Thursday, 8 December 2011

Arden 20mph plan moves closer

PLANS to enforce a 20mph speed limit outside Arden school have taken a step forward.

Click the headline or link below to read the rest of this story.

Permission has been given to put a road hump on Station Road, near the junction with Purnells Way, in a bid to slow traffic down.

After monitoring its impact, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council said it will consider part-time speed limits from April.

The raised table top hump has to be built as part of an agreement with the council to build a games area on the field, with new access to the back of the field.

The hump will also act as an uncontrolled crossing.

It comes after a child was struck by a car on Station Road in the first week of September.

Headteacher Martin Murphy has said he is concerned about speeds on the roads as the school expands to meet new housing demands.

In a letter to parents he said: “There is no doubt it could have ended in one of our young people being killed – he was probably saved by a matter of a few miles per hour.

“Sadly traffic does speed along Station Road.”

He said: “I am also now investigating, with other local community groups, traffic calming measures on Station Road with the traffic authorities.”

Three objections to the hump were received after an October consultation.

Centro, the West Midlands’ transport authority, said humps “can have a disproportionate effect on buses, even at slow speeds”.

It said: “They cause significant discomfort and possible injury to passengers and increased wear and tear on vehicles.”

While backing a new crossing, The Knowle Society said the plan would “cause permanent disruption to traffic and cyclists”. It backed a 20mph limit only.

A Station Road resident warned the plan would create too much noise and “there is little evidence of speeding traffic at school opening / closing times”.

But a council transport officer said the hump would be “bus friendly” with lesser ramp gradients and would be safe for all drivers at 30mph.

Noise would not increase “significantly” they added.

The 20mph limit was first proposed in 2008 as part of its Safer Routes To School project, a major Government initiative to encourage walking to school.

Though it was approved, the speed limit was never introduced because of concern over how to put up signs that would be “sensitive” to the area.

Yet the Government has now issued guidance on acceptable signs and the council is poised to introduce them at some borough schools, subject to funding.

The 20mph zone would not extend to the rear access to the school by Purnells Way as this would need another road hump, for which there is no cash, it says.

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  1. Could someone please explain what is meant by the phrase "sensitive to the area" as I find it hard to believe that the council failed to instigate the approved 20 mph limit simply because they couldn't decide which road sign to use. Surely I must have misunderstood something.
    I would have thought our children's safety is paramount and a road hump is a small price to pay for a child's life.
    I presume similar calming measures will be installed outside Dorridge school to counter the increased traffic to and from Sainsbury's

  2. I think this shows the huge amount of bureaucracy councils sometimes have to go through to get anything done, in this case approval for what a sign looks like.

    This is from the report (it's linked in the story):

    "However, it was not introduced due to issues over how the
    speed limit would be signed in a sensitive manner that minimised impact on the local
    streetscene. Officers were also seeking guidance and approval to signing proposals
    from the DfT. There have been a series of meetings with Local Ward Members
    related to the Arden SRTS project, at a meeting in December 2010 Members were
    made aware of the signage issues and resulting delay to the scheme."

  3. Thank you for explaining.
    It is all rather unbelievable.
    Could be a few years before Sainsbury's gets started then! :-)

  4. It's good that something is being done. But should we not have a more public debate about the options?

    Speed humps are cheap but crude. Do we not need something more responsive which works well, when children are about but leaves the road clear?

    One of the Community Ideas on is for more pelican crossings.

    In effect, with very little encouragement to children to press the button as they walk down the road, these would very effectively slow down traffic when children (who, surely, should have priority at these times) are walking to and from school.

    Is there any evidence that 20mph limits would do anything? There would ahve to be strict enforcement - cameras or frequent speed traps - all very expensive.

    Pelican crossings might be a more intelligent approach - positive traffic control, on demand, in effect.

    Any more, better ideas?

  5. I trust the council's traffic department and its expertise - not local residents and their ideas based on - well nothing.
    The bureaucracy and lack of money are going to be the main problem.
    People do speed down Station Road but not at school opening and closing times because of contiued use of crossing outside arden, parked cars and parents dropping and picking up and volume of traffic generally.
    Speed hump sounds reasonable.

  6. Personally, I find that during the school run the volume of traffic and irresponsible parking by parents actually slows the traffic to a crawl anyway! Speeding is only possible between the school run times!!
    It's almost self policing in effect

  7. parents parking half on pavement on staton road does slow the traffic which is good - but makes it difficult for people with buggies etc to walk on pavement - so this is bad.
    I don't see speed on Station Road at school times as significant problem.
    If speed bump helps at other times then it is useful. If not then lets not have it.

  8. If there's a problem paying for a speed hump then there will be no money for pelican crossings

  9. Perhaps it's just me but, personally, I'd rather see all of the options set out, some discussion, perhaps even a ranking in terms of their effectiveness - and then for the Council to make a clear, justified.

    If the Council decides on speed humps and road signs because because they will work, don't have too many disbenefits and are affordable, I think we'd all accept that rationale.

    What I would be concerned about is if, under pressure from the clamour to do something/anything, our beleageured 'experts' propose to put in measures which might not be effective and might which have significant disbenefits simply because they are the only things they can afford.

    Better to do nothing, or to look for an alternative, more innovative, better solution?

    And yes, maybe if we were to ask, even ask the schooldchildren themselves to come up with ideas (especially, ask the children), we might find an answer out there? A nice school community project, perhaps, - Mr Murphy?

  10. As a resident who lives close to Arden School, i fully support introducing a 20 MPH speed limit on Station Road during school times.
    However there is little point in doing so unless the speed limit is policed.
    Currently no one appears to "police" parking on Station Road at School pick up times, and surely illegal parking must contribute to the risk of children getting injured.

  11. I believe there are to be double yellow lines down both sides of Station Road from the cricket club down past the school - a planning notice to that effect has been up on lamp posts and local people have been asked to send any objections before a date in december.
    This would mean that it will be easier for pedestrians with buggies and young children to use the pavement but may lead to increase in speed of traffic so traffic calming - speed limit may be needed along that stretch.
    I don't think the speed limit should be limited to school times - kids are around at all sorts of times of day - especially around arden. Won't kill people to have to drive at 20mph along the length of station road at all times.

  12. sorry - first part of above post refers to Dorridge Infant and Junior School.

  13. 14.52
    I am inclined to agree with you.

    The price you pay for urbanising what were essentially villages with the infrastructure to match. With further development planned for both Dorridge and Knowle (both supermarkets and housing) it will only get worse.

  14. To Anonymous 14:52, if you are making a serious suggestion (yellow lines for Station Road), why send it in to

    This is a new open community initiative, where we can start to assemble the pros & cons (contributions anyone?), and look at all of the Ideas that are being suggested. Blogs and 'letters to the editor' are great but we need somewhere to capture all our ideas

    Take a look at this still developing site and see 'New Dorridge Group wants to work together' Silhillian strand, for background.

  15. Chris - I'm not making the suggestion - I'm just pointing out that this idea has already gone to planning and is awaiting a decision.
    I think an ideas forum has to be up to speed with what is already happening and what is in the pipeline.
    Not that keen for locals to have too much say - self- interest is a powerfully motivating factor often driven by ignorance.
    Should be sensible, dispassionate workable solutions that are best for the area generally.
    Dorridge already too much of a 'bubble'.

  16. To Anonymous 12:40,

    I agree that an ideas forum has to be up-to-speed. The only way this will happen is if we all share our ideas and thoughts early with other members of the community, including SMBC, and don't simply grumble when it's too late.

    More importantly, we need to collect ideas and visions before problems occur to ensure the whole decision making process, including formal public consultations, are well informed. This is thinking behind the Community Ideas list.

    I would also agree that we should all try not to live a bubble. Some of the Ideas on already deal with issues of shared concern - traffic calming along Station Road being one. We need to encourage ideas which cross over and take into account the needs, benefits and disbenefits of adjacent communities.

    Are you suggesting that it would be helpful to have two Ideas forums (Dorridge and Knowle) or that we should aim to have a combined Community Ideas forum?

  17. Chris - you are obviously prepared to give time and effort for the local community which I applaud. I think I'm suggesting that if you collect ideas from the forum you need to be able to feed them into the decision making system. Wouldn't it make sense for you to present them on a regular basis to the DDRA and feed back from there to the forum - I know it sounds like quite a lot of work but would be more effective.

  18. Chris my advice is do your own thing and don't be constrained by DDRA.

    By all means include them but only after your own initial "brain storming" around issues.