Bearing in mind:
does the Council accept the need to provide an improved and safer route for pedestrians, and a wider road for vehicles?
Reference Hyde End Road Shinfield. Bearing in mind:
Does the Council accept the need to provide an improved and safer route for pedestrians, and a wider road for vehicles?
As you will be aware there is committed strategic development in line with the Council’s adopted Core Strategy being delivered in this area which is currently affecting the network whilst the associated infrastructure is being delivered.
Some of these works include the need for construction traffic to use Hyde End Road which has added to other pressures resulted from other roadworks and closures which have been or are currently taking place on Basingstoke Road and Church Lane and the continued associated works with the Eastern Relief Road. Furthermore the Leopard bus service is now routed along Hyde End Road as an interim arrangement to serve the first phase of the Spencers Wood development.
The current redistribution of traffic, and particularly levels of construction traffic will reduce once the major developments and their associated transport interventions are completed which will result in the construction traffic being removed and allow the bus service to be rerouted through the newly constructed housing developments.
You mention a ‘standard 7.3m road width’ in your question, which is incorrect. Firstly, there is no requirement to build all the new main roads to this width and there is certainly no requirement to widen the historic road network universally to 7.3m, including bus routes. Excessively wide roads encourage higher vehicle speeds and attract overall greater volumes of traffic to use the route, which is not what the Council, nor would I expect what the local residents would want, for Hyde End Road. That said, the Council recognises the current situation and narrow road width particularly on bends, then that is raising some concerns on a particular stretch of Hyde End Road and we are looking into various measures to improve the current unsatisfactory situation.
The measures at this time include; over the next two weekends, via Sunday road closures, the Council will be installing advanced warning signs and cutting back vegetation to provide some initial improvement. The Council are also engaging with local developers to minimise the routing of construction vehicles on Hyde End Road.
In the medium term the Council are looking at options to provide a new footpath on the north side of Hyde End Road between Croft Road and Millworth Lane, on land currently owned by the University of Reading, which is behind the existing hedgerow, so segregated from live traffic.
Longer term solutions are being investigated by officers. Widening the road would need to consider the acquisition of land and the relocation of the statutory undertakers equipment like gas and electricity. A major scheme would need to balance any local benefits against the possibility that continuous road widening could increase vehicle speeds and significantly increase the volume of the traffic using Hyde End Road, which the local Council and we assume local residents and businesses would wish to avoid. Long term options proposed will be subject to consultation with local Members, the parish councils, local businesses and residents.
Given that the dedicated bus route will not be available until 2020 and the construction traffic will be there until 2024, are you happy that we can live with this Hyde End Road situation?
Well, we are doing what we can in the short term as I explained and then we have medium and longer term ideas that we will look into but I cannot be sure what will happen yet. Officers are working on it and we will be keeping local residents informed.