Objection to Dunnington traffic lights

Text of letter sent by Action Access A1079 to City of York Council to object to their proposals for traffic lights on the A1079 at Dunnington.

TRANSPORT & SAFETY
DIRECTORATE OF CITY STRATEGY
CITY OF YORK COUNCIL
YORK
YO1 7ZZ                                                                                 2 September 2006
 
Dear Sir,
 

Ref:     Dunnington – Proposed improvements at the York Road junction with the A1079 (Hull Road)

 

About Action Access A1079 (AAA1079)

 

Action Access A1079 is a Regional Community Partnership taking action to address local issues about the access to, safety of and congestion on the A1079.

Membership of Action Access A1079 is open to all interested parties and includes representatives from most of the Parish Councils and regeneration partnerships between Grimston Bar and Beverley.

Since the group’s formation, there has been full support of the emergency services and others with interests in managing the road. Local MPs have also taken up the cause and the issue of the road is already being discussed at Westminster with questions being asked in the House of Commons.

The group's aims are:

i) To improve the safety record by making access onto, from and across the road safer and by reducing the delays on the route by various means.

ii) To improve the flow on the road in order to improve the economic outlook from, to and within the region.

iii) To improve the sustainability of the area.

 

 

Overview of problems associated with the A1079

The fundamental problems with the A1079 are:

(i)         that in the East Riding housing development has been allowed in all the towns and villages along the route without the necessary development of the infrastructure as a whole. Growth over the last 20 years has been one of the highest in the country. This has meant an increased population in towns and villages that are unable to provide work for the new home owners. The A1079 has therefore become a major commuter route.

(ii)        that the road connects the largest port complex in the country with the most popular and internationally recognized tourist destination in the region. Freight passes from the ports to the North East of the country via the A1079 and many holidaymakers use the road to access and egress the country.

(iii)       that the road passes through a rural economy with consequent movements of large and slow moving vehicles such as tractor/ trailer units, potato pickers and combine harvesters.

(iv)       that both Hull and York are economically important cities with the consequent need for road transport between them.

(v)        that the road is essentially single carriageway with only two short sections of dual carriageway between York and Hull. It is notable that at each end of the road it is deemed necessary for this vital route to access dual carriageways into both York and Hull.

 

Historical responses to the problems of the A1079

Initial results of AAA1079 research into the effects of this response

The responses that have been made over the years to reduce congestion and improve road safety have been to reduce and control speed, or to stop traffic altogether. This has not worked. There are still far too many accidents causing far too many casualties and fatalities.

Ambulance statistics indicate that over the last 7 years of full statistics (1999 to 2005) there are an average of 90 accidents per year – or 3 accidents per mile per year for the stretch between Grimston Bar and Dunswell roundabouts. It is important to recognize that these accidents have required ambulance attendance and it is likely that many more accidents have occurred that have not required emergency services. If we use standard Health and Safety methodology, we could estimate perhaps ten times this number.

Furthermore, the increased travel times are increasing driver frustration and fatigue and affecting local economies. Although we have no hard evidence, we have witnessed a notable movement of major employers away from the rural areas and this may be in part due to the difficulties of access.

 

AAA1079 submission in response to the proposals

It is our contention that placing traffic lights at the York Road junction will not solve the problems that they are intended to. Eastbound traffic is already controlled to an extent by the lights at Grimston Bar roundabout. Westbound traffic frequently builds up and queues past the York Road junction as a result of the lights at Grimston Bar. Our partners at Dunnington advise that motorists are, in the main, polite enough to allow vehicles out of York Road and onto the A1079.

We have concerns that while this may be seen as a solution today, it may not be a long term solution given the anticipated growth throughout the region in the next 20 years.

We also have concerns that it will increase “rat running” through Dunnington via Common Lane to access the A166 which is not traffic light controlled at the Grimston Bar roundabout. It seems almost too obvious that it will increase this “rat running” in the opposite direction especially during the evening rush hour as there will be fewer traffic lights to deal with. Are there any strategic plans in place to deal with this?

Dunnington Parish Council has carried out its own survey. This shows that a large number of vehicles turn left at Grimston Bar to head towards Leeds. They have developed a plan to introduce a slip road by-passing the traffic lights at Grimston Bar specifically for this traffic. This will ease congestion and reduce journey times. Similar schemes are in place in other parts of the country and have been proven to work.

We would urge you to consider very carefully before implementing another “stop and slow” measure that will inevitably lead to further congestion on the road. Our initial statistical analysis indicates that this could increase the number of accidents. Instead, we would encourage you to move towards implementing congestion relief measures that will improve traffic flow safely.

 

AAA1079 invitation to enter into dialogue

Finally, Action Access A1079 would be very grateful if a dialogue could be developed between our group and your good selves. We already have an excellent relationship with your counterparts in the East Riding. We recognize that problems arising from changes in the East Riding affect your planning and vice versa. If the problem with the road as a whole is to be solved, it will require “cross border” agreement and solidarity. Only in this way can we hope to achieve the investment that we believe is necessary.

 

Yours sincerely,

 
Captain Grahame R Hicks CIOSH EnvDip
Chairman

Action Access A1079 (AAA1079)

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