Wenden Road Update for 2016

Last week on behalf of Saffron Walden Town Council Paul Gadd met David Sprunt of ECC Highways, principally to look at potential road schemes in Saffron Walden that the Town Council would like to promote (primarily looking at schemes to help pedestrians and cyclists in town), but also to ask about the situation on Wenden Road.

He confirmed that another safety audit has been carried out by the ECC Highways team and that the results are still awaited.  The safety audit team are in theory independent of the rest of ECC Highways and make safety recommendations; it is not clear however whether the safety team take into account anything that the public, Access Walden or Saffron Walden Town Council send to ECC Highways.   We are continuing to press for the three traffic islands at the west end to be aligned to the same side, to remove the current slalom, and to get a 40mph speed limit – at the moment however we’ve still got no better idea of when ECC Highways will come back.

20160101_104928One piece of good news for pedestrians though – relatively at least.  You will have seen that over the half-term week part of the bank was cut back on the south side where it had grown over onto the tarmac surface.  ECC Highways are intending to cut the bank back all the way along the Wenden Road, which should give an extra foot or more of tarmac surface to walk on.  There won’t be any form of pavement or physical separation, but there should at least be more space on the other side of the white line for pedestrians to get them further away from motor vehicles.  As and when this is done, can pedestrians please leave your comments below and these will be passed onto Paul Gadd from SWTC.

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Essex County Council’s Actions on Wenden Road

We have now received a list of remedial actions which ECC will be undertaking during their stage 4 audit next week. These can be found here – Remedial_Actions.

Access Walden feel that the scheme in its present condition has scope for improvement and to further enhance the user experience for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists, a proposed list of changes has been discussed with various councillors and passed onto ECC. We therefore hope that these issues are taken seriously enough to be included in the above list and can be resolved very quickly.

We propose that the following improvements are made –

1. Move the one remaining bollard that is on opposite side to rest across so that all bollards line up on same side.

2. Clearer signs and on-road markings to emphasise cycle path is down hill only, and cycles & vehicles progress uphill on one way stretch.

3. Cut back verge to create wider tarmac area inside white line for pedestrians, where no footway.

4. Lower speed limit.

5. Filling potholes and fissures on middle section under trees.

6. Proactive and positive communications to explain and promote the scheme from all parties.

Wenden Road has very unique design restrictions due to being surrounded by private land and needing to accommodate two-way motor traffic to and from Abbey Farm. We feel the above improvements can be easily undertaken, bringing the Wenden Road cycle/pedestrian path in line with the safe and friendly route its users deserve.

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ECC’s response to your feedback

As promised, Access Walden passed on your great comments from our recent post (here) to ECC.  They responded very quickly indeed and we are pleased to say that they have taken all feedback seriously.  They have stated that they do not want the scheme to be perceived as misleading, confusing or poorly executed and have therefore taken away all constructive comments on signage, traffic calming and lack of footway.

It is important that we must consider the restrictions this scheme has been constructed under. There are issues on road width and two-way traffic considerations, these make the scheme difficult to implement without some compromises.  In reality, there will never be a two-way, segregated cycle/footway running along the entire length of Wenden Road, but we feel that after October half-term, some refining will be undertaken to give us a better and ultimately, a much safer route to and from the station.

You may continue to add your comments to the previous article and we will continue to respond as best we can.

 

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Update on Wenden Road: September 2015

cycleThe new cycle/pedestrian route along Wenden Road has now been in place for 2 weeks, plenty of time to bed-in and get people talking. Access Walden has been listening to the many comments on social media, in the local papers, on the street and even in the pub.  There has been some initial confusion over the signage and rights of way and we have heard comments about the lack of pedestrian facilities. There has also been much concern about many motorists contravening the one-way system.

We have learned from ECC that the scheme is still subject to a stage 4 safety audit which will give consideration to certain items including the lack of segregated footway.  David Sprunt (Principal Transport Strategy & Engagement Officer) and Chris Stevenson (Head of Commissioning Connected Essex Integrated Transport) walked the route and have taken away a number of short and long term items, but these have not been detailed and will await completion of works which also includes the link over the B1383 along Station Road to the station (giving consideration to the protected verge) and also some additional works to link the cycleway to the footpath outside the school which will take place in the October half term holiday.

We share the concern regarding the many motorists ignoring the one-way system and we have spoken with the Police and ECC about this. We are hoping that this will stop, however if you witness further contraventions it is recommended you report this to ECC highways, though you might also wish to report this to the local Police via 101.

IMG_0850Though the scheme is not ideal and lacks many of the recommendations passed onto ECC by Access Walden, we feel that it offers a much safer route to and from the station, a feeling that is echoed through much positive feedback, mostly from cyclists who have ridden the route a few times. They say that after the initial confusion, they are now experiencing the benefits of a much quieter and safer ride.

Some other comments we have received this week –

A jogger to a cyclist: “I can now jog down here because they’ve made it safe at last”.

A commuter to a friend: “I have happily converted from bus to bike”

Annie, aged 10: “I cycled along Wenden Road with my Daddy on Saturday and felt very safe”

What do you think?  Please offer your comments underneath and be sure to share this post among your friends and family.

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The Results of the Saffron Walden Cycle Survey

We had an overwhelming response to the Saffron Walden cycle survey, we now have an excellent overview of local opinion on cycle infrastructure. The results have been passed to some of our town councillors who have already set up a working group to look at cycle and pedestrian improvements in our town.

Please find the results of the survey below. We welcome any comments you may have, please post underneath.

Cycle Survey Summary

Question 12

Question 27

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Final Access Walden Photo Shoot

We need you all for the final Access Walden photo shoot!
This Sunday, 6th September at 10am, top of Wenden Road, please arrive with your bikes and families for an historical local paper photo of everybody who has supported the Wenden Road cycle path. The iconic photo we have used throughout our campaign showing all of us outside the council offices now needs to be replaced with all of us celebrating the opening of our town’s first practical cycle path, we hope to see as many of you there as possible.

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Update on Wenden Road: July 2015

Great News...Essex County Council have confirmed that the contractor has been appointed and that work will start on August 10th, to be completed by 5th September. They also confirmed that no objections were raised on the bus route change consultation, so this will be sent off for approval by the traffic commissioner.
Access Walden would be very grateful for your photos and feedback once work gets under way in just over a week’s time.
We hope to update you on progress towards the end of August, in the meantime, please enjoy your Summer!

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The Great Saffron Walden Cycle Survey

30_2014-07-07 08.35.27On behalf of some of our new Town Councillors, Access Walden are undertaking the first ever cycle survey to gauge local opinion on attitudes to cycling and cycle infrastructure in Saffron Walden.  They would like to gather public opinion on what should, or perhaps should not be done to encourage and improve cycling in Saffron Walden, with a view to formulating a Town Council policy and, if necessary, lobbying Uttlesford District Council and Essex County Council to provide better facilities. It only takes a few minutes to complete, so what are you waiting for?
CLICK HERE FOR THE SURVEY

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Update June 2015

The busRoad works wide.jpg-pwrt2 consultation mentioned in our last update (here) is underway, designs have been finalised and ECC have costings. The next stage in the process is to appoint a contractor which should be done by the end of the month/beginning of July. The contractor will estimate how much the scheme will cost, however UDC have already identified £200,000, which ECC say will be sufficient.

Once a contractor has been appointed, a better estimate of timescales can be given, but ECC have programmed the works to take place over the school summer holidays so that there will be less impact on traffic. We asked about possible disruptions to the timescales and we were told, depending on the bus consultation, there could be delays in rerouting the 301 bus.

ECC have agreed to keep us up to date, so we will send out another update once a contractor has been appointed and accurate costings and timescales have been established.

 

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Bikes vs Cars: A film by Fredrik Gertten

The bicycle, an amazing tool for change. People all over the world are moving towards a new system. Will the economic power allow it?

bikesvscarsThe documentary Bikes Vs Cars describes the struggle for cyclists in a society dominated by cars and the choices cities could make in the future. It will be showing at Saffron Screen 8pm on Sunday 3 May followed by a discussion with Access Walden, Cambridge Cycling Campaign, Walden in Transition and ECC.

 

Further information can be found on Saffron Screen’s website HERE.

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