Friday, 27 November 2009

Good news for Leyburn Road

Ever since I was elected we have been lobbying the Highways Department for effective action to be taken to solve the problem of rat-running and frequent congestion down Leyburn Road in North Road ward by drivers trying to shave a few seconds off their journey time down North Road. The situation was improved but not resolved by altering the timing on the traffic lights at the junction of North Road and Thompson Street East.

This morning Fred and I had an excellent meeting with Andy Casey, a young Highways Engineer who, having been with the Council for just a year, has not yet been infected with the "Ward Councillors shall be the last to know" virus.

His proposed solution, to which I suggested one amendment, should, we believe, solve this problem by encouraging traffic to use the uninhabited Fitzwilliam Drive instead of Leyburn Road. Until Cllr Lyonette signs the plans off, they cannot go to public consultation but we hope this will be done soon and that, if approved, work can be completed by next summer.

My suggestion was for a further slight remodelling of the junction of Fitzwilliam and Leyburn to help reduce the problems experienced in the south part of Leyburn Road where cars frequently and illegally turn left from Fitzwilliam Drive.

Residents of Leyburn and Pendleton Roads will be fully consulted and have the opportunity to comment on the plans.


Aeres said...

Quote: "The situation was improved but not resolved by altering the timing on the traffic lights at the junction of North Road and Thompson Street East"

Out of interest, what changes have been made to the timing?

The reason that I'm curious is that there used to be a left-hand filter lane from Thompson Street East to North Road which used to mean that it was quicker to go left as you didn't have to wait for the lights to change (and would therefore encourage drivers to use the main junction).

Strangely, however, this filter lane got turned into what I assume are private car park spaces for the shops and flats instead.

I know it was before your time (maybe 4-5 years ago?), but do you happen to know why this happened? It always seemed strange that a few car park spaces would be given priority over the filter lane, particularly in view of what you have written above. I'd be interested to know if this land was sold privately or whether it is still in public ownership.

Mike Barker said...

Traffic Engineers tell us that the slip road was closed because the Council were to introduce a SCOOT system the length of North Road. This is a computerised traffic control system which uses traffic lights to speed traffic flow on what is probably the busiest road into and out of town.

To make this as efficient as possible, several smaller access points on to North Road were closed, including this slip road and Holwick Road.

After the slip road was closed the time available at the lights for cars to exit Thompson Street East on to North Road was only enough to permit two or three cars to get out. So many drivers started cutting through Pendleton and Leyburn Roads to avoid this junction. This caused horrendous problems, mainly for the residents of Leyburn Road. We persuaded the Council to change the timing of the lights so that more cars at one time could get out on to North Road, which reduced the need for drivers to seek a short cut down Pendleton and Leyburn and reduced the amount of rat-running.

The dead end slip road is still in public ownership.

However, the construction of a mini roundabout at the junction of Leyburn Road and Fitzwilliam Drive, which gives priority to drivers coming from Leyburn Road has also been a cause of rat-running down Leyburn because many drivers who could use the traffic-calmed Fitzwilliam Drive (where no-one lives) instead use Pendleton and Leyburn to avoid being held up on Fitzwilliam at the mini roundabout.

Today's meeting was about resolving this problem.

Aeres said...


Thank you - very interesting and enlightening.

It's interesting that Fitzwilliam Drive is actually a 'recommended' route. As a bit of a simpleton in these types of things I had always assumed that the traffic calming priority areas on that road were there to put drivers off using it and send them directly to North Road instead - shows how much I know...

For others that may be interested, a description of how the Scoot system works is here:

Mike Barker said...

The Council wish to make the whole of the Fitzwilliam Drive area, including all the roads off it (Campion , Linacre etc), into a 20mph zone. When consulted a couple of years ago the residents of those roads said they didn't want a 20mph zone because to enforce it the police were insisting on regular road humps along their residential roads, which they didn't want.

Now, traffic surveys have proven that very few cars actually drive above 20mph anyway along Campion Road and Linacre Way, so it seems the police are now happy that these roads can be made into 20mph zones, but without the annoying humps. There will be consultation on this.

Fitzwilliam is calmed in anticipation of there being a wider 20mph zone in that area, but also because it is an inviting road for speeding, with a pedestrian crossing used by school kids crossing it. If and when the residents of Campion/Linacre approve a 20mph zone without humps, Fitzwilliam's traffic calming measures will form part of the wider speed reduction regime in this area.