Walnut Tree Close, Guildford - One way system

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Update 18 February

The one way trial on Walnut Tree Close came to an end on 17 February.

Development and bridge works are continuing on Walnut Tree Close and you can find more information on the major scheme page.

Frequently asked questions

Updated 15 February 2021

Why are you lifting the trial?

Our planned for this trial to run between 29 November 2020 and 17 February 2021. The trial period was constrained by the start date of works on Walnut Bridge. The one-way trial is being removed to accommodate the Walnut Bridge works that will commence on 18 February 2021. The road will be reinstated to full two-way operation. The bridge works will involve the closure of Walnut Tree Close adjacent to the bridge requiring two-way access for vehicles through the trial section.

What feedback have you had from the trials so far?

We received 33 responses on the trial up to 12/2/2021. The assessment of the responses indicate that 24 are supportive of the trial and 9 objected to the trial. G-Bug the Guildford cycling group has expressed the support of the trial on behalf of its members.

Has the trial been a success?

We are committed to enhancing opportunities for walking and cycling in Guildford. Our monitoring has shown good use by cyclists and traffic compliance of the one-way trial section. However, the National Covid-19 lockdown has resulted in a significant reduction of travel, hence low traffic flows on the Guildford road network. This will not enable us to collect reliable and robust traffic data to assess the impacts of the trial. Hence our propose to reinstate the trial after the bridge works and other closures on Walnut Tree had finished. The monitoring of impacts will be undertaken when traffic returns to normal levels and will provide us with the reliable and robust traffic data to make the appropriate recommendation on the benefit of the one-way trial.

When will the results of the trial be available?

At this point of time, we are not able to confirm the schedule for the reinstate the trial until after the bridge works and other closures on Walnut Tree had finished. The monitoring of impacts will be undertaken when traffic returns to normal levels and will provide us with the reliable and robust traffic data to make the appropriate recommendation on the benefit of the one-way trial. This will require the return of pre-COVID activity at the University of Surrey and Guildford Station rail passengers.

Updated 27 November 2020

We have produced this list as a response to key questions relating to the one-way trial at Walnut Tree Close. We will continue to update this webpage with any future questions we receive for the benefit of residents, businesses and stakeholders.

Why are we doing this trial?

The trial is in response to a public consultation held in 2016 where residents were in favour of the closure of the road to separate the commercial and residential ends of the road and prevent traffic using the road as a through route. The volumes of passing through traffic have increased significantly since then. Vehicles are currently using Walnut Tree Close as a through-road between the A25 and the gyratory, causing large amounts of congestion. We are aiming to make the road quieter and safer by putting this traffic restriction in place.

Where will the one-way trial be located?

The one-way system will be in place between Kernal Court and just south of the Royal Mail Delivery Office and Mail Centre on Walnut Tree Close.

Motorists will be able to travel both southbound and northbound on Walnut Tree Close up until Kernal Court, at which point the road will become one-way in the northbound direction. From Kernal Court motorists can travel southbound to the station, however between the Royal Mail Delivery Office and Mail Centre and Kernal Court the road will be one-way only in the northbound direction. Motorists will not be able to travel southbound in this section of the road, so they will need to take the signed diversion route through Woodbridge Road to gain access to the train station.

What are the benefits of the trial?

  • To reduce the number of vehicles passing through along Walnut Tree Close as a shortcut route into Guildford town centre and vice-versa
  • To improve road safety for all users and reduce the risk of collisions
  • To reduce delays on the road, particularly during peak hours, and to avoid congestion around Guildford gyratory
  • Improve air quality and to provide a safer environment for pedestrians and cyclists

How long is the trial?

The trial is scheduled to begin on the 29 November 2020 and end on the 17 February 2021.

What will happen at the end of the trial?

Surrey County Council will be monitoring changes in traffic across local roads during the trial. Surrey County Council will assess the outcomes of the trial before making any decisions on whether to make the one-way system on Walnut Tree Close permanent.

Is the criteria for deciding success already set?

We have started our monitoring process by installing Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras around Guildford. We will be assessing the congestion levels and the traffic rerouting as a result of this scheme to determine whether the scheme is a success or not. More information on the monitoring and its results will be provided closer to the end of the trial.

Who is managing the trial?

This trial is being led by Surrey County Council as the Local Highway Authority.

Why are we doing the trial now during a COVID-19 lockdown? Would it not be better to postpone the trial to a later date?

The planning for this trial has been in place since 2016. Surrey County Council recognise this is a difficult period for businesses and residents, however Surrey County Council has a commitment to proceed with the trial. Should we not undertake the trial now as scheduled, there is a risk that it will be delayed significantly as there are multiple highway improvement schemes that are being delivered across Guildford Town Centre, and it would not be feasible to find a suitable window to carry out this trial.

Walnut Bridge improvements are scheduled to commence on the 18 February 2021, and we are unable to carry out this trial while that scheme is in progress. Another key element of the scheme is encouraging active travel in line with government advice, the trial offers an incentive for residents and businesses to use more sustainable modes of transport.

Does the trial consider the extra traffic that will be using the diversion route?

We are aware that the diversion will move traffic elsewhere, however Walnut Tree Close is a D class road that wasn't designed to handle the current levels of traffic, which means it will also struggle to cope with the predicted future demand. Other roads around Guildford will be able to cater for the additional demand better than Walnut Tree Close. We also hope that the provision of the new cycle facilities will also assist in reducing congestion around Guildford by encouraging people to travel by more sustainable modes of transport.

Vehicles will be able to travel northbound as usual during the trial. What about vehicles travelling in the southbound direction towards the station?

The road will be closed to all traffic in the southbound direction, including taxis and emergency vehicles. Emergency services have been contacted and informed of the trial.

Why are you putting in the one-way system and then taking it out again in February?

Surrey County Council are undertaking this trial to determine the benefit of making it permanent. The decision to make the scheme permanent will depend on the outcome of the trial. The idea of the trial is to assess the effects of this one-way system and the benefits that it will bring. We want to know how this trial impacts the traffic on the surrounding road network in Guildford.

It should also be noted that we propose to take out the trial in order to make room for the Walnut Bridge scheme which commences on 18 February 2021 and involves the closure of Walnut Tree Close near the train station.

How does the trial benefit cyclists and pedestrians?

Cyclists will continue to be able to travel in both directions along the one-way trial section on Walnut Tree Close. Cyclists will benefit from new on-street cycle lanes in both directions as part of this trial. Pedestrians can continue to walk in both directions on the existing footpath and will benefit from the reduced amount of vehicular traffic, making it a safer environment.

Completed works - February 2020

We have built a turning facility on Woodbridge Meadows, Guildford, near to the Royal Mail sorting office in preparation for the trial one-way traffic restriction on Walnut Tree Close/Woodbridge Meadows. The trial one-way traffic restriction will be put in place at a later date in 2020.

Scheme overview

The scheme on Walnut Tree Close aims to reduce the amount of traffic using the road, particularly vehicles that use the road as a through-route between the A25 and the gyratory.

To achieve this aim we are planning to undertake a trial one-way traffic restriction, which will permit only northbound traffic along a section Walnut Tree Close/Woodbridge Meadows

The traffic restriction will be in place from the Royal Mail sorting office, and we will be building a turning facility at this location.

This is part of the Town Centre Master plan which aims to create a more attractive pedestrian environment which reconnects the town centre to the river and creates a sequence of appealing streets and spaces, redefining the Guildford experience. More information on Guildford major transport schemes.

Keep up to date

We will be issuing regular updates on this web page as the scheme progresses. Enter your email address below to keep up to date with the Walnut Tree Close works or alternatively please email us at WalnutTreeClose.trial@surreycc.gov.uk if you would like to get in touch.

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