Transport & Parking
Report from the DRA Spring 20-20 Newsletter:
Hertfordshire County Council have announced a consultation on local transport plans such as A1 corridor (Hatfield to Stevenage), East/West Links and a Rail Strategy. These are largely long term aspirations to improve efficiency/quality and access to public transport with better pedestrian and cycle ways. More specifically, work will begin in March to convert A1 Welwyn to Stevenage to a 3 lane motorway by upgrading the hard shoulder to provide the extra lane.
The double yellow lines proposals around the village are all now fully approved and awaiting implementation, some of the sites have had pre- marking installed to guide crews so it should all happen on a dry day soon.
Herts County Council transport growth plans are sound and sensible, basically following government guidelines around seeking to increase sustainability and movement options away from car based. Specific proposals for Digswell aren’t fully spelled out but focus on improving access to the station and cycling and crossing facilities, I will try to find out more but we are talking about a 2-3 year time window if approved.
Report to the 2018 AGM:
PARKING AND TRANSPORT
It has been an interesting first full year in the role where my major task was to undertake a survey of all residents in the DRA area, around 670 properties, to see what, if any, issues or concerns they may have particularly with parking in the area.
The good news is that the vast majority of you were sufficiently content with the current situation as to not see the need to reply, of the circa 40 households that did reply a number of themes were evident.
Summary of actions identified from survey results
Whilst response levels are modest, nonetheless they do highlight areas and locations of concern that the DRA believe warrant further investigation and consideration such as:
1. Station Road and New Road – location and use of parking bays to be reviewed, Station Road seems to require some parking for residents who do not have adequate or any off street parking, this is not the same for New Road of course. Both locations have speed management concerns that do require some intervention.
2. Cubitts Close – whilst views are split there is clearly a desire for some change in controls as the impact of commuters is felt throughout, those happy to leave things alone nonetheless still manage around commuter inconvenience.
3. Harmer Green Lane – this needs considering in 3 sections, northern section from Village Hall upwards perhaps could benefit from Quiet Lane classification, middle section be shop and station needs parking controls timing at the very least changed to assist shop usage, and lower section from Station Road to New Road needs lightening up by cutting back overhanging trees and vegetation and better provision for pedestrians, perhaps a painted footway?
4. The other block of peripheral roads above (Sharmans, St Ives, Honeymead, Digswell Lane) would need careful consideration, particularly if Cubitts Close were to have changes to avoid spill out of commuters further.
5. Hertford Road – speed management along length and at Station Road mini roundabout needs review.
I determined that the best way forward is to meet with representatives of both Hertfordshire County Council and Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council with councillors and officers to agree processes, timetable etc.…..
Progress has been mixed in pursuing these aims though.
Just for clarity and your information please note that Hertfordshire CC are the highways, traffic and street authority for the county area, with Welwyn Hatfield responsible for most off street car parking such as that by the viaduct/tennis club, they also act as agents though for Hertfordshire in regard to on street parking management and scheme development etc. Enforcement is carried out by a private company (NSL) through a contract run by East Herts DC, complicated eh!!
Hertfordshire CC, in the guise of our local county councilor Richard Smith have been helpful, co-operative and interested throughout our discussions and have principally been concerned with looking at double yellow line issues where a number of changes have been proposed to improve safety and are going through a consultation process prior to any introduction, so if you get or have received a letter about this please consider it carefully as to how it might affect you and others!
My engagement with Welwyn Hatfield has been more protracted and ultimately less successful, they have fairly recently taken a cabinet committee decision as to how to prioritie their work for the next year or so and Digswell does not feature strongly in the short term, the criteria for inclusion in the work programme seems to be concentrated on the number of comments/requests received, rather than on the merit or otherwise of any particular case, so we might like to consider individual requests being forwarded for when the programme is next reviewed to seek better prioritisation.
Other matters like the Quiet Lane classification and recently consideration of reduction of the 60mph speed limit in part of Digswell Park Road, have been pushed back by the county council as not meeting policy objectives or likely to reduce accidents!
Also there has been some increased vegetation management in the lower section of HGL as sought and I now we are pursuing other similar initiatives, on the route to St Johns School which Katy Hayes is leading on.
I have seen very recently a petition to reduce the 70mph speed limit outside Sherrardswood School, I would suggest that supporting that is a good thing for our local community overall.
I hope this provides a useful insight into what has been going on and which I will continue with, plus of course I am still trying to make sense of what is really happening with our local rail services which have been a national disgrace over the last 6 months.
MIKE FREESTONE. Lead on Transport & Parking
Reports in 2017
Dear Digswell Residents and Businesses,
The Digswell Resident Association are aware of some specific concerns regarding:
- parking in and around the Digswell Village and
- speed of traffic in some roads in particular Hertford Road and New Road
The Digswell Resident Association committee would like to seek your views and opinions on these issues to add strength to on-going discussions with the Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, who act as Agents for Hertfordshire County Council in our area. Further details on these issues and how to get in contact with us are given below. It would be extremely helpful if any replies could be sent by 1st December 2017. In addition, these topics will be discussed at our up-coming DRA AGM on 14th November at 8:00pm.
Parking in and around Digswell Village
As many of you will recall it has been around 10 years since many of the parking controls were introduced into the areas around the station and village more generally. These were primarily designed to remove areas of unsafe parking and to control the impact of commuter parking for our safety and convenience.
Currently we have a mix of restrictions including:
- double yellow lines where it is simply unsafe to park;
- single yellow lines with a mix of hours of restriction (including 2 hour restrictions to discourage commuters);
- limited stay bays such as outside the village shop by the station;
- resident parking areas where a permit is needed for on street parking;
- continuous white centre lines on parts of New Road;
- as well as some unrestricted lengths of kerb where anyone can park at any time.
Suggested Areas for Review
A few examples of concerns have already been noted including:
- Changes to the limited stay bay outside Welwyn North Stores to assist parking access to the shop – currently space is often taken over from around 10:30am;
- Commuter parking problems and nuisance in Cubitts Close;
- General review of lengths of yellow lines and appropriateness of areas left for parking, e.g. Station Road and New Road;
If changes are made then proper consideration should be made of potential knock on effects in Digswell overall area.
It would be helpful if residents could email to: email@example.com any views and thoughts on the parking and general traffic situation so that we can collate a file to present to WHBC, of course we would also appreciate any conversations that might help distil and clarify opinions.
In any reply please let us know your name and address, obviously it would also be very helpful if you could tell us the number of cars usually at your property including how many are often left on the road (daytime and overnight) together with your views on the current arrangements and any changes you think might be helpful.
Speeding and the Drivesafe Initiative
Research has shown that there is a significant difference in the probability of fatalities between pedestrians involved in collisions at 30mph versus 40mph. Despite this, residents including school children, dog walkers, recreational park users and commuters all have to walk the very narrow pavements in our village with cars speeding past them often well in excess of 30 mph and the 20mph recommended speed outside the school.
We are currently in the process of seeking approval and funding to improve the road safety for pedestrians. We would like to introduce new traffic calming measures and/or widen the footways. Traffic calming measures could include speed bumps, speed camera, changing road layouts or simply more road signs. If you have any thoughts or ideas, please share these via e-mail to Katy Hayes:firstname.lastname@example.org
Digswell also has an active Drivesafe team. Drivesafe is a Police and Crime Commissioner initiative which allows local residents to use roadside speed monitoring equipment with the aim of educating drivers and making local roads safer.
The Drivesafe team are always in need of more volunteers to help, your commitment can be as little as 1 hour a year. To find out more information please contact Katy Hayes.
Mike Freestone Katy Hayes
Transport and Parking Lead DRA Drive safe Lead DRA
Report to the 2016 AGM:
We have three Police-approved DriveSafe sites in Digswell – two on the Hertford Road, and one on New Road. Looking at the figures generated by our sessions, it shows that the more we go out there, the more we detect and report speeding drivers.
We currently have two DriveSafe Leads, but urgently need another Lead Volunteer to be able to set up and with support run their own DriveSafe sessions. To support us every so many weeks, it only takes an hour of your time to make a bigger impact.
Interested in joining the DriveSafe Team? Contact: Derek Skingle - email@example.com
Following the above DriveSafe sessions, and also our campaigning to Herts County Councillor Richard Smith, we now have 20mph (non-enforceable) signs installed that link into the current school flashing lights outside the school on the Hertford Road.
This hopefully this will educate the majority of drivers to slow down past the school. This is a start, and although not ideal, it is better than nothing.
Parking on the Hertford Road is still an issue during school drop off and pick up times. Most parents are responsibly parking elsewhere and walking to the school, but there are still a few that are illegally blocking the chicanes and also outside the school gates.
Unfortunately, the Herts Police & Crime Commissioner David Lloyd has refused to allow us to create and run a Lorry Watch Scheme. There has been some improvement in passing HGV traffic along the Hertford Road and over the 7.5t weight limit on the bridge. However, due to more and more building work taking place in the village, we are still seeing overweight lorries taking illegal shortcuts. HCC and the Police are aware of our concerns.
Regards, Derek Skingle
Annual Report on Transport and Parking November 2015
Since the beginning of 2015, we have run 12 DriveSafe roadside sessions, culminating in a total of 354 vehicles being reported for speeding at 36mph and above. The worst culprit was recorded at 68mph on the Hertford Road.
We now have three Police approved DriveSafe sites in Digswell – two on the Hertford Road, and one on New Road. Looking at the figures generated by our sessions, it shows that the more we go out there, the more we detect and report speeding drivers.
We currently have two DriveSafe Leads, but urgently need more roadside volunteers to support us for an hour every so many weeks, to make a bigger impact.
Interested in joining the DriveSafe Team?
Following the above DriveSafe sessions, and also our campaigning to Herts County Councilor Richard Smith, he has been instrumental in organising 20mph (non-enforceable) signs that link into the current school flashing lights.
This hopefully this will educate the majority of drivers to slow down past the school. This is a start, and although not ideal, it is better than nothing. These signs should be installed by the end of March 2016.
A walkabout review took place in August involving the DRA and Councilor Richard Smith to examine current timed parking zones and other environmental issues. It was felt that the current timed parking at the viaduct car park of 09:00 was too much in conflict with parents needs to meet the drop off time of 08:50, leaving very little time to get back to their vehicles.
We need to encourage parents to park away from the school as much as possible. As such we have applied to amend the time restriction to be 10:00 – 12:00, and are currently awaiting a decision on this from WHBC.
Some 18 environmental defects were also recorded during the above walkabout, ranging from potholes, blocked drains, signage and other highway defects including lights being on all day. These have all been reported to HCC and WHBC, the responsible infrastructure owners. Whilst some defects have been rectified, a lot have not and we are in contact with the authorities over them.
Derek Skingle -firstname.lastname@example.org