Improvements to a number of road crossings were included in our request list of February 2016 to ECC Highways, recognising the difficulty of crossing at many of the road junctions in Saffron Walden, and the lack of crossings on many of our main roads. As noted above, we’re working to produce an interactive map of these projects, but here are some of them.
Zebra crossing on Ashdon Road near to Harvey Way. You may have seen recent advertising of ECC’s intention to install a zebra crossing on Ashdon Road near to Harvey Way. This will enable all pedestrians, especially school children on the newer developments to the east, to cross safely avoiding the busy Elizabeth Way junction. SWTC has been working on this with ECC since 2015, and is really pleased to see it finally coming to fruition. ECC has been very flexible on the feasibility study with this and we’re really pleased about their pragmatic response.
The crossing point from Market Hill to Museum Street is something we’re trying to improve, and have been lobbying ECC Highways for since February 2016. We’re aware that the pavements are narrow and that crossing Church Street is difficult for all people, particularly those with mobility issues and with prams because of the lack of visibility. We have been frustrated at the lack of progress on improving this junction and continue to ask ECC Highways for a solution.
Another point on this area – we have applied for bollards to be installed on the corner outside the Old Sun Inn to protect the building from further strikes and damage caused by vehicles. These would be the same as the bollards outside the Cross Keys.
A build-out from by the Old Police Station is scheduled to be installed as part of the redevelopment of the site. The area around Cates Corner and the bottom of Fairycroft Road is difficult to cross safely because of the lack of pavement on the north side of Cates Corner and the width of the Fairycroft Road junction. We would like to see the bottom of Fairycroft Road made safer; in the meantime however ECC Highways agreed to require the Old Police Station developer to install a build-out to make crossing East Street safer.
A crossing on Thaxted Road is scheduled, using money from developer contributions, to be located roughly between the skate park and the Knight Park retail development. This is a busy and relatively fast road and we know that families and children regularly cross here so we’re extremely keen to get this done for safety reasons.
The junction of Dedben Road and London Road has fast moving traffic and the traffic island in the middle is very small. We’re regularly reminded of the dangers of this crossing and we’ve asked ECC to install a better crossing, with a metal protection barrier in the middle, so that pedestrians are safe when inevitably they have to cross half the road at a time.
The crossing from Clutton Road over Ashdon Road has a small central crossing point and we’ve asked ECC to install a wider and safer crossing there.
A zebra crossing is being installed on Peaslands Road with Section 106 (developer) funding from the Bell College site.
In 2015 we consulted our residents on which cycling schemes they would like to see rolled out across Saffron Walden and we put those forward to ECC. We are very disappointed to see that ECC has rejected them all, citing the reasons for refusal on safety grounds, because the schemes would not satsify ECC’s requirement that cycle paths must be 3m wide.
ECC has produced 3 cycling strategies for Uttlesford, in 1999, 2014 and 2018. The only scheme which has been implemented in the northern half of Uttlesford from these is the one along Wenden Road to Audley End Station, and this was funded by developer contributions. As far as we are aware, no money has been spent from any ECC budget on cycling within Uttlesford in the last 5 years at least. We have been very disappointed with the cycle strategies and the lack of local consultation, and the result has been that the strategies do not reflect what we believe are the most important local needs. Moreover, the key proposals for Saffron Walden contained in the 2018 cycle strategy have even been rejected by ECC Highways as unsafe.
July 2020 update: ECC had previously advised that it cannot install cycle lanes in Saffron Walden because they must be 3m wide. As an update, the 3m rule applies to shared use walking / cycling paths. Cycle lanes on the other hand can be just 1.5m. Having had previous requests for cycling schemes rejected for not satisfying the 3m rule, SWTC will put previously rejected schemes back forward and will continue to campaign for cycle lanes and shared use paths wherever feasible.
In our campaigning for cycling measures we have to recognise the disappointing fact that ECC has allocated £0 towards cycling schemes in all of Uttlesford for the year 2020/21.This follows ECC allocating £0 in 2019/20 as well.
In 2019, Former Cllr J Moran invited us to submit 3 cycling schemes to ECC Highways for consideration and we submitted the following:
1) Scheme to improve the permeability of the town centre – new permission for cyclists to contraflow vehicles, no cycle path marking required
- Abbey Lane up to High St junction
- Gold St
- Market Row
- King Street
- Museum St and Market Hill
- Audley Road
- South Road (northern part which is one way)
2) Scheme to improve the permeability of the town centre – new permission for cyclists to use routes currently not allowed
- Repell Ditches to Saxon Way
- London Road to Gibson Gardens cut-through
3) Scheme requiring new formally marked cycle paths – A high number of roads in Saffron Walden are dead end cul-de-sacs. There are limited opportunities for cyclists to seek out “quiet routes”. Therefore, the main arterial roads need to have formally marked cycle paths. Clockwise from the north, these are:
- B1052 Little Walden Road
- Ashdon Road
- B1053 Radwinter Road
- B184 Thaxted Road
- Mount Pleasant Road / Borough Lane
- Debden Road
- B1052 Newport Road / London road
- B184 High Street / Bridge Street / Windmill Hill
- ECC Highways has made no progress on any of the schemes submitted. We would like to see all of these schemes supported by a reduction in the speed limit in town to 20mph.
Update 09.05.20: The government has specifically requested that highways authorities put new walking and cycling measures in place as a priority as lockdown is scaled back bit by bit, and has provided funding to cover the costs. We hope that these cycling measures will now be re-prioritised and funded.
Update 11.06.20: We know that this is an important topic for our residents and we want to make sure that we get our fair share of spending on cycling. We have asked ECC to tell us how much it has spent on cycling across each district in Essex since 2014 so that we can see how we fare. ECC’s initial response has been that it does not keep records of spending per district. We have challenged this and have asked it to check again. We will update this website with further details as they become available.
Update 16.06.20: While some of the streets in centre of Saffron Walden have been closed to vehicles, and while two other streets have new 20mph limits, we are waiting on information on which cycling measures ECC will put in place as part of the reduction of lockdown measures and what funding will be made available locally.