Petition - Road safety concerns – High Street, Fareham

Response from Hampshire County Council, October 2018

Thank you for your petition received on 8 October 2018.

In formulating our casualty reduction programmes we look at collisions occurring in the latest five-year period for which police records are available. The police attend and record details of all collisions resulting in injury, enabling our safety engineers to design measures to tackle the causes of these collisions, and where changing the road layout may reduce the likelihood of further collisions occurring. We do consider other reported problems, for instance concerns raised with us about near misses or collisions resulting in damage only, but placing the greater emphasis on the police database of injury collisions ensures we prioritise our limited resources where they will have the greatest impact on casualties. Looking back over a five-year period is helpful in identifying consistent factors that may be indicative of an emerging issue and ensures the measures we introduce are based on firm evidence so that we may be confident that they will be effective. We monitor the impact of measures over a further five-year period to evaluate this and where necessary introduce further measures, all aimed at reducing the number of people killed or injured on our roads.

In the five-year study period for which data is available (up to 31.07.18) there have been no reported injury accidents with recorded contributory factors that relate to any contraventions of the banned right turns at High Street/Civic Way or High Street/Osborn Road, nor any in relation to drivers failing to give way.  In this period there have also been no injury accidents reported at the High Street/West Street junction, nor in the vicinity of the zebra crossing.  Furthermore, during this time there has been only one injury collision recorded on the entire section of High Street between West Street/East Street and Civic Way.  Although this incident did take place at Civic Way junction, it occurred in November 2014 and was a rear end shunt with factors recorded by the Police that were not related to the road layout and would not be resolved with engineering measures.

In 2016, following an increase in injury accidents at the High Street / Osborn Road junction it was noted that the road markings had become extremely faded. These were replaced in September 2016 and only one accident has occurred since that time.  This is an example of where our targeted intervention with specific appropriate measures has a positive effect.

The five-year data for the entire route between West Street and Southampton Road/Wallington Way shows no collisions with excess or inappropriate speed recorded as factors. Also, previous traffic surveys on the southern section of High Street have shown mean speeds well below 30mph, which may at least be of some reassurance to residents despite the local perceptions.

The site constraints through Union Street make improvements very difficult and, with no injury collisions reported in the past five years, it does not justify inclusion on our safety programmes.

Having discussed your concerns with Fareham Borough Council, we are considering some improvements to signs and road markings through the High Street area, such as replacing the advanced give way warning sign approaching Civic Way on a yellow backing board to match the sign at the junction and replacing a faded no right turn sign. We can also repaint faded road markings, but further significant improvements to signs and markings are difficult bearing in mind the conversation status. We will further discuss this with the Borough Council's conservation officers and Fareham BC are arranging some cutting back of the foliage at this junction to improve visibility for drivers.

The zebra crossing is positioned close to the West Street junction in order to maximise its use, as experience has shown that crossings need to be placed very close to the pedestrian desire line or they will be underused.  Appropriate warning signs are in place on all approaches to the crossing.

Whilst we cannot consider including these locations on our safety programmes, I would also point out that realigning the junctions to physically prevent right turns is not practical, given the need to maintain access for larger vehicles on the remaining allowed movements.  Enforcement of the banned right turns is a Police responsibility, but unfortunately their resources do not allow the level of routine enforcement that residents may ideally want.

You have confirmed your awareness of HCC's recent Decision Report regarding the Residential 20 Pilot Programme and I would add that when setting speed limits we comply with Department for Transport criteria, which has some emphasis on the existing mean speeds and safety history.  Evidence has shown that reducing speed limits with signs alone generally achieves only a minimal reduction in speeds and this has been the case with the pilot 20mph limits that were introduced around the County in recent years.  The recent review of these schemes has shown only a marginal impact on driver behaviour.

I appreciate this will not be the response you were hoping for, but I hope this clarifies the Council's position. However, as with all locations we will continue to monitor the Police database and review any worsening or emerging trends.

Yours sincerely

Councillor Rob Humby
Executive Member for Environment and Transport