Walnut Tree Close, Guildford - One way system

New trial 2022 - One-way system

Update 29 March

Following the conclusion of the trial Surrey County Council have made the decision to make the one-way trial permanent.

Surrey County Council have been monitoring traffic and air quality impacts of the trial and have determined that there has been no detrimental impact on adjacent roads as a result of the one-way scheme.

Walnut Tree Close is classified as a D class road that serves as a local road for residents. The road was not designed to cope with the current levels of traffic that is generated by Guildford Station. This has created an increase in road safety risk and worsening in air quality for residents, pedestrians and cyclists who use this road. Other roads around Guildford: Woodbridge Road and Stoke Road have been designed and have greater capacity to cope with higher traffic volumes. It is the intention of Surrey County Council that making the one-way permanent will return Walnut Tree Close to its intended use as a D class road.

Surrey County Council have obtained online feedback from all users of Walnut Tree Close via a dedicated email address set up for this project and also through face to face and online surveys. During the trial, feedback has been received from a wide range of affected users including residents, businesses and those using Walnut Tree Close to access the station and/or the town centre.

The decision-making process to make the scheme permanent was made on the balance of the feedback from the trial and the outcomes meeting Surrey County Council's LTP4 objectives. This includes consideration of the traffic impacts and impacts on air quality, in addition to enabling increased sustainable travel.

Update 27 January

Surrey County Council have commissioned an external contractor to assess and report on the data collected throughout the trial to ensure an unbiased decision is reached.

Surrey County Council planned to reach a decision by the end of January, however due to delays in obtaining Air Quality data from Guildford Borough Council's lab, there is a delay in finalising the report.

We expect to have the data in the coming weeks, we can only publish and make a decision once we receive this.

Regretfully the final decision is delayed until we receive the Air Quality data. We appreciate your cooperation during this time, and would value your continued feedback.

We are unable to reply to individual emails, however all feedback received is logged and recorded.

Update 8 December

The trial commenced on the 29 May 2022 and has been continuously monitored until the end of the monitoring period on 30 November 2022. Surrey County Council has now commenced with the assessment of the impact of the one-way system to determine if the trial one-way system should be made permanent. The assessment will be based on the impacts of this trial on changes in cycling and walking, road safety, air quality and the rerouting of traffic on to surrounding roads as a result of the one-way system.

We have reviewed all feedback received during this trial by those affected by this scheme. This includes interview surveys carried out with non-motorised users along Walnut Tree Close and feedback received from residents and businesses.

These assessments and feedback on the trial will help us to determine whether this scheme should be made permanent or not. We expect the current road arrangement to remain in place until this decision is made in January 2023.

We would really value your feedback on the trial so far. Please email walnuttreeclose.trial@surreycc.gov.uk

Why now?

In 2013, we undertook a survey regarding the volume of traffic travelling down Walnut Tree Close. Residents were unhappy with this road being used as cut through to access the station and Guilford Town Centre. With other works in the area we had to wait for a suitable period of time to conduct this trial. We initially tried to undertake this in 2020 however COVID-19 restrictions did not enable us to collect typical on-street traffic data. This survey together with residents dissatisfaction of the use of the road triggered us to start looking at various ways in which to make Guildford a greener and safer town, encouraging cycling, walking and reducing the pollution in the air.

Update - 5 July

As the trial has been in place and established for just over a month, the temporary electronic signs located on Walnut Tree Close are to be removed. This is due to happen on the 25 July 2022.

Update - 27 May

Walnut Tree Close will close on the 27 May at 8pm and will not re-open until the trial begins on the 29 May.

Update - 6 May

Walnut Tree Close will be closed for 24 hours a day to carry out the preparation work needed for the one-way trial. Work will start on the night of Friday 27 May at 8.00pm and be completed on the night of Sunday 29 May. The new one-way trial will then start on the night of 29 May.

A25 Woodbridge Road and Woodbridge Meadows/Walnut Tree Close will require minor preparation works that will be carried out with minimal disruption. This section of the road will remain open.

Woodbridge Meadows/Walnut Tree Close from the access to the Royal Mail Delivery Office and Mail Centre to the pedestrian access at Wey Corner will be closed 24 hours a day to create the new one-way system. The work will involve the installation of new bollards, new signing and lining and preparing connections for the illuminated signs.

When will the new trial be happening and for how long?

The new trial will start on Sunday 29 May 2022 and will be in place for approximately six months.

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. For more information Guildford major transport schemes.

If this one-way system proves beneficial to the impact of traffic on Walnut Tree Close/Guildford Town Centre and provides the following benefits the one-way system will be made permanent.

  • Reduce peak-hour queuing along Walnut Tree Close
  • Improve safety for all road users
  • Reduce the conflict between traffic exiting Walnut Tree Close and the gyratory
  • Create a more pleasant environment along the road to encourage more walking and cycling

Where will the one-way trial be located?

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 one-way system will be in place between Wey Corner/ beginning of the new student accommodation and the turning facility just south of the Royal Mail Delivery Office.

Motorists will not be able to travel southbound between Wey Corner and the Royal Mail Delivery Office, so they will need to take the signed diversion route through A322 Woodbridge Road to gain access to the train station.

Recording the data

The data will be recorded using 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.

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.

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.

Why are we repeating the trial?

We originally ran this One-way system trial for 3 months in 2020/2021. Unfortunately, COVID lock down restriction were imposed, and the data recorded was not a true reflection of the typical traffic movement/volume in this area. Now that the traffic is returning to normal, we will now be able to record more realistic data to see if this system will work.

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.

Was the last trial a success - why did it not continue?

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 resulted in a significant reduction of travel, hence low traffic flows on the Guildford Road network.

Our last trial ran 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 was removed to accommodate the Walnut Bridge works that commenced on 18 February 2021. The road was reinstated to full two-way operation. The bridge works involved 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 February 2021. The assessment of the responses indicated 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.

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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