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MG2 (43) Access

Summary
  • No prospect of suitable vehicular access to the site directly to and from the existing village.
  • A new junction would be required from the A48.
  • The  30/60 mph speed gateway would be moved east, increasing journey times between Cardiff and the Vale.
  • 80% of vehicles travel at speeds in excess of 35 mph past the point (within the existing 30 mph zone) where a new junction would be built, and on average one vehicle a day travels at a speed in excess of 100 mph.
  • 5620 (9%) of vehicles a week are still exceeding 35 mph when they pass Dyffryn Lane towards Cowbridge.
  • A new junction as suggested by the Highways Agency would increase the crossing distance (and time) for pedestrians of the A48 at this point.


A full and comprehensive Scoping Study with regards to traffic has yet to be agreed with the Local Planning / Highway Authority and Transport Assessment to evaluate the affects the development will have on the surrounding Highway network.  A future developer is expected to address some of the issues by carrying out various improvements.

There is no access via an adopted highway from Ger-y-Llan into the village.  The private access road leading to the field according to the Highways Authority does not meet the required standards for publicly maintained highway.  Further, the Highways Authority has stated that there is insufficient spare capacity for additional turning movements via the existing junctions onto the A48 - there would be issues with safety and the free flow of traffic along the A48.

"However, the highway Authority would consider a new access along the site frontage with the A48"

The access to the site would be from a new junction by Minks Hollow.  The name Minks Hollow is significant, because the road travels into a dip at this point.  Vehicles are travelling downhill from both directions.  The entrance to MG 2 (43) would be just within the existing 30 mph zone, however, the Highway Authority advises that the 30/60 mph gateway would most likely have to be moved eastwards, back towards Cardiff.  This means that vehicles will be slowing down on a downhill section of road, with the resulting noise and particle matter created by vehicles braking.

Further, extending the 30mph zone eastward, will increase journey times from Cardiff and beyond to St Nicholas and destinations further west.  Travel times are important and their value can be found in property prices.  Increasing travel times will have a negative impact on house building/the property market in the Vale

Speed
Wenvoe Ward Councillor Jonathan Bird raised traffic speed at the Vale of Glamorgan Council Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) on 1st November 2011.  The minutes state:

"Speed data through St. Nicholas does not indicate that there is a significant problem with both average and 85th percentile speeds below the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) prosecution levels.  No further action proposed."


The Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan of 2009 states, "The A48 dominates the village and provides busy traffic which often appears to ignore the 30 mph speed limit through the village"

There are figures from a speed audit earlier in 2013 at the location shown in red.  Whilst the speed audit by the eastbound bus stop in the village in 2013 also found average speeds and 85th percentile speeds to be satisfactory, a very large number of vehicles were exceeding the speed limit.  Motorists caught traveling at 35 to 44 mph in a 30mph area are sent on speed awareness courses, and those traveling at 45mph+ face more serious action.




Figures from a speed audit this autumn by the Vale of Glamorgan Council at the edge of the 30 mph limit, by Minks Hollow show that only 6% of vehicles are traveling within the 30mph speed limit at the village gateway.  80% are traveling at speeds in excess of 35 mph   What may shock residents and parents of children attending the school is that at just before 3:30pm, the time that the school day is finishing, 
the council has recorded a vehicle traveling at 106.3 mph as it entered the village.   On average, according to VoG figures, there is on average one vehicle a day traveling at excess of 100 mph by Minks Hollow/the proposed entrance to a new development.


Junction Design
Given the exceptionally high speeds of traffic entering the village the Highways Authorities answer is to build a junction that can deal with high speeds by Minks Hollow - rather than to tackle high speeds.

The Highway Authorities stated plan to deal with speeding traffic at a new junction is to protect vehicles turning right into a new development with a "Ghost Island" as set out in the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges , TD 42 / 95 – Geometric Design of Major / Minor Priority Junctions (drawing below).  This will require the A48 by the new junction to be widened to accommodate a minimum carriageway width of 3.65m ( + 0.5m buffer zone ) and a  3.5m wide right turning holding lane - a total width of 11.8 metres.  


2.19 The use of ghost islands on unrestricted rural single carriageway roads can, in certain circumstances, pose safety problems.  In situations where overtaking opportunity on the major road on either side of the junction is restricted, the presence of a widened carriageway, albeit with hatch markings, could result in overtaking manoeuvres which may conflict with right turns into and out of the minor road.

Today, the A48 is 9.8 metres wide at this point.  the Highways Authority say that the "Ghost Island" will incorporate "a safe pedestrian / cycle friendly central crossing Island(sic)"  The estimated cost of a Ghost Island is £30,000 (source: TD 42 / 95).  This crossing island, if in the A48, is likely to have pedestrian guard rails (source: TD 42 / 95  4.3 j), however, it's more likely that the Highways Agency is referring to a separation island across the proposed new residential street, as in this diagram:



The Highways Agency reference the Manual for Roads which states, "5.16  In urban areas, where large numbers of pedestrians are present, guard rails or other deterrents should be used to prevent indiscriminate crossing of the carriageway. "  Current thinking is that guardrails should be removed, as on Kensington High Street in London and many other places around the UK and Europe.

There is nothing in the LDP to tackle the high speeds of vehicles in St Nicholas and no mention of the Manual for Streets.  The A48 is considered a road with a primary and dominant function as a traffic corridor (with St Nicholas on either side), and not a street where people live - which is a part of St Nicholas and vehicles passing through are "guests" .

The DfT's Manual for Streets provides evidence demonstrating a link between road width and speed.  Widening the road to accommodate a Ghost Island will increase the crossing distance (and time) of the A48 for pedestrians and do nothing to tackle the cause of the excessive speed.


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