This is a precis of the conversation between residents, the Parish Council, the Police , Highways, Cllr Caroline Anderson and myself.
The precis was written by the Highways Engineer who was present.
Dear Cllr Anderson,
In summary of the Skype meeting held last week between ourselves, Sgt. Hesse, Pool PC and residents:
- The Police are (and have) to provide written confirmation of their intention to undertake routine speed checks throughout the village;
- Subsequently, I can now look to introduce signs on each entrance to the village stating ‘Police speed check area’ and will look to have these designed up by a member of the team in the coming weeks before forwarding to yourself for information and issuing to contractors for manufacture and installation;
- Due to the narrow width of the footways and carriageways throughout Pool-in-Wharfedale and particularly along Main Street, we are constricted as to what we can realistically introduce that will provide betterment for pedestrians or cyclists;
- I have agreed to the request of installing a wooden bollard in the vicinity of the zebra crossing on Main Street, to prevent people using it as a method of exiting the Post Office car park, this will designed up and issued for implementation shortly;
- Colleagues in Urban Traffic Management Control have suggested that due to advancements in traffic signal design, with signal equipment now being ‘thinner’, the zebra crossing on Main Street could upgraded to a full pedestrian crossing. Questions remain regarding the siting of the ‘Traffic Signal Control Box’ which is effectively the computer that runs the traffic signals, as this is still a large box and would need to be sited in a location that did not further narrow the footway to a point where pedestrians with pushchairs or wheelchairs could not pass it. A financial consideration remains, as the upgrade would cost in the region of £60,000 and this level of funding is not readily available however the possibility would be entered onto our annual ‘Pedestrian Crossing Review’ for consideration;
- The matter regarding the speed limit on Old Pool Bank (lower) was discussed. I reiterate that Traffic Engineering still support the possibility of lowering the speed limit on this route to 30mph from around Willow Court to Pool Bank New Road, and 40mph from around Willow Court to Leeds Road. The recorded mean speeds and 85th percentile speeds are consummate with these lower limits and would bring benefits. We accept that when this was previously proposed, objections were raised and the scheme dropped. Subsequently that funding provision was reallocated elsewhere and no further funding provision exists at this time. We could explore further funding options, but are wary of spending significant time and resource on a project that may once again be objected to heavily. If political support from Ward Members and the Parish Council was not forthcoming, the Chief Officer for Highways & Transportation may not wish to overrule those objectors and the scheme again could be cancelled;
- The 20mph scheme for the village itself was discussed. Joanna Rowling again raised the frustration of the Parish Council that other local authorities have introduced 20mph speed limits on A-classified routes whereas Leeds has chosen not to, claiming it was a Leeds City Council policy. I reiterated that this was not the case and that 20mph speed limits do exist on A-classified routes in the city, but the national guidance strictly states that the only time an A-classified route can have its speed limit lowered to 20mph is in the event of the road having another primary purpose other than the movement of traffic. We have recently consulted on the possibility of reducing the roads in the centre of Otley to 20mph, including the A-classified routes as the centre of Otley is a market town and stands much more chance of being accepted for a speed limit reduction, however the Police have still objected. Without the support of the Police as the enforcement body, we cannot proceed.
For Pool-in-Wharfedale, if agreement cannot be reached with the Police regarding the speed limits in Otley, we realistically do not believe a reduction would be possible on the A658 and A659 through Pool. We have a scheme within our works programme for 2020/21 to introduce a 20mph scheme within the village and were holding off introducing this scheme in case including the A-classified routes was possible. We will determine how discussions with the Police proceed, but if it is not possible to include the A-classified routes then we will proceed with the adjoining side roads only.
I believe that covers the matters that were discussed, though please let me know if you believe I have missed anything at this point.
Senior Engineer (Acting)
Leeds City Council
Highways & Transportation
St. George House – 3rd Floor
40 Great George Street