Reduce the Speed Limit on Stapehill Road from 40mph to 30mph

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Stapehill Road is a narrow lane with no pavements. The lane is a major traffic route between Ham Lane and Wimborne Road West in Ferndown, Wimborne, Dorset used by an average of 5799 vehicles a day and as a direct result, is dangerously unsafe for pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders, mobility scooters and residents and their visitors entering and leaving their drives.

We request that Dorset County Council take immediate action to exercise a duty of care and safety for all users of Stapehill Road by reducing the current speed limit along its whole length from 40 mph to 30 mph or less supported by the necessary means and calming measures to enforce the new speed limit and to provide safe passage for pedestrians.

Justification

1)    Stapehill Road is narrow, averaging between 4.8 – 5.3 metres wide and has no pavement facility and a number of bends. Non-motorised users ie pedestrians, dog walkers, cyclists, horse riders, mobility scooters, etc are in great danger because there is little or no room to accommodate them when there are two opposing oncoming vehicles or when they are near a bend where the visibility is limited. This deters these groups of people from using the road to access and use local facilities such as the local Old Thatch pub, the bus stop, the church, Knoll Gardens and inhibits the development of a village ‘community’.

2)    Stapehill Road residents and their visitors face considerable danger and risk leaving and entering their driveways due to visibility constraints and the speed of oncoming vehicles which does not leave enough time to complete the manoeuvre safely. This danger is not limited to Stapehill Road residents and businesses, but also those who join Stapehill Road from Award Road, Keepers lane and Pompeys Lane.

3)    Stapehill Road is crossed by footpaths and bridleways, but the speed of the traffic discourages and inhibits people from continuing to use these facilities to enjoy the local countryside.

4)    Stapehill Road falls into the Department for Transport classification of a ‘village’ where there are more than 20 residences within a 600 metre length of road and where the speed limit is recommended to be 30 mph. Stapehill Road is 1709 metres in length with a total of 33 properties distributed over both sides of the road. There are over 20 residential dwellings, as well as additional businesses and a care home within 600 metres of its length thereby classifying it as a ‘village’. 

 5)    Stapehill Road is similar in character, composition and structure to other roads/lanes in the district ie Grange, Harts Lane, Lodge Road all of which have a 30 mph speed limit. 30 mph is the speed limit drivers expect on such a road and this is reinforced during Community Speed Watch sessions on Stapehill Road, where on seeing the CSW team, the majority of the drivers slow to 30 mph believing this to be the speed limit.  

6)    Stapehill Road is increasingly used as a cut through by drivers looking to bypass the terrible congestion which occurs during rush hour and at other times at the Canford Bottom roundabout. The volume of traffic will only increase with the planned and scheduled development of the Uddens Industrial Estate and Stapehill Abbey, where there are 40 plus additional residences planned that will exit onto Stapehill Road. Congestion also occurs at junctions at either end of Stapehill Road with Wimborne Road West and Ham Lane.  

7)    Stapehill Road’s width and its limited visibility, prevents and discourages drivers from overtaking one another. If Stapehill Road were to be designed using today’s Highways Design criteria it would need to be at least 7.3 metres wide to support a 40 mph speed limit.

8)    Analysis completed by the DCC Highways Department in September 2017 show that the daily average two-way motorised vehicle traffic volume of Stapehill Road is 5799 units during the weekday and 2018 units at the weekend. Of these users, 85% of the vehicles are travelling within the 40 mph speed limit which proves the majority of vehicles will travel at the stated speed limit when unenforced.

9)    Community Speed Watch sessions on Stapehill Road has shown that over the 20 sessions completed in 4 months from February to May 2018 where 5949 vehicles were measured, 117 vehicles were travelling in excess of 47 mph ie exceeding the permissible speed limit of 40 mph plus 10% plus 2 mph.

10)  Stapehill Road’s edges are deteriorating badly creating cracks and further reduction in the road’s usable width. This damage is a direct consequence of the high volume of traffic using the road, the speed at which they travel and that they have to drive close to the verges to avoid hitting one another (which leaves no room for other non-motorised road users). This damage introduces further risk for non-motorised users of the road ie if as a direct consequence of the road’s condition they stumble or fall over in the road or as a cyclist may need to suddenly swerve into the path of a car to avoid a pothole.

Over the last 5 years there have been 5 recorded incidents on Stapehill Road of which only one was serious. It is the unanimous opinion of all the residents that it is only a matter of time before a serious accident or fatality occurs. This could be avoided or indeed greatly minimised by a reduction in speed limit to 30 mph.



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