Keith, Graham and Iain

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Gatley’s Church Road one-way: can we overcome the problems?

by Iain Roberts on 7 March, 2016

Making Church Road in Gatley one-way is an idea that’ been floating around for a few years and we’ve been asking council officers to take another look at it, following concerns raised by residents about safety at the Horse & Farrier junction.

Although the Police have only recorded one accident at the junction in the last five years, we know it’s a difficult one and there are fairly regular minor collisions that probably don’t get reported to the Police. It’s certainly a junction you would never design that way if you were doing it today!

The idea is to make Church Road one-way from the Horse & Farrier up to Styal Road. The two big benefits are:

  • Better safety at the H&F junction
  • Ability to fit in more parking spaces along Church Road as you could angle them

However, there are issues too:

  • Traffic that currently goes down Church Road would come along Park Road and then turn right. That means Park and Altrincham Roads getting busier, perhaps with more speeding. It also means work to increase the capacity of the Longley Lane crossroads – at the moment not many vehicles turn right from Park Road so it doesn’t cause problems, but the junction isn’t designed for lots of cars turning right. Without works (which would be pretty expensive) we could get long queues up Park Road waiting to turn right.
  • No bus service along Church Road towards Stockport. Anyone wanting to catch a bus in that direction would need to walk to Park Road, Northenden Road or Gatley Road – including elderly residents in Homebeck House and Guardian Lodge who may have limited mobility.
  • Anyone living off Church Road (e.g. Elm, Cedar, Hawthorn, Beech, Burnside) would use Oakwood Avenue to go towards Cheadle, so that junction could get even busier.
  • Not clear whether cyclists would have to take the long way round – and Church Road could be made more dangerous.
  • Long detour for anyone driving into the village from Baxter Park, Park Road etc.

It’s early days, and we have to be clear that even if there was agreement, we still don’t have the money that would be needed to do everything needed to make the change, but we’d like to get people’s thoughts on the idea at this stage.

   34 Comments

34 Responses

  1. Alex Masidlover says:

    From a cycling perspective…

    Most cyclists coming down Styal Rd are generally doing a decent distance anyway and comfortable(ish!) on a road where motorists behave appallingly and so shouldn’t be too inconvenienced by having to go down Park Rd then Altrincham Rd.

    For local cyclists its potentially more of an issue, but if the path between Hawthorn and Beech was made a cycle route then they could walk their bikes along the pavement to Gatley Hill House, ride up the hill, walk bikes down the path through the retirement home and then cycle on Hawthorn/Beech to Altrincham Rd.

    Of course Beech and Hawthorn may get busier as resident motorists would be able to use this route instead of Church Rd (I suspect many already do though).

    Alternatively there is plenty of space for a cycle contra-flow, but these have fairly major hazards associated with them and it would need extremely good design; which I’m afraid to say is not something I’ve seen on (m)any of Stockport’s cycle facilities…

    Personally it would be a bit of a pain as we live on Styal Rd and it would stop me from cycling in to the village and back very easily for quick shopping trips…

  2. John Hartley says:

    Iain

    Has thought been given to the idea of turning the proposal round and making it one-way from Styal Rd to the Farrier?

    That would still address the safety & parking issues but would also make pedestrian crossing of Church Rd, at the clock tower, much safer. I have it in mind that was a Lib Dem proposal in “Keeping in Touch”, a couple of years or so back. Appreciate that for vehicle turning, it would need traffic lights at the junction, but you wouldnt then need the Pelican crossing at the Farrier.

    • Iain Roberts says:

      It’s an option, and as you say, it’s one that’s been floated before. I guess the challenge would be that it still has most of the problems with one-way from the H&F up to Styal Road but on top of that you’d need to find the £250,000 for traffic lights.

  3. J Lindon says:

    Why not just put lights at the farrier junction?
    I think it would be a bad idea to make Church Road one way. It would cause traffic problems on Park and Altrincham Roads and cause a lot of inconvenience for many with people using the residential roads for shortcuts etc, which then counteracts the reason for doing it in the first place (ie safety).

  4. Pauline Bishop says:

    As a resident of Guardian Lodge I think whichever the one way was,would help people to cross the road towards Tesco much easier. Most drivers completely ignore the 20mph speed limit.

  5. Roy Wood says:

    The lack of road traffic accidents at the clock tower junction makes it difficult to justify the cost and disadvantages of a full one way system. However the visibility for right turners out of Church Road onto Gatley is restricted and this undoubtably presents the risk of accidents. Why not simply signalize the junction with Church Road and Gatley Road?

    • Iain Roberts says:

      Roy – the issue with traffic lights is mainly down to cost. We are looking at options like that, but we think it would cost around £250,000 to put in traffic lights at the junction.

  6. Jane says:

    I love the fact that Iain puts these ideas out there for people to discuss but I have to be honest, I think the negatives far outweigh the positives on this one. People on Windsor & Clifton already have problems with people using it as a cut through & that will only get worse. Anyone coming from Styal Rd (me included) will have an even longer crawl down to the Kingsway lights, it already takes forever, and the cyclists…..lets be honest, most don’t even take notice of red traffic lights so let’s not pretend they’re all going to go a longer way round when they can easily nip through unchallenged on the pavement through the village. To talk about CLOSING access when there’s actually already not enough road space for the number of vehicles is crazy. I think it’s a bad idea. The car drivers, the elderly & the bus users will all suffer just so you can create a few more parking spaces? Personally, I’ve never had a problem at that junction, I use it every day & anyone who doesn’t like it is probably already going down Park Rd anyway.

  7. Chris says:

    I can’t see how this would improve safety, as it would empty half the contents of a busy main road into side street rat runs, making life for residents even more dangerous. Making that one junction safer will simply move the danger to other junctions (lets face it, there have been some big smashes at the Longley Lane crossroads, compared with a few minor scrapes at the Horse and Farrier junction, and what is being proposed will send even more traffic there) and increase congestion in the area generally.

    If the money is available for traffic-inconveniencing schemes like this, then perhaps it would be better spent repairing potholes – properly! Both motorists and cyclists would doubtless thank you for that! or dealing with the Gatley Road / A34 junction

  8. Tracey says:

    Thanks for putting this up for discussion. I think the bus access for the elderly is a big drawback.

    Pedestrianise it – access for bikes and buses only?!!

    • Chris says:

      Tracey

      If you pedestrianise it, where do you think the cars will all go? People don’t drive for pleasure these days, they drive to work. Closing roads (especially busy ones) is simply playing whack-a-mole with the traffic.

      If you close the main road, car drivers (and it sounds like you are not one) will have to find an alternative route. That will probably be through side streets, and may even increase traffic where you live.

      Making it inconvenient for people to drive through Gatley probably won’t help the local shops either – and if they close, you’ll have to find somewhere further away to shop!

  9. Phil says:

    I think to do all this for extra car parking isn’t the best plan. I never struggle for parking to visit the shops. There’s always the possibility that messing with ease of access to Church Rd in either direction may put shoppers off, its evident it did when Wilmslow pedestrianized their main shopping street (Grove Street) and they now always have new empty units popping up. If there’s a need to address the speed at which cars go past the the H&F junction on Northenden Rd, would a mini roundabout not enforce approaching cars in all directions to slow? and maybe move the pedestrian crossing to outside the front of the old cinema.

    • Chris says:

      I agree entirely. If people can’t park near to the shops, they will go elsewhere, driven either by laziness or foul weather.

      And instead of a mini roundabout, why not have some well placed potholes to smash the wheels off any cars going over 20mph. Like on most other roads in the area!

  10. John says:

    The many drawbacks to this scheme have already been listed and the obvious answer is to install traffic lights at the Horse and Farrier junction. The council have said this is too expensive but, of course, they are short sighted and like to take the cheapest option.

    The opposite happened at the A34 junction, where the best thing would have been to include right-turn filters. Needless to say, the same problems there remain despite who knows how many thousands were spent in attempting to widen the road for a few yards just before the junction.

    Traffic lights at the Horse and Farrier would, of course, include pedestrian crossings across both roads making the junction safer for both road traffic and pedestrians.

    • Iain Roberts says:

      Hi John,

      It’s not being short-sighted so much as just not having the money to do it.

      The right-turn filters on the A34 is a bit different – in that case it’s not money, it’s that all the work that’s been done to understand the junction suggests that putting in right-turn filters would lead to much longer queues in other directions.

      • John Hartley says:

        Iain

        The last modelling that the council carried out re. the right turns was flawed. What was modelled was just installing one right turn filter, whether from the Cheadle or Gatley side. That showed that the turners benefitted of course, but the other direction was worse. That’s obvious if you only have one filter. What the council didnt model – and should have – is having both right filters.

        It’s simple logic. If each one of the filters bring benefits, then having them both operate at the same time, as they can do in perfect safety, means that both benefit.

        • Iain Roberts says:

          Hi John,

          You’re right, that wasn’t done. You might remember that we asked them to do that modelling as part of the study that Mark Hunter got a commitment to do last summer and was then dropped after the General Election. Having said that, I know there are differences of opinion about the safety (I make no claims to have the professional knowledge to make sound judgements on that) and it may well be that the modelling still shows it doesn’t stack up as a viable option, but it should be done.

  11. Kath says:

    One way is a good idea, safer for pedestrians and would stop some of the rat running down Oakwood/Elm/Burnside etc. Traffic lights at the Farrier would be a complete waste of money as, with the backup of traffic at the junction, exit from Church Road would be no easier than it is now. Roundabout would be a better option.

    • Arthur lampkin says:

      This would just move the current rat run to Windsor Road or Clifton Drive as people would want to miss the traffic lights at park Road/ Northenden Road. Whatever the council do will just make life worse for local residents. As I have said before we need to be thinking how we can get less cars on the roads and think of better cleaner and more reliable public transport going to place people actually want to go.

  12. Colin says:

    I like Tracey’s suggestion of pedestrianising. I’ve always thought the village centre would be hugely appealing if we could remove traffic from the road so it’s a destination not just a cut through.

    Or it could be achieved differently with barriers half-way along for pedestrian/cycle assess but not vehicles, so access is still possible but people aren’t just using it as a thoroughfare. This has been very successful elsewhere and I think would be great for Gatley.

  13. John Hartley says:

    The problem with pedestrianisation is that it would mean even more cars trying to find a parking space on the side roads. It’s bad enough now trying to find somewhere to park while you sho[

  14. richard horsnell says:

    If it aint broke…Not happy with a one way proposal at all. stick a mini roundabout outside the farrier, may be even stick the clock tower in it. To my mind, turning tight out of church road is the easy bit, especially if the pelican lights are red halting on-coming traffic. It’s the speed of the oncoming traffic in combination with a blind corner that’s the problem. A mini roundabout and good signage would help resolve this. please no lights. please no one way. spend the money on fixing the roads, which are in a terrible state….get on yer bike and see the pot holes on outwood road , never mind holyhedge road/styal rd junction. These are third world roads.

  15. Keith Huxley says:

    Would it be possible to utilise the service road in front of the Tatton Cinema as was, move the bus stop back, and then put a short bent in the road so that oncoming traffic towards Altrincham would be more visible to traffic turning out of Church Road and traffic going that way would be able to see church road junction more easily ?

    Bonus if it were possible it would also provide a few short term parking places outside the shops opposite the Tatton cinema.

  16. Sam says:

    Church Rd, to be one way is a very bad ideas, it have more disadvantages than benefits, leave it as it is, but stop texis from parking at the junction of H& F, the problem is parking on church rd, if you some how stop st parking and move it some were else like the Cenama site that will solve the issue & maybe you can add extra lane on Church Rd.

  17. Anthony McCarthy says:

    Hello, Personally I find little difficulty in turning right out of Church Road at the clock tower and in the past used to use the reflection in the bus stop structure outside the Tatton to view on-coming traffic. This made me think of looking into the possibility of erecting a convex mirror outside the Farrier to help those who who have concerns with using this junction. A lot cheaper than the traffic light option even when taking into account the inevitable act of vandalism from time to time.
    A.P.McCarthy

    • Iain Roberts says:

      Hi Anthony,

      Thanks for the comment. There’s been a lot of work done on the H&F mirror idea and at the moment it doesn’t look viable. The first issue is that Hydes don’t want to do it – they own the pub and they would need to apply for planning permission.

  18. Jb says:

    I agree that its the speed of the traffic coming from the Cheadle direction that is the main cause of the problem.

    The present arrangement would be safer if the village 20mph speed limit were extended from the railway bridge to a point beyond the Vet’s clinic possibly with an active speed sign as was trialled on Styal Rd.

    Impatient motorists may dislike this but the same road is subject to a similar limit through Cheadle. As traffic increases I feel it is only a matter of time until a major accident occurs here.

  19. Dermot says:

    Where is the evidence to change to a one way system? As you have stated, one recorded accident by the police at the Horse an Farrier junction in the last five years. All the rest is hearsay and rumour. Why are you looking for problems to solve that don’t exist? The junction isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination but look for something more meaningful to spend your time on. Care for the elderly and sick for example!

    • Iain Roberts says:

      Hi Dermot – it’s something we’ve been asked to look at the junction is certainly one that concerns local residents. Rest assured that we spend a lot of time looking at care of the sick and elderly as well! (The Stockport Together programme that Keith is leading on aims to transform the way we do that).

  20. Estelle Weiner says:

    I agree to disagree with the one way notion. As mentioned, lack of accidents shows that there isn’t a major problem there. I do like the roundabout idea, with the clock tower in it tho’ I fear for those occasions when idiots go straight across them. Even traffic lights at. H&F at the cost quoted must be less than all the new signage, road markings, changes at Park Road lights etc. Iain, what’s the difference in cost please? Without some idea, we’re all flailing around with no real context to compare the options.

  21. David Johnson says:

    Whatever is decided it will be a plaster over a broken bone. One-way Church Road is not even a plaster. May I suggest another idea. The main danger at the H&F/Church Road junction comes from speeding or inattentive drivers approaching from Cheadle – who cannot see around the old NatWest building (no I am not saying pull it down). Make the approach slower with a 20 mph limit – as has been suggested by JB – plus one or maybe two speed measuring and displaying signs to emphasise the point.

  22. Keith Bradbury says:

    The junction at Park Road and Altrincham Road is already too busy and there have been numerous accidents over many years including one in the last two weeks when a pedestrian was knocked down crossing the road. Also the road is narrow making it awkward to get two cars side by side to turn right into Altrincham Road. I think that for local residents visiting the shops in Gatley by car the proposal would be a bad one as I think it would generate far more right turns into Church Road from Altrincham Road and would encourage people to travel to the shops in Cheadle rather than use Gatley if the were already driving down Altrincham Road.
    Also the H & F junction into Old Hall Lane needs to be widened to make access and egress easier and maybe reduce the car parking outside the shops. Could tempory parking be provided behind the Tatton as we once had, even if the Council leased the site?

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