WOODHILL ROAD – PARKING

As you may be aware there have been a number of queries and concerns about the ad hoc parking that is taking place on Woodhill Road during the daytime. I have been in discussion with Highways about this and to date they have declined to take any action to resolve the situation. They have now produced a “Position Statement” which is set out below:

“Leeds Council has been subject to requests on a number of occasions to implement parking restrictions on Wood Hill Road, Cookridge to address concerns that on-street parking causes safety concerns.

Officers have undertaken many site visits on different days and at different times in response to these concerns, to investigate and determine the extent of the issue. Our observations have shown that at no point has the parking level been at a level considered excessive or obstructive, either for the accessibility of residents to their own properties or for the pure free flow of traffic along the route. Wood Hill Road is a length of public adopted highway and as such, parking is permitted by any person so long as it does not contravene a live Traffic Regulation Order or relevant sections of the Highway Code.

Wood Hill Road is noted as not being as wide as other roads in the area such as Green Lane and Tinshill Road with sections below six metres in overall width. It is acknowledged that parking on these narrower sections will have the result of a vehicle having to approach with caution and on occasions manoeuvring around that parked vehicle.

Observations on site have identified that low levels of parking take place, ranging between zero and six vehicles parked between Wood Hill Crescent and Wood Hill Court. Over an approximate 300 metre section of highway, this level of parking is not considered to be excessive or causing congestion.

Queries raised in the past have insinuated that this parking is associated with the rail station commuters, however due to the often sporadic nature of the parking it cannot be proven that this is the case. It is quite likely that the majority of parking is associated with residents along Wood Hill Road or their guests. Any measures introduced would therefore have a negative impact on established residential parking and would likely incur objection and complaint, as well as displacing this parking to other potentially less preferable locations

Observations have been undertaken to determine the impact on accessibility to and from private driveways. Whilst parking opposite private driveways has been noted, this will not impact on the ability for a driver to safely leave their driveway. With regards to accessing the driveway in a reversing manoeuvre, this also should not be duly impacted from officer’s observations. Observations show that traffic flow along Wood Hill Road is not unreasonably busy, providing opportunities to undertake a reversing manoeuvre at an appropriate time.

Queries have been raised to the bus operators regarding the parking in question and whether this has a detrimental impact on the ability for bus drivers to safely negotiate the road and also access the bus stops. The bus operators have confirmed that they have no issues with any section of Wood Hill Road.

A separate concern that is occasionally raised regarding Wood Hill Road is the speed of traffic along the road. Set out below is a breakdown of the results of the latest speed survey.

DAILY VEHICULAR VOLUME MEAN SPEED TRAFFIC BETWEEN 30MPH-35MPH TRAFFIC BELOW 30MPH TRAFFIC ABOVE 35MPH
3543 27.8mph 892 (25.2%) 2348 (66.3% 301 (8.5%)

It is evident from the results above that the vast majority of traffic is travelling within the speed the Police would consider enforcing. The Council believes that on-street parking can assist in lowering vehicle speeds along a route by physically forcing drivers to have to slow and/or stop to allow another vehicle to pass. By removing all on-street parking through the introduction of parking restrictions, this may create a clear route for drivers who will in turn likely adopt a higher speed knowing that they will not be obstructed. To introduce measures that will see mean speeds increase works against the Council’s desire to make streets a safer place for road users, particularly those more vulnerable users such as pedestrians and cyclists.

The current five-year injury accident data the Council holds for Wood Hill Road shows one ‘slight’ injury accident in 2015 where a vehicle reversed from a junction mouth and mounted the footway, clipping a pedestrian. This is not related to the parking that takes place, having been noted as a case of ‘failed to look properly’. The lack of a prevalent accident pattern linked to the existing parking practices further suggests that the parking as seen at present is manageable and appropriate.

To conclude, Leeds City Council believes the current level of parking on Wood Hill Road does not unduly impede the free flow of traffic along this route, nor does it prevent reasonable accessibility to private driveways. Furthermore, the parking acts as a measure to reduce vehicle speeds along the route by encouraging drivers to slow and/or stop to allow another vehicle to pass. Removing this will increase vehicle speeds along the route. There is no existing prevalent accident pattern that requires remedial action at this time and therefore no further action is proposed at this time, however officers will continue to monitor the location when in the area.”

I trust this keeps you up to date with the thoughts of the Highways Engineer.