ePetition details

Southfield Way Crossing at the Sniperley Roundabout

We the undersigned petition the Council to Give (long overdue) priority to enhancing the safety of pedestrians and cyclists crossing Southfield Way at the A691 exit road into Durham from the Sniperley (Hospital) roundabout

The crossing is extremely hazardous, even with a central refuge at the top of Southfield Way. Traffic exiting the roundabout at speed, into Southfield Way, frequently does not signal when completing that manoeuvre. It's estimated that potentially over 10% of the footfall from Durham Johnston could at some time be using this crossing point. The proposed housing development beyond the Fire Station will, in due course, add to traffic and footfall levels in this area. If signalling the roundabout is not going to take place in the short-term then what measures will DCC be implementing to address these safety concerns? (and consistent with it's general promotion of walking and cycling throughout Durham).

This ePetition ran from 29/09/2023 to 10/11/2023 and has now finished.

127 people signed this ePetition.

Council response

The difficulties pedestrians have experienced crossing the roads at Sniperley roundabout was brought to our attention and discussed at your face-to-face meeting with officers at County Hall on 17th July 2023.

Requests for formalised crossings, such as a zebra crossings or traffic signal-controlled crossings, are assessed against national criteria devised by the Department for Transport (DfT), which takes into account various factors, including traffic flow and the number of pedestrians crossing the road throughout the day and not just the busiest period. It has been proven that low pedestrian flows at formalised crossings results in more road traffic accidents whereby the motorist has failed to stop, therefore, this is the reason for the DfT guidance.

Notwithstanding the above, pedestrian facilities would only be feasible on the existing pedestrian desire lines as part of a full signalisation of Sniperley roundabout. This has been investigated in recent years by the Traffic Signals Team who have advised that any proposals to introduce traffic signals, with pedestrian phases, would require more capacity on the roundabout’s circulatory system or the removal of one of the junction legs. Without such works being undertaken, traffic signals would increase the queue lengths on the roundabout approaches, thus having a knock-on effect at other locations, such as the Hospital Roundabout on Southfield Way back towards County Hall Roundabout, creating increased congestion which, in turn, can lead to further road safety concerns at other locations on nearby routes. There are currently no plans to progress this further at the present time, however, it is likely to be considered in the future as part of wider traffic management plans associated with new developments in the areas around Sniperley, Pity Me and Framwellgate Moor.

The traffic flow and congestion at the roundabout is typical of many roundabouts seen elsewhere in the country where demand increases at ‘peak times’ during the day and it is appreciated it can be as difficult to cross at peak times as it is during other periods when the roundabout is not congested. However, in considering pedestrian numbers, the existing crossing facilities of dropped kerb crossing points to the splitter islands on the side roads, where traffic is more likely to be travelling slower and drivers would be more aware of pedestrian usage, remain appropriate for this junction. We previously discussed your suggestion around moving the crossing point further round into Southfield Way away from the flow of the roundabout and the potential safety implications of pedestrians crossing at a location where, unlike at the existing islands, drivers may not expect to encounter people crossing. Additionally, and more importantly this suggested alternative would also have required pedestrians to consider traffic over three lanes, travelling in both directions and would offer no midway island where pedestrians could wait for a suitable opportunity to cross.

Please be assured we will consider appropriate changes as part of a wider project should the opportunity present.