Agenda Item No. ENVIRONMENT, CULTURE & TOURISM SCRUTINY PANEL DATE 16 December 2008 11 REPORT OF Executive Director Environmental Services SUBJECT Poplar Road, Cleethorpes : Control of HGV Traffic - Options STATUS Open EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The report sets out suggestions for amendment to weight limits and waiting restrictions in Poplar Road in response to concerns raised by residents and their representatives. MATTER(S) FOR CONSIDERATION Poplar Road already enjoys the benefit of a weight limit but it is reported that this is subject to abuse. The suggestions are designed to minimise the level of this abuse. Previous proposals to amend waiting restrictions have resulted in objections being lodged. There, however, remains a desire to increase the on-street parking capacity. RISK ASSESSMENT Crime and Disorder – no proposals are made that potentially impact on Crime and Disorder. Human Rights – Any promoted form of action is required not to interfere with the established rights of road users, residents and businesses in the area.. Diversity – national exemptions to forms of waiting restrictions exist for disabled “blue badge” holders. Value for Money – Consideration of solutions to a variety of problems in the same area will enable works to be undertaken together this presenting cost saving opportunities. Impact on the social, economic and environmental well-being of the Borough – the suggested forms of action directly arise from consultation with the community. 1. BACKGROUND AND ISSUES 1.1 At its meeting of 30 September 2008 this Panel considered the results of a survey taken of residents regarding traffic issues in Poplar Road. The survey specifically focused on the issue of HGV usage. Results from the survey indicate that a significant majority of respondents (87.5%) feel that HGV usage of the street present problems to residents. A summary of the residents comments are given as Appendix 1 to this report. 1.2 It was resolved that a further report was required outlining options for restrictions in the street (minute SPEN.32 refers). 1.3 Since 2002 a weight limit has existed for Poplar Road between its junctions with Grimsby Road and Neptune Street and for the whole length of the short Poplar Grove cul-de-sac. This restriction prohibits any heavy commercial vehicle from proceeding in the specified lengths or road except when accessing properties on, abutting or adjacent to the roads. 1.4 The weight limit was introduced in response to problems associated with vehicles servicing the nearby industrial areas of Neptune Street and Norfolk Lane. Since its introduction development has taken place to the site of the former Cleethorpes Borough Council depot. This area is now known as the Poplar Road Business Park and is solely accessed via Poplar Road. A consequence of this will be an increase in HGV traffic using sections of Poplar Road in travelling to and from the Business Park. 1.5 Since 2002 works have taken place at the Grant Street car park to cater for the parking of coaches and HGVs. Signing to the car park is present on High Street. 1.6 The Business Park and lorry parking facility may have contributed to an increasing HGV usage of Poplar Road. 1.7 Residents have indicated what they wish to see as a solution to their problems. Each option is considered below. 1.8 Total Ban on HGVs 1.8.1. The existing Traffic Regulation Order imposing a weight limit on the road allows exemption for certain necessary activities. This information is given by the sub-pate sign that accompanies the terminal prohibitory signs. The sub-plate states “except for access”. 1.8.2. HGV access is permitted for : building operations; removal of obstructions; road reconstruction, including the laying of sewers etc.; police, fire service or ambulance purposes; garaging; conveyance of goods from premises on or adjacent to the road 1.8.3. These exemptions allow activities such as furniture removal, coal fuel delivery, attendance at emergency incidents etc to take place. Without such exemptions residents could be severely inconvenienced. 1.8.4. Whilst it is understandable that residents may perceive a total ban as a solution to their problems it would present more severe and far reaching problems to the local community. 1.8.5. A total HGV ban would probably lead to objections being received which, in turn, could require a Public Inquiry to be held for consideration of these. 1.9 Alternative Route Signing 1.9.1. The only sign indicating a route to the Grant Street lorry parking facility is on High Street in advance of the Station Road junction. HGV drivers will have made decisions in relation to their route well in advance of this. Consequently the provision of route signing is one that may be beneficial. However, as many residents note the use of Sat-Nav systems can direct HGV traffic onto inappropriate routes. 1.9.2. Any alternative route signing needs to emphasise that the only HGV destination that can be reached via Poplar Road is the Business Park. 1.9.3. A prominent location needs to be found for signing to be readily noted by eastbound traffic on Grimsby Road. There may be some conflict with existing directional signs if this is to be achieved. 1.9.4. Continuing directions for the alternative route could be given through amending the existing large directional signs at the Isaac’s Hill roundabout and those along Isaac’s Hill and High Street. This, it is suggested, will require a small signing scheme to be funded for this area. There may be links to other requests for signing in this area, specifically those associated with the tourist attractions within the resort. 1.10 Increased Police Enforcement 1.10.1. The success of any prohibition rests with the amount of enforcement it is perceived to receive. However, enforcement can be demanding on Police resources. It is consequently suggested that classification surveys of vehicles using Poplar Road be undertaken to ascertain what the actual level of abuse may be. 1.10.2. In the survey residents do not hold a common view on the amount of HGV traffic in the street. Some residents consider only 2 or more HGVs use the street daily whereas others indicate that they feel over 30 do so. There needs to be a level of abuse that would make the diversion of Police enforcement resources worthwhile. A survey would establish the actual level of HGV usage and would consequently be useful for the Police in according enforcement here any priority. 1.11 Width Restrictions 1.11.1. A strategically placed width restriction could help highlight that HGVs should not continue northward into the street past the junction with the Business Park. However any restriction must not physically prevent HGV access as this may be legally required under the exemptions listed above in 1.8.2. 1.11.2. A width restriction therefore could not realistically be used to prevent HGVs accessing the street but only to emphasise the presence of the Business Park. 1.11.3. Similar arrangements could be made at the northern end of the street. These would serve to divert HGVs into Neptune Street and St. Hellier’s Road. Consequently this may simply serve to relocate a problem and not solve it for the whole community. 1.12 Height Restrictions 1.12.1. Height restrictions are used to protect structures over a highway where the clearance is low (below 16’ 6”) and a risk exist of vehicle strike. As no such structure exists in Poplar Road there is no basis to impose a height restriction. 1.13 Speed Humps 1.13.1. The provision of speed humps would not address any problems occurring from HGV use of the street. Members will be aware of complaints from residents in other communities where vertical traffic calming measures have been installed and where HGV traffic is present. Consequently in view of the existing complaints and concerns it is suggested that the potential to install vertical traffic calming measures be dismissed. 1.14 CCTV and Camera Enforcement 1.14.1. The provision of cameras is expensive to introduce and requires appropriately trained staff to view images. As it is not yet established what the level of abuse is it is considered that such an option is impractical to pursue at this moment. 1.15. Residents have previously requested that the on-street parking capacity of the street be improved. This led to a Traffic Regulation Order being advertised to which a number of objections were lodged. The Order sought to move the double yellow line restrictions from one side of the street to the other. The reason for this was that the side currently without waiting restrictions accommodates many properties having private off-street parking facilities. The driveways to these properties are required to be kept clear of vehicles and consequently there are a number of advisory “keep clear” road marking along this side of the road. By switching the restrictions to the other side, the yellow lines could serve to protect the driveways from obstruction and subsequently allow more kerb-side space to be given over to parking. 1.16. The proposals received objections as some residents did not want to have parked vehicles closer to the property frontages while others wished to retain the status quo feeling that the changes could make their access arrangements more difficult. 1.17. It may be possible to match proposals for amendment to the waiting restrictions to meet the known views of objectors and also to tie this to facilities such as road narrowing to provide some protection to parked vehicles. This, in turn could be used to highlight the location of the Business Park junction giving additional hindrance to any HGV traffic attempting to travel further into the street. 1.18. The options listed above together with any proposed alteration to waiting restrictions should be subject to consultation with the residents in order to enlist support from the community. 1.19. It is suggested that schemes be drafted for : alternative route signing, incorporation indication of the restriction in Poplar Road; amendment to waiting restrictions, incorporating localised road narrowing near to the Poplar Road Business Park; and that residents be consulted on each prior to these matters being placed before the Portfolio Holder – Environment for consideration. 1.20. The Portfolio Holder will need to be informed of estimated costs for each element of the proposals together with the means of funding the required works. 2. FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS 2.1 The costs cannot be quantified at this time and will be dependant upon the option selected. The costs will need to be met from within existing budgets. 3. LEGAL IMPLICATIONS 3.1 Contained in the body of the report. 4. HUMAN RESOURCES IMPLICATIONS 4.1 There are no HR implications arising from this report. 5. WARD IMPLICATIONS 5.1 The options relate to issues solely within the Sidney Sussex Ward. 6. BACKGROUND PAPERS 6.1 Scrutiny minute SPEN.32 7. CONTACT OFFICER(S) Dave Poucher, Principal Traffic Engineer (tel 01472 324497) Ray Oxby Executive Director Environmental Service APPENDIX 1 Survey Results Now many HGV do you Do you feel the HGVs estimate to be using represent a danger? using Poplar Road the road daily Address What measures would you like to see? Any further comments? 27 Poplar Road N - - More street lighting. All lorries, except for access, to be re- 28 Poplar Road Y 12 to 15 Passing HGV make the house shake. routed. 30 Poplar Road Y HGV to use an alternative route. 30+ - HGVs shake the foundation of the house - may 32 Poplar Road Y Ban all HGVs from using the road. - cause future problems. Pot holes developing that collect water. More hazards exist from vehicles parking on 33 Poplar Road Y - Several footways meaning pedestrians have to step into the road. Concerns regarding the safety of children who Additional signs on Grimsby Road advising 35 Poplar Road Y 3 to 4 may not be readily visible from the drivers cab that Poplar Road is not a thoroughfare. of a HGV. Now many HGV do you Do you feel the HGVs estimate to be using represent a danger? using Poplar Road the road daily Address What measures would you like to see? Any further comments? Advance warning sign on Grimsby Road. HGVs use Poplar Road as short cut to and 37 Poplar Road Y 2 to 3 More Police enforcement. from Grant Street lorry park. Width restrictions. 39 Poplar Road Y - HGVs are damaging the road surface. Better signs and enforcement. Lorry drivers ignoring the signs should be Too If not resolved there will be a serious accident 40 Poplar Road Y fined. many down the road. Too 44 Poplar Road Y No HGVs - only dust carts and deliveries. - many 47 Poplar Road Y Good signs at both ends of the road. 2 to 5 - More of a problem with speeding cars. 51 Poplar Road N 2 to 3 HGV drivers may be relying on Sat-Navs or driving to orders. No HGVs able to use the street at any Concerns for the safety of children in the 59 Poplar Road Y 10 to 15 time. street. Now many HGV do you Do you feel the HGVs estimate to be using represent a danger? using Poplar Road the road daily Address What measures would you like to see? Any further comments? A more prominent sign at Grimsby Road Windows shake when HGVs pass. 64 Poplar Road Y entrance. 20 Even a minor accident will present major Height restriction. problems to residents. Need to enforce. Word would soon get out 65 Poplar Road Y - HGV parking in Poplar Road. to drivers. Improved signs. 69 Poplar Road Y Possible speed bumps. 7 Police prosecutions are needed. Markings on the road. 71 Poplar Road Y refer to e-mail 5 to 10 refer to e-mail Police cameras at top and bottom of the HGVs pose a big danger to children and 79 Poplar Road Y 8 street. pedestrian on the street. Better directions of alternative route to 81 Poplar Road Y 10+ - lorry park. Improve restriction signing & better Many foreign registered vehicles location. delivering/collecting from coldstore - possibly 85 Poplar Road Y 2+ Provide signing for alternative route to car following Sat-Nav directions. park and coldstore. Some vehicles travel in excess of speed limit. Now many HGV do you Do you feel the HGVs estimate to be using represent a danger? using Poplar Road the road daily Address What measures would you like to see? Any further comments? Quite a Can feel the traffic go by when in the middle 98 Poplar Road Y No HGV down the road. few room. 101 Poplar Road Y - 8+ - Larger signing on Grimsby Road indicating 104 Poplar Road Y 10+ Sat-Navs add to the problems. 7.5T limit on Poplar Road. Make street a "one-way". ukn Poplar Road ? - 1 to 2 Relocate yellow lines to outside houses with driveways.