Stop Ewell Village Bus Gate
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Sign this petition to stop the erection of Bus Gate in the heart of Ewell Village
(do not send any money / do not chip in - this is not a fundrasing petition)
Note: the image is for illustration purpose only / to show the location of the 'gate'. We as of now do not know what it will look like
As you will hopefully now be aware, the Surrey Highways Team at Surrey County Council have confirmed the installation of a ‘bus gate’ on Ewell High Street (approximately outside the Neapolitan Kitchen restaurant) within the
next three weeks. This bus gate will allow buses, emergency vehicles and cyclists to pass through. No other traffic will have access through the gate from either direction.
If you would like to object to this plan, please do so urgently via email to the following address. (Please feel free to copy any of the rationale included in this notice).
The impact and concern of this proposal is that the current traffic flow through the High Street (highlighted in red below) will instead divert along the small residential roads of Kingsway, The Rise/The Mount/West Street (in blue) to bypass the bus gate. Cars will continue to be able to drive down the High Street, provided they turn off to the right, back towards the A24 bypass, at the Cheam Road junction (at The Star).
This scheme is being initiated under formal cover of the Central Government’s COVID-19 based request for local authorities to introduce social distancing measures to try and increase the amount of usable space for cyclists and
pedestrians in towns and retail areas. Clive Woodbridge (Ewell Grove School Governor and local Councillor) believes this will have a positive effect on the Village: he has quoted the following five issues that have previously been
identified within the Village that he thinks this scheme will also address: Pollution, Traffic levels, Speed, Rat-Run and Feeling Safe.
All residents will agree with the list of issues affecting the Village. However, the current bus gate proposal resolves none of them, worsens some, and simply shifts problems to other, less well-equipped residential roads in the Village.
Listed overleaf are some of the obvious pitfalls of this plan. You may have others to share.
If you would like to be added to a local residents’ Whatsapp group to discuss ideas, issues and provide any updates, then please email the following address with your name, address and mobile phone number to be added to the
Ewell Grove Primary and Nursery School
When Ewell Grove school reopens at the start of September 2020, parents have already been instructed that, due to COVID19, they will need to continue to drop off children from the school gates and cannot enter the playground.
This means that children and their parents shall continue to queue outside the school at staggered times along West Street, where the pavement measures little more than 1.3m, and the existing road is very narrow and struggles to accommodate the width of two cars.
Furthermore, the majority of the children commute from West Ewell via the alleyway from Garbrand Walk, and have to cross West Street at this point to get to school. There is no delineated crossing for the children to use and the
ineffective speed bumps at this point on West Street (recently replaced) do not slow traffic. There is no pavement on West Street between Ewell Grove and Tudor Close (as well as opposite The Rise). This forces children and parents into the road when walking along this stretch.
Although under adult supervision, given the children attending the school are of such a young age it will be difficult for them to immediately adjust to the increased traffic on a road with which they are already familiar. The increased risk to their safety appears to have been completely ignored by both the Ewell Village Residents Association and the Highways team at Surrey County Council.
With reduced traffic on the High Street, pollution there will obviously fall. However this pollution (even at slightly reduced levels) will simply be displaced to the smaller residential streets of Kingsway, The Rise/The Mount, and West Street – churning the additional car pollution directly onto the playground of Ewell Grove School and gardens of the John Gale Court residential home.
Traffic Levels / Congestion
Mr Woodbridge asserts that his personal view is that people will only attempt this route once, quickly realise the carnage (or “pinch points” as Mr Woodbridge describes them) caused on these roads, and will not attempt it again.
He has, however, accepted that he may be wrong here, but that they will have the opportunity to “monitor and assess before schools return” – i.e. during the month of August. Given that this plan has been approved without any review or local consultation, on what basis will this be monitored? Without a pre-gate data-set how do they intend to compare or measure the impact to traffic/speed/pollution and the safety of children?
In addition, as the quietest commuting month in the year, August is the worst month to perform such a review as it is not representative of the other 11 months. Given that they anticipate the bus-gate being in place for a minimum of three months (early August to early November), by not performing a formal assessment beforehand to consider the wider consequences could prove negligent.
Congestion on the aforementioned roads will also be horrendous. With the recent parking restrictions on West Street, shoppers and commuters are now parking predominantly on The Rise and The Mount. This means that for the large majority of these roads (as well as the narrow entrances to both West Street and Kingsway) traffic is unable to freely pass in both directions (often requiring cars to mount the pavement). The congestion and damage to air quality this additional traffic will cause is unimaginable. Add to this the reopening of schools (Glyn, Ewell Grove and
Ewell Castle) in September, and “bin day” on a Wednesday morning and we have the potential for gridlock.
For all the issues identified above – what are SCC Highways Team hoping to achieve with the bus gate given it is formally being deployed as a COVID 19 response? The only gain is to allow people to potentially step into the road when walking on the narrow stretch of pavement opposite the Neapolitan Kitchen restaurant (provided there are no buses or cyclists passing at the time). The rest of the High Street will be unchanged as cars, buses and cyclists can continue to use it. Businesses will arguably suffer (not benefit) as a result of the drop in through-traffic.
The residents would like to see a full assessment undertaken to understand the rationale for this scheme. What gains have they identified that outweighs the increased risk to child safety and local residents as highlighted above?
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