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A41 (west) approach into Graven Hill development

Reported in the Roads/highways category by Robert Haxton at 15:53, Sunday 22 September 2019

Sent to Oxfordshire County Council 2 minutes later

There is serious concern within the Graven Hill community that the manoeuvres required to go around the Rodney House roundabout when travelling down the A41 from the West and into the development are fundamentally unsound. Once people are familiar with this roundabout, the default reaction is to drive very defensively, since a collision always feels highly likely with road users who are trying to continue eastwards on the A41.

Myself and many others have taken to switching into the left hand lane for Graven Hill only once we have passed the A41 east roundabout exit, or simply indicate to move left from the middle lane into the development when held at the lights (a lane not marked for this purpose, but quite often the safest available option).

If no improvements are made to the Rodney House roundabout, it will only be a matter of time until accident statistics force change, especially as the development itself and the lanes used for Graven Hill become increasingly busy/occupied.

If someone was to investigate and repeatedly perform this manoeuvre around this roundabout, they would see the natural flow of traffic in this location is encouraged, not discouraged, to come into conflict with one another. As a community, we would welcome any positive action on this matter.

Council ref: ENQ19843127

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  • Thank you for your enquiry. This issue has been passed onto the relevant team for investigation.

    State changed to: Investigating

    Posted by Oxfordshire County Council at 15:55, Sunday 22 September 2019

  • Thank you for your report. sorry for the delay in a repsonse, iv been in contcat with our road agreements officer and have had the following back -

    Thank you for contacting OCC. As the officer responsible for working with the developer to deliver their planning obligations, I understand the concerns with the lane markings at the re-designed Rodney House Roundabout. I carried out your manoeuvre myself yesterday on a site visit to Graven Hill and it was quite tight to get in the correct lane. This is not made easier if you have to stop at the lights although the signals are absolutely necessary to facilitate the eventual flows of traffic and pedestrians coming out of Graven Hill.

    The original lane marking design was approved by OCC as it was not ‘wrong’ as such but it clearly did not work effectively in practice. Hence, following an independent Road Safety Audit earlier this year and subsequent discussions with the developer’s designer team, the Police Traffic Liaison officer, local County Councillor and OCC Traffic Safety team members, we persuaded the developer to re-design the markings and implement them. This has clearly worked much better. However, a relatively small signalised 5-arm roundabout is notoriously difficult to mark in order to accommodate all the potential movements and flows and so there is no absolute correct layout for the lane markings.

    I am struggling to see how the markings can be changed to make your manoeuvre any clearer – the only thing I can think of, picking up on your comment about staying in the middle lane and indicating, is to add “G/Hill” officially to the middle lane. The reason we took that off the original design was that there is only a single exit off to G hill so the Road Safety Auditor did not recommend 2 lanes going into 1 ideally. There is a bit of space there for 2 cars to merge in side by side but we were nervous about formalising it.

    I hope this response doesn’t sound too vague or dismissive but I’m not sure there is much more that can be done to clarify the movements. If you think that the additional marking in the middle lane would help and could be negotiated with 2 cars merging into the single exit and the appropriate defensive driving (which is pretty much the best way to negotiate most roundabouts in truth) then let us know via response and I will discuss that option with the relevant safety officers as well as with the developer.

    kind regards.

    State changed to: Investigation complete

    Posted by Oxfordshire County Council at 12:57, Thursday 26 September 2019

  • Firstly, thank you for your response. Secondly, I would like to add it was a more considered, meaningful and 'human' than I would expected. Your Road Agreements Officer deserves great credit for their actions and reply.

    I understand the point made that a relatively small signalised 5-arm roundabout is notoriously difficult to balance. Equally, I do believe formalising the manoeuvre to enter Graven Hill via a "G/Hill" marking in the middle lane (at the lights prior to entering the development) would help matters and legitimise the defensive approach residents are currently adopting.

    I do appreciate your concern over formalising 2 lanes merging into a single lane for Graven Hill, but there does appear to be a reasonable amount of width available for traffic to safely merge and I hope your guidelines support my belief. I believe that formalising the markings for this manoeuvre would provide a significant added opportunity for road users to more naturally steer clear of the fast-flowing traffic that wishes to head down the A41 (East) and to move into the Graven Hill development without incident. It would be better to formally acknowledge this emerging defensive traffic flow into Graven Hill and to add the new road merging markings to clarify the situation to all road users in the future.

    I’d like to also highlight that the speed limit within the development is 20mph, so road users entering Graven Hill via the roundabout should be preparing to do so in a calm and considered manner, which should support the safe and efficient merging of traffic.

    Kind regards,

    Robert Haxton

    Posted by Robert Haxton at 20:18, Monday 7 October 2019

  • The issue is with the lane markings from the A41 southbound. The left 2 lanes should move out to the left 2 lanes, but instead drivers going straight on often stay in the right 2 lanes, meaning they conflict with drivers turning right, particularly the second from right lane which is the GH turn.

    Posted anonymously at 11:39, Tuesday 8 October 2019

  • The problem is also with traffic in the left hand lanes who are continuing on the A41 to Aylesbury. They stay in the middle lane, which becomes the lane for Graven Hill, instead of moving over to the left. This causes conflict with traffic that has been in the right hand lane, marked Graven Hill, and who are directed by the road markings to slide over as they progress round the roundabout to exit into Graven Hill.

    Posted by Lynn Pratt at 00:41, Wednesday 9 October 2019

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