and associated 30mph amendments)

This document (plus appendices containing many pages of supporting exdence) of comments  went to  Suffolk’s Speed Panel  in February 2017.

All recommendations were agreed by the panel with the  exception of the  20mph  on Fynn, Oxford and Peterhouse estates (on the grounds that speeds would not get high enough to warrant lowering them).

The roads around Farlingaye were agreed subject to traffic counts. The stretch of Ipswich Road, Station  Road,Quayside andLime Kiln Quay were  deemed to need additional calming measures.The next stage will be to draw up plans for zoning and then open them upp to community consultation before they  can go ahead.

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Introduction

Woodbridge is an historic market town on the edge of the Deben estuary with a thriving shopping centre. The whole of its centre is within a conservation area http://www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/assets/Planning/Design-and-Conservation/SCDC-Conservation-Area-Appraisals/WoodbridgeConAreaAppraisalSPDJuly2011.pdf

It is a focus for visitors for shopping, walking, history and as a locus to visit Sutton Hoo.

There is no reason for traffic to drive through Woodbridge except to visit Woodbridge. Through traffic should bypass via A12 (taking B1152 to areas east of Melton Station at Woods Lane roundabout north of Woodbridge). However historically 40-50% of traffic through Woodbridge on the B1438 has been through traffic. This traffic is increasing yearly, and changing trading patterns have brought more lorries on a daily basis along this route.

Woodbridge has a population of 11,000 but in terms of transport need, the younger and older people are significantly overrepresented due to the large number of schools and retirement/sheltered housing it provides.

Woodbridge has a number of nursery and pre-schools, four primary schools (pupil cohorts: 200,200,200 & 400) and two secondary schools (under-16 cohorts: 2000 & 600): a significant number of pupils walk or cycle to school. Pavements and crossings are therefore busy and important at school and nursery times.

Woodbridge also has a substantial older population. An expansion in building of retirement, sheltered and very sheltered housing over the last 30 years has resulted in 15 plus purpose built developments. Most of these are along/adjacent to the B1438 Ipswich Road, Station Road, Quayside, Lime Kiln Quay route, creating a requirement for crossing that was not envisaged when the route was created in the 1960’s

Woodbridge also has a significant cycling population of all ages: some working commuters, some cycling to school, some leisure, and some as ‘wheeled pedestrians’.

The overarching requirements of zoning is:

  • to ensure that the ancient centre of Woodbridge is calmed
  • that heavy traffic is discouraged
  • that (often elderly) residents and visitors have easier access between the heart of the town and the riverside area
  • that children can walk and cycle safely to school
  • to help solve longstanding and persistent problems of heavy traffic in the Thoroughfare and surrounding streets
  • to assist in dealing with longstanding traffic related air quality problems at Melton Hill which is a designated Air Quality Management Area and an action for SCC to resolve
  • and by supporting the 20mph signage in the centre with a holistic scheme, to prevent unintended consequences of people ‘rat running’ elsewhere in the town
  • to support the Woodbridge ‘Walkers are Welcome’ initiative.

The proposals are supported by the local county councillor, Caroline Page, the Town Council and various groups. The drafts of this report were prepared by Caroline Page supported by information provided by former Woodbridge County, District and Town Councillor, Nigel Barrett.

Description of roads

Appendix A shows in red those roads that would be included in a 20mph zone. It also shows in green those roads which remain or are lowered to 30mph. Each road or area is numbered in blue and described below with a justification as to why a lower 20mph limit is considered appropriate.

Taking numbered roads (clockwise from the south)

  1. Sandy Lane, Railway Bridge: EXTEND CURRENT 30MPH restriction southwards (currently starts about 30metres south of the California junction) to either just north of the railway bridge (retaining the traffic calming signs around the bridge) or possibly just south of the railway bridge dependent on advice from officers with possible gateway treatment.

 

RATIONALE: The piece of road from the bridge to California does not fit the main 30mph criteria as it is rural with no clear village character until just before California.

However the route has a significantly higher number of cyclists and pedestrians than most rural roads. Sandy Lane is part of Cycle Route 1 of the National Cycle Route. It is also the route of several circular walks (indeed for all walkers when tide is high at Kyson Point. This national walker’s guide gives the entire stretch of Sandy Lane from south of the railway bridge to Ipswich Road as part of a circular walk http://www.ifootpath.com/display-ifootpath-walk?walkID=2298).

There is significant local usage including children walking to school from Dukes Park (which was built without footpath access to adjacent Ipswich road). It is the recognised cycle route for workers travelling to BT or into Ipswich. Over the last three years articulated lorries are increasingly going down California or entering Sandy Lane from Ipswich Road, to access the nursery to the north of the railway bridge because they have become so big they cannot travel under the bridge and access it from the south. Sandy Lane is also seen as a local ‘short cut’ by traffic wanting to reach the A12 Kesgrave roundabout from Woodbridge. This is often too fast for the road conditions.

There are no pavements for almost all of the route, and no, or very high step-offs. There has been damage to the bridge by heavy vehicles.   Past attempts at calming have included lines to narrow the road and lines and signs around the bridge.

30mph can be justified as a lower speed limit by reference to the Suffolk Speed Limit Policy para 21 citing “specific local circumstances”. These are:

  • at specific locations on national and local cycle networks to assist cyclists
  • at specific locations to promote walking routes.

 

  1. B1438 from A12: Ipswich Road, Station Road (and Cumberland Street, Church Street), Quay Side, Lime Kiln Quay Rd, Melton Hill: REINSTATE 40MPH BUFFER AND NEW SECTIONS OF 20MPH.

OVERARCHING RATIONALE:  As this is a B Road the proposed sections of 20mph will have to be examined under ‘exceptional circumstances.
Woodbridge has developed on both sides of this route. Ever since the Woodbridge inner relief road was built in the 1960s (Quay Side, Lime Kiln Quay) there have been a significant number of through drivers recorded taking this route between Melton & A12 (both directions) in preference to the higher standard A12 and Woods Lane. Surveys have put this between 40 and 50 % of traffic. An increase in car-dependency and a modal shift in usage shopping delivery habits has meant that there are year-on-year more vehicles along this route. At the same time there has been an increase in population along this route, with the building of more sheltered accommodation and a polyclinic with new bus stops put in on both sides of the roads to service it.

(a) B1438 – A12 TO CALIFORNIA JUNCTION (SEE INSERT ON MAP):  REINSTATE 40MPH BUFFER

This was originally 40mph. Although it has a rural feel it has street lighting and was reduced to 30mph some years ago. There is an unsigned pedestrian crossing at the mouth of B1438 leading to a closed section of Old Yarmouth Rd. Most cyclists use this rather than cycle up to the roundabout. There is a pavement along the north side of the B1438 leading into Woodbridge. There is significant school and bus-user crossing of the Ipswich Road at the California junction.

By raising the speed limit to 40mph it would allow a large 30mph sign to be reinstated in the urban area just before the California junction to better emphasise the start of the 30mph limit and encourage drivers to be driving at 30mph in time to meet the 20mph zone.

This conforms with Suffolk’s 40mph speed limit policy “some pedestrian activity through the day, with possible peaks “and some provision for pedestrian/cyclists or acknowledged need and possibly warning signs.’ There is nothing to support the definition of an urban 30mph over this section.

  • B1438 IPSWICH ROAD – CALIFORNIA JUNCTION TO WARREN HILL JUNCTION: RETAIN EXISTING 30MPH SPEED LIMIT

(c) B1438 IPSWICH ROAD – WARREN HILL JUNCTION INTO WOODBRIDGE: NEW SECTION OF 20MPH ZONE ON IPSWICH ROAD, STATION ROAD, QUAY SIDE, LIME KILN QUAY ROAD AND MELTON HILL

 

RATIONALE:  As this is a B Road the proposed section of 20mph will have to be examined under ‘exceptional circumstances.

Traffic speeds:

SCC carried out speed surveys in the week beginning 9 January 2017 at 3 locations within this section. The mean speeds (5 and 7 day averages) were as follows

Just east of Warren Hill junction – eastbound 26/26mph, westbound 26/27 mph

Station Road section – eastbound 24/24 mph, westbound 27/27 mph

Lime Kiln Quay Road (south end) – southbound 30/30mph, northbound 32/32 mph

As such, only the last speeds marginally exceeded 30 mph.

Community support:

The Town and District councillors strongly support this 20mph. There have been requests and petitions from members of the public.

Depth of residential development and evidence of pedestrian and cyclist movements:

This proposed 20mph section of the route is almost wholly within the designated conservation area. Abutting this 1 mile route is a significant amount of sheltered housing on both south and north sides: Clarkson Court (69 flats); Morley Avenue (28 bungalows), Tanyard Court (37 flats), Deben View (32 flats) Carthew Court (16 flats); Mussidan Place (24 flats/bungalows); Suffolk Place (39 flats) and now, just past Melton Hill, the Maltyard (39 flats) in addition to other housing.

South, but adjacent to the route is:  Portis Wood, Kingston Field (tennis and football facilities), rowing, sailing, yacht clubs, Sea scouts, Art Club, Tide Mill, Woodbridge community centre, swimming pool, youth centre, cinema, station, and the Deben estuary  to the south.

The new Whisstocks development of housing and tourist facilities will take place on either side of this route.

To the north of the route is the bulk of the town with all the shops, the churches, the museum, the schools, Notcutt’s Garden Centre, post office, restaurants, pubs, parks,  etc. A large polyclinic, Framfield House, has been built to the north of the route and new bus stops on both sides of Ipswich Road support this.

A steep incline from Warren Hill Road to the Cherry Tree Road roundabout causes an instinctive pick up of speed, which 20mph signage would address. The road has also significant cycle usage in both directions.

Current speeds make it difficult allow crossing for resident pedestrian access to shops, surgeries, station, swimming pool, riverside etc. Much of this pedestrian usage is elderly and has difficulty with the current speeds. There are also several bus stops along this route –  the principal bus route through Woodbridge – which require a need for crossing at beginning or end of journeys.

The Whisstocks development would also benefit from this. Reducing speeds would discourage through traffic. It would improve access and safety for a variety of reasons. Significantly, it would assist in addressing the longstanding AQMA issue at Melton Hill where source apportionment analysis shows that local traffic contributes about 90% of the total local NOx and vehicles waiting in the queues produce about 60% of the traffic NOx at the junction.

Appendix B shows recorded injury accidents within the last 5 years. Along this section of proposed 20mph there were two accidents, both serious in 2014.

It is anticipated there will be a need for traffic calming features within this section to ensure speeds are curtailed at or below 24mph and to assist with pedestrian and cyclist movements as well as discouraging the extent of unwanted through traffic and its affect on air quality.

 

 

 

2A –  INCLUDE CUMBERLAND STREET AND THE THOROUGHFARE IN THE 20MPH ZONE TO ASSIST IN TRAFFIC CALMING IN THIS CONTENSIOUS AREA WHERE CURRENT MEASURES AND TRO’S HAVE REMAINED INEFFECTIVE.

A Woodbridge Thoroughfare Working Group has been set up to promote a better shopping experience in the town and give greater priority to pedestrians in these roads. It is expected the current TRO’s will be modified to this effect. Speeds are already low, however the inclusion of these roads will compliment the lower speeds proposed on the B1438 and deter drivers from driving faster as a consequence.

 

  1. MAINTAIN OLD BARRACK ROAD AS 30MPH (AS FAR AS 4, DRYBRIDGE HILL). CREATE 20MPH ZONE FOR ALL ROADS ON THE FYNN, OXFORD AND PETERHOUSE ESTATES. ALSO THROUGH DUNCANS.
    Kyson School is on Peterhouse Crescent with 400 pupils, situated within the Peterhouse residential estate. There is already a ‘20s plenty zone’ at the frontage of Kyson school. Daily conflicts exist between pedestrian, cycle, buses and cars at school times.

 

3A. JUNCTION OF BULLARDS LANE & DRYBRIDGE HILL: REDUCE SPEED TO 20 MPH AT THE TOP OF DRYBRIDGE HILL, AND MAINTAIN THIS DOWN  SECKFORD STREET.
RATIONALE: This falls within the Woodbridge conservation envelope. Drybridge Hill is steep and narrow with a lot of cars parked along both the hill and along the street.  A right hand bend at the bottom of the hill obscures uphill traffic Increasingly inappropriate sized vehicles are mistaking this for a through route.  Cyclists are often at risk, hence the need to slow traffic. There is one pavement along parts of this route.  This is on the school pedestrian route for St Mary’s, Woodbridge and Queens schools, and (in opposite direction) for Kyson School. The 28 property Seckford Almshouses (north side of this street) house a significant number of elderly people with pedestrian needs.

 

  1. WYEVALE ROUNDABOUT A12 EXIT TO GRUNDISBURGH ROAD, THEATRE STREET, MARKET HILL, NEW STREET, ST JOHNS STREET, ST JOHNS HILL: REDUCE TO 20 MPH FROM THE TOP OF GRUNDISBURGH ROAD (CURRENT SPEED ON ROUNDABOUT 40MPH) AND CONTINUE THROUGH THE TOWN JOINING 2) AT THE ST JOHNS ST, THOROUGHFARE, MELTON HILL, LIME KILN QUAY CROSSROADS . AS WELL AS EXTENDING DOWN NEW STREET, THIS ZONE WILL EXTEND DOWN CHURCH ST, ANGEL LANE AND CHAPEL STREET AND INCLUDE BREDFIELD STREET AND CASTLE STREET

 

RATIONALE:  There are a significant number of pedestrian Farlingaye High School students crossing this route from the most western end at various points, plus St Marys/Woodbridge School parents/students (& some Kyson parents/scholars in contraflow) who walk to school along these roads. Pedestrian movement often conflicts with drivers – often parents in cars. This route enters the Conservation envelope at Buttrums Mill/Woodbridge School. There is a current ‘20’s Plenty’ area in front of St Mary’s school in Grundisburgh Road and bollards have been in place on part of the northern pavement along Grundisburgh Road, to prevent overrunning pavement parking on this very narrow road.
A subsequent need for calming around Market Hill, New Street, St Johns Street has been identified. Heavy vehicles are having difficulties in this street in the one- way system from New Street, around St Johns St, up to St Johns Hill which have led to concerns about large lorries causing damage at the turn up St Johns Hill, both from New St, and St John St. Significant damage has been done and is being done by lorries to St Johns Rectory on one side of the hill and to one house in particular on the other side.

This zone will extend down Angel Lane and Chapel Street and include Bredfield Street and Castle Street.

 

  1. A12 EXIT INTO HASKETON ROAD: REDUCE SPEED TO 20 MPH FROM THE TOP OF HASKETON ROAD TO WHERE IT JOINS BIRKITT ROAD, (INCLUDING TENNYSON, RANSOM, CATHERINE, AND MOORFIELD ROAD).


RATIONALE:  There are a large number of Farlingaye High School students crossing at various points from the far western end of this route by foot and cycle. Concerns have been raised by constituents and councillors about student safety along this route.  There is a high level of parental traffic at both ends of the day. The cycle path along the A12 that crosses the top of Hasketon Road feeds into the school. It would enhance safety for cyclists crossing if drivers approached at 20mph.

 

A serious accident was recorded on Burkitt Road in 2016.

 

  1. A12 EXIT INTO HAUGH LANE: REDUCE SPEED TO 20 MPH FROM THE TOP OF HAUGH LANE, AND BARTON ROAD, ROUND TO BERESFORD ROAD AND WARWICK AVE

RATIONALE:  The majority of in-catchment Farlingae High School students who live within statutory walking distance (3miles) approach the school from this direction whether they walk, cycle or come by car. This is the back exit from/to Farlingaye and large number of Farlingaye students are crossing by foot and cycle at various points.  Parental traffic drops off via Warwick Ave and exits via Haugh Lane. There is a cycle path along the A12 that crosses the top of Haugh Lane. There is a desire to discourage rat running from Bredfield Road.

 

  1. JUNCTION OF BREDFIELD ROAD AND WOODS LANE

This is already signed as a 30mph. It falls within the parish of Melton. A gateway or sign to say Woodbridge Welcomes Careful Drivers at the point Woodbridge starts could be considered effective.

 

  1. BREDFIELD ROAD: 20MPH SIGNS AT BERESFORD ROAD AND WARWICK AVE

 

These would start the 20mph zone within 6 above.

 

  1. NORTH HILL: REDUCE TO 20MPH AT TOP OF NORTH HILL. EXTEND TO BREDFIELD ST, CASTLE STREET, ANGEL LANE AND CHAPEL STREET. 20MPH ALSO SIGNED AT FITZGERALD AVE TO INCLUDE VICTORIA ROAD AND MILL HILL.

 

  1. MELTON ROAD TO MELTON HILL REDUCE TO 20MPH ON MELTON HILL JUST BEFORE PYTCHES ROAD JUNCTION.

Police Comments

Taking into account the outline proposals and comments from SNT staff the police have summarised the following comments:

  • I think the team are cautious about enabling future demand on them around enforcing 20mph infringements. Invariably as speed limits lower, the proportion of drivers driving above the limit increases. We have to be realistic that the 20mph zone is about lowering average speeds, and not as enabler for demanding more traffic enforcement activity.
  • Some suggestion that carefully selected individual roads might resolve issues of safety around rat running and locations of higher threat (e.g. schools) as easily as a zoning proposal, however the proposal is not dismissed out of hand.
  • The presence of traffic calming measures may achieve slower overall speeds through the town, contributing to reduced rat running. Traffic calming is already a key consideration to 20mph zoning, as generally speaking 20mph zones should be self-policing through design.
  • In summary though, with the right analysis and presentation of what you propose I think it could have legs.

 

 

Community Comments

 

These are set out in Appendix C

Discussion

 

SCC is obligated to address the air pollution problem at the top of Lime Kiln Quay Road. After several years of evaluating other options the only step-change measure to reach compliance is to reduce the amount of traffic passing through this junction – a 20mph speed limit with associated traffic calming along the inner relief road is expected to encourage more traffic to use the A12 instead.

 

Nationally, a recent report from Public Health England clearly cites the need to make changes to enhance active travel. 20mph limits can help our public realm be better for more people to walk and cycle regularly. The rationale is simple – provide safer spaces and people will use them.

Public Health England’s briefing says:
“There is a growing evidence base on the benefits of 20mph speed limits and repeated national surveys show strong public support for 20mph in residential streets. Many towns and cities in England have either implemented or are committed to 20mph speed limits across much of their road networks”.

A key task for implementation is: “Support 20mph speed limits in residential areas.”

Anna Semlyen, National Campaign Manager of 20’s Plenty for Us said

“Our bodies have evolved to work better and longer with activity as part of our normal life.  Yet too many people are afraid to walk or cycle on their local roads. We need to retrofit streets to help people become fitter as they get around. 20mph makes it feel safer for all ages.  It’s a no-brainer – slower equals safer, equals better for people on foot or on bike.”

Read more at http://www.20splenty.org/20mph_for_healthier_streets

In terms of reconciling the proposals to the current SCC guidelines for 20mph limits or zones it can be argued that:

  • There are exceptional circumstances where a 20mph limit could be applied to parts of the B1438 inner relief road through Woodbridge
  • Almost all the measured mean speeds on the B1438 are below 30mph. It is expected that speeds are low on the other residential roads within the town.
  • There is significant community support for a 20mph zone in Woodbridge in the central core and outlying residential areas.
  • There is a depth or residential development and evidence of pedestrian and cyclist movements within the area
  • There is a record of injury accidents
  • In recognition of a Conservation area the proposal is for a 20mph zone

Recommendation

To support the proposal as described.

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Caroline Page, County Councillor for Woodbridge