Seven Hills Road

Seven Hills Road was surveyed on 29th January 2009, to determine the feasibility of using the footway on the eastern side of the road as a shared use cycle path.

Summary

There are no significant problems with the use of this footway as a shared use cycle path. Improvements could be made to the dropped curbs at various points. Little else is required.

Survey

The survey was carried out by George James (Sustrans Ranger and OpenStreetMap Surveyor) on Thursday 29th February 2009 between 2pm and 4pm. The weather was clear and dry but rather cold (5°C).

I traveled the route from Queens Road down Seven Hills Road, joining the footway just to the south of the roundabout. At Convent Lane I turned left and continued along Convent Lane until it reached the A245 at Cobham.

There is a continuous pedestrian footway on the eastern side of Seven Hills Road for the whole distance from Queens Road to Convent Lane. The footway continues beyond Convent Lane, presumably as far as Byfleet Road, although this was not surveyed so I cannot be 100% certain. There is a footway on the western side of Seven Hills Road at the Weybridge end, but it terminates after about 10m, just before the white palings that mark the entrance to Weybridge.

On joining the footway at the Weybridge end it is necessary to cross the busy A317 and Seven Hills Road itself if coming from the Weybridge direction. Both roads are busy enough to require a degree of care. There is no dropped curb at this point on either side of Seven Hills Road.

The footway breaks at the roundabout with Burwood Road and again at West Avenue which is the entrance to Whiteley Village. In both cases there is a narrow dropped curb which would be adequate but not ideal for cyclists. At the Burwood Road roundabout the dropped curb is set about 10m along Burwood Road to avoid the flare at the approach to the roundabout.

Opposite Hillview Nursery there is a permanently gated road, Chestnut Avenue, which leads to Whiteley Village, there is a dropped curb here that is adequate. Some deformation of the road surface was noted here, probably caused by vehicles parking in the entrance to Chestnut Avenue. One white van was parked here at the time of the survey but was not obstructing the footway.

The footway crosses one residential driveway, Fox Oak, just after West Avenue at the top of the hill. The transition across this driveway is smooth and trouble free.

The footway is constructed of tarmac and separated from the roadway by standard curbstones. It is in reasonably good condition with only one place, opposite Hillview Nursery, where there is any significant deformation. It is approximately 1.5m in width along the whole length, except at the very northern end after the entrance to Weybridge, where it narrows to about 1m at the point that the road curves to join the roundabout. Along most of the length of the footway it could feasibly be widened by another 0.5m without extending beyond the road verges which are presumably Surrey County Council's property. Along it's whole length, there were no more than about 4 mature trees within 0.5m of the existing footway.

At Convent Lane there is another narrow dropped curb which provides an easy transition from the footway onto the Convent Lane road surface. A sign indicates that Convent Lane is private road and there is a gate at this point which is sometimes closed. There is space to the side of the gate for pedestrians to pass, and I suspect that there is an established right of way because of this. This gap is somewhat narrow, but adequate for cyclists to use when the gate is closed.

Convent Lane is single track with no footway on either side. There are sleeping policemen at regular intervals to slow the traffic. The lane passes Notre Dame School, a cricket playing field and Walton Firs Activity Centre before passing through an underpass beneath the A3 and finally joining the A245 at Cobham. As it was close to school leaving time there was a moderate amount of traffic but none of it was fast or threatening to a cyclist. There is adequate width for a vehicle to pass a bicycle at any point along the road.

The route was traveled the whole length in both directions. During this time no pedestrians were observed on the footway. One other cyclist was seen using the footway. There was evidence from tracks in muddy puddles that the footway is regularly used by cyclists. Conversely, there were no footprints, which suggests that the footway is virtually never used by pedestrians.

Recommendations

In order of priority:

  • The footway should be signed, in both directions, as a shared use cycle path, at least from the point where it leaves Weybridge as far as Convent Lane.
  • The footway deformation, opposite Hillview Nursery, should be repaired.
  • Dropped curbs should be established at the northern end of Seven Hills Road on both sides of the road. The flare could be used a refuge at this point to make it easier for both pedestrians and cyclists to cross. A senior living care home has recently been constructed nearby on the corner of Ellesmere Road and Queens Road, I would expect that dropped curbs would be beneficial to these residents and I'm astonished that they were not funded as part of this development.
  • The dropped curbs at Burwood Road should be widened and possibly repositioned to take advantage of the flare as a central refuge and to reduce the current 10m diversion into Burwood Road.
  • The dropped curbs at West Avenue should be widened.
  • The provision of cycle route signs along Convent Lane should be investigated.
  • Cyclist use should be monitored, and if usage is high enough to warrant it, the footway should be widened to 2.0m or more along its whole length.
  • Notre Dame School should be contacted to highlight the importance of this as a cycle route from Weybridge to the school. Cooperation with them on the development of this route should be sought. They should actively encourage their pupils to cycle to school from both Weybridge and Cobham, although I note that it is an all girls school and enjoys extensive school bus provision.
  • At the northern end of Seven Hills Road in the leftmost carriageway there is a white road marking comprising the letters WEY'BG. This is grammatically incorrect. It should be erased and repainted correctly as WEYB'G', or perhaps more aesthetically as WEYBR.