Dear Joe & Gill
I would like to make some representations please and I also have some more questions:
On reading your update I was surprised when you said no formal consultation will take place prior to the experimental order, and instead it would be an ongoing consultation during the implementation of the scheme. Since I communicated your recent update to residents a number of people have expressed their concern to me that they feel this scheme is being pushed through without their having been given the chance to formally comment on the proposals. I believe that the Councillors have also received similar emails.
I have now looked back through previous correspondence and re-read the letter Gill emailed in July which I circulated to some residents at the time (I attach for your info). The letter clearly gives the impression a formal consultation was to be held after the summer holidays. (It also places the closure in a different place which has also caused confusion although Gill did clarify that in a later email). Therefore mixed messages are being sent out here.
I am still very concerned, as I have been since the beginning of this process, that there are many residents who live in roads that will be directly affected, but who are still unaware of the proposal because they don’t use email or social media. Your proposed letter notifying them of the implementation of the experimental scheme will be the first they will be informed of what is happening. I anticipate some will not be very happy at not having been formally consulted, and the scheme being experimental will not appease them.
Therefore I would urge you to please re-consider and conduct a formal consultation scheme prior to the experimental scheme beginning.
Traffic Impact studies:
The scheme is being implemented in order to stop dangerous driving in School Road between Prospect Road and Valentine Road. The main issue is when drivers meet each other head on, due to parked vehicles and the narrow road and vehicles are driven onto the pavement or road rage incidents occur. This is a real problem and I totally support the School Road Traffic Issues residents in their desire to make this road safer.
The proposed scheme to close off part of School Road further down past Greenhill Road will undoubtedly reduce traffic on the entirety of School Road as it will no longer be used as a a convenient alternative route between Kings Heath and Moseley, especially at peak times. Traffic is more likely to be local residents moving in and out of the immediate area. However traffic is still going to be able to travel two ways along that section of School Road. Having stood and watched traffic this evening , even at a quiet time of a weekend the same problem of cars not being able to pass each other is still occurring. What guarantee do we have that there will still not be incidents where cars meet each other on that section of road?
There is also the issue of where the displaced traffic will head at peak times, I would suggest the most likely routes will be Billesley Lane and Oxford Road. These roads are not so narrow as School Road, but have suffered from safety issues in the past, including a fatal accident in Billesley Lane ,before traffic calming measures were put in, so residents are understandably concerned at the impact of an increase of traffic.
Although the proposed scheme of closing School Road will be experimental, the outcome will hopefully be that it does the job and becomes permanent. Otherwise a lot of time and money will have been wasted.
Therefore I urge that an impact study be undertaken before the closure, to measure vehicles traveling along that section of road and to consider the displacement on both the nearest likely commuter roads (Billesley Lane and Oxford Road) and the adjoining residential through roads, (Ashfield, Greenhill, Blenheim, Prospect & Cambridge Roads) This would not only reassure residents but also provide a benchmark to measure against during the experiment.
Other questions I have been asked:
How will the road be closed? Will it be a physical barrier such as bollards or will it be traffic regulation signs? If the former will emergency vehicles have access and how?
When is the experimental order likely to begin? Can we please have a proposed timeline.
Thank you for your time and efforts with getting this right.
Very best wishes
Moseley Liberal Democrats