Council reducing hedge maintenance schedules, the changing of a single lane + filter lane into two full lanes - resulting in reduced road widths - possibly causing visibility splay to fall below guidelines.
Repeated requests to perform hedge maintenance are denied resulting in a junction that is dangerous for residents.The Barrows
A couple of years ago the council changed a two-way road (two single lanes with a filter lane) into a single lane + dual lane in order to relieve congestion. This was performed near a roundabout, and a junction into a residential area which serves around 120 dwellings.
The total width of the road was never increased, so the resulting widths of the existing lanes was reduced to accommodate 1+2 lanes.
Regular maintenance of the greenery to the right of the junction ceased prior to that, with the council now stating they only perform maintenance once a year (June) or as and when they see it necessary. This is despite myself filling in council website Hedge Maintenance requests around 2 or 3 times per year, when the hedge growth is excessive.
This is how the junction looked in 2012
and this is how it looked after the alterations were made:
You can clearly see that the width of the road coming off the roundabout has decreased. The original dashed white line is still visible in the middle of the diagonal thatching.
Now look what happens with this reduced road width AND when the greenery on the right is overgrown:
In the second picture above, on the right you can see a lampost. This is Lampost #4 and in that picture the greenery has been cut back about a foot. Now look at the first picture and try and locate lampost 4. That image is a mild version. Sometimes the greenery sticks out further than that.
You can have a look at this junction on google maps here:The Barrows / Clover Court JunctionVisibility Splays
I can not find a definitive answer to this but various guidelines from councils, the highways department seem to indicate that the Y distance should be 70m. That distance may have been well within parameters when the housing development was built but since the road width has reduced and the the growth in greenery I believe this is now not within parameter.
Even if it were within parameter this is still a dangerous junction since the road layout was changed. If exiting The Barrows and you wish to turn right you have to look right, look left and hope that there are no late lane switchers from the far lane into your lane you require (the middle lane).
Sometimes vehicles approaching from the left stop before the junction to allow you out. This infuriates some drivers behind that vehicle in that they they switch to the far lane, undertake the vehicle that has held back for you, and then dart back into the middle lane as you enter it.
Vehicles coming off the roundabout are sometimes travelling too fast. Even those doing 25-30 are scary but some treat it like a race track (after having waited at the roundabout, which is often delayed).
Sometimes large vehicles (it is a bus route and there is a Tesco Express, which has deliveries via 18 wheelers) come off the roundabout and they only have seconds to react if a vehicle exiting The Barrows has edged out.
Some residents have given up trying to turn right and now turn left, go down to a smaller roundabout and then double back the same way. But even doing that is fraught because you can look right (clear), proceed to travel left and a vehicle is ramming up behind you.Sign Light Demolished
In July 2012 the sign lamp as shown in picture 1 was demolished. A vehicle came off the roundabout and collided with the pedestrian island, flattening the lamp and wrecking the front of the car. Imagine what would happen if a vehicle exiting The Barrows was hit by that car.
Here is an FOI I submitted about it. Junction Visibilty / Hedge Maintenance
Note the date. That was five years ago. They still won't perform regular hedge maintenance and since that FOI the road was narrowed.
I can't get much sense out of the council. The local councillor seems sympathetic but the council view is:" It has been explained to me that although the team do monitor the trees and hedgerows, their plan is the same as in previous years which is to carry out the works in June."
"The team assure me that as well as monitoring the growth of the vegetation which does vary according to the weather each year, safety considerations are paramount in their assessments. I do know the area you refer to well and have shared your concern and frustration when trying to exit some roads but I am reassured to know that there are no reports of accidents due to these circumstances. The assessments of the highways teams affirm the view of the Green Spaces team that the hedges do not dangerously obscure visibility for drivers."
This is so frustrating. In the spring and summer the hedge growth is excessive and I don't like the odds that one day someone is going to get hit by a vehicle from the right. The council's view that "there have been no accidents" (even though I referred them to the pedestrian island / sign post demolition) sounds crass and in no way reassures that no accident will ever happen there.Other Considerations
In the Highways Agency document TD 41/95
) is this:"4.2
It is essential that visibility splays remain unobstructed by vegetation. Trees and shrubs shall not be planted within 3 m back from the edge of the visibility splay. This is to allow for future growth to take place which will not impede the required standards of visibility."
Is this still valid? Can I use this to go back to the council and get them to finally do something about this (seasonally) dangerous junction before there is a serious accident?