Petition – Crossing Winchester Road at Hillview Manor Park

Response from Hampshire County Council, May 2019

I refer to your petition submitted in respect of Hillview Manor Park.

In terms of setting speed limits, we comply with Department for Transport criteria, which has some emphasis on the existing mean speeds and safety history. The guidance also encourages that speed limits should be self-explaining and self-compliant, and it is therefore important that we set speed limits to reflect the road layout and conditions.

A range of factors are considered including road character and function, density and level of fronting development, accident history and road safety issues, current traffic speeds, the frequency of junctions and private entrances, and amenities that attract motorised and non-motorised road users. There are expectations that speed limits should reflect and build upon of the natural reactions of drivers to the visual cues that surround them, as this will present an enforceable regime that most drivers will respect and appreciate. For a lower, 30mph, speed limit to be viable there is an expectation that there will be a higher density of directly fronting accesses, a more developed road environment, with road geometry and alignment, local features and amenities, and traffic composition all supporting such a low speed limit.

It is important to note that simply reducing a speed limit will not necessarily reduce traffic speed unless the surrounding environment will support the lower speed limit and it will achieve driver respect. There is no benefit in setting a speed limit at a lower level where it is unlikely that it will be respected. This is because drivers, as well as other road users such as pedestrians and cyclists, will make judgements about their actions based upon their speed and perception of an approaching vehicles speed along with the speed limit. Where there is an expectation that a driver will be complying with the speed limit when it is not the case then this can contribute to misjudgements that have a negative effect on road safety.

A link to our policy can be viewed via the following link, along with further information on associated policy and criteria for specific traffic management measures.

The County Council have an adopted policy on pedestrian crossings which gives guidance on the circumstances where a controlled crossing facility, including a Zebra crossing, may be considered further. The criteria adopted takes account of the number of pedestrians crossing and the traffic flow which combined determines the level of crossing difficulty and the need for a facility to be considered. The underlying principle to the criteria is that controlled crossings will only operate satisfactorily if they are used on a regular basis throughout the day as where there are few pedestrians for most of the day drivers may not recognise the crossing in operation and pedestrian safety may be compromised. Conversely where traffic flows are lower then pedestrians can cross comfortably in the gaps in traffic flow. Furthermore, sites do need to be suitable for a controlled crossing and this means also making a technical assessment of available space as well as other factors including traffic speed, visibility, plus junctions and private entrances. It is unlikely that this location will meet the criteria and technical standards for a controlled crossing, however I will request that our Intelligent Transport Systems team carry out an initial site assessment.

There are a number of site limitations associated with the provision of a pedestrian refuge at this location that will be difficult to overcome. The road width itself is an important factor and needs to be relatively wide to make a refuge viable. The footway and limited roadside verge mean that there is little scope for widening, which would be required over some distance to allow a gentle deviation for traffic to pass the feature.

I note the request for a dropped kerb opposite the entrance and appreciate the reasons for your request. I will pass this to the local highway office for assessment.

Yours sincerely

Councillor Rob Humby
Executive Member for Environment and Transport