We closed Forfar Street north of Warrington Street as part of the transport projects in St Albans last year.
The intersection of Forfar Street and Warrington Street is now a T-intersection making it safer for people walking and biking through the area, easier to get to Cranford Street and Barbadoes Street and quieter and safer for residents of local residential streets.
A formal consultation for the Forfar Street proposal was completed as part of the original scheme consultation in July and August 2019. This document was delivered to approximately 9,000 households including Berwick Street, Forfar Street, Francis Ave and Flockton Street.
The following consultation documents relate to Forfar Street:
- Transport projects in the Cranford Street area(external link)
- Proposed changes to Cranford Street and the surrounding area(external link)
One of the main objectives of the downstream effects project is to ensure that the Christchurch Northern Corridor (CNC) traffic travelling through the area stays on the arterial roads rather than short-cutting through the local residential road network.
A preliminary analysis indicated there were local roads at risk of seeing a large increase in traffic flow from vehicles short-cutting through residential areas to avoid the arterial corridor.
The Downstream Effects Management Plan (DEMP) proposed traffic calming some of the local roads to discourage short-cutting, while providing a substantial capacity upgrade on arterial corridors, such as Cranford Street and either Sherborne Street or Madras Street and Barbadoes Street, to encourage traffic to stay on arterial roads.
This capacity upgrade would have included four lanes of traffic and intersection upgrades.
The two options recommended by DEMP were either providing four traffic lanes on the entire length of the Cranford – Sherborne corridor or providing four traffic lanes on Cranford Street between Innes Road and Berwick Street and two northbound traffic lanes on Madras Street and two southbound traffic lanes on Barbadoes Street.
The capacity increase on Madras and Barbadoes Street is to link in with the existing one-way system in the central city.
Through consultation with residents, key stakeholders and the affected Community Boards it was clear that the capacity upgrades were not preferred by the community. Therefore, additional assessments were carried out to investigate the local residential areas for short-cutting and alternative ways to keep traffic off those identified locations.
This work was completed to ensure the DEMP objectives were achieved without increasing the number of traffic lanes on arterial corridors.
An outcome of the assessment found that the closure of Forfar Street was a key intersection change to reduce short-cutting on the local roads. Forfar Street, north of Warrington Street, is classified as a local road, despite this traffic counts showed that it already had approximately 4,000 Average Weekday Daily Traffic (ADWT).
Modelling indicated with the opening of CNC the daily traffic volumes would increase to 7600 AWDT with particular increases in the morning and evening peak periods.
- During the evening peak, the additional traffic using Forfar Street would then continue to travel north along other local roads, such as Thames, Severn, Mersey and Nancy prior to connecting back to Cranford Street and CNC.
- During the morning peak, the traffic would travel in the reverse direction, potentially also coming from the Knowles, Western, McFaddens and Jameson.
The capacity of the existing roundabout would not have been able to accommodate expected traffic flows at the Forfar/Warrington intersection. The upgrade to a signalised T-intersection provides more capacity for the turning movements to maintain traffic on arterial corridors.
The analysis also indicated (and is confirmed through the recent traffic monitoring data), that the Forfar Street closure at the Warrington Street intersection results in less traffic overall using all local streets north of Warrington Street during both peaks. It also indicated network-wide benefits in reducing the peak traffic flows on surrounding local streets.
The closure of Forfar Street and the upgrade of the Berwick Street and Warrington Street corridor has kept traffic on Cranford Street and off the local roads. The traffic monitoring confirms there has not been an increase in traffic volumes on Mersey Street, Thames Street, Severn Street and Forfar Street.
The recent monitoring information for Forfar, Francis and Flockton also indicate an overall reduction in traffic on the three roads in this corridor. The below table summarises the average daily traffic volumes (ADT) and average weekday traffic volumes (AWDT) including during the trial period.
7 and 5 day average daily traffic volumes
|2018||Pre-downstream effects works||ADT (7 day)||3732||735||2220||6687|
|AWDT (5 day)||4080||796||2411||7287|
|Nov 2020||Pre-CNC opening, post-closure of Forfar Street||ADT||NA||1407||2493||3900|
|22 to 28 February 2021||Pre-trial||ADT||NA||1407||2493||3900|
|1 March to 7 March 2021||Week 1 trial left-in left-out Francis Ave||ADT||NA||1293||3438||4731|
|8 to 14 March 2021||Week 2 trial left-in left-out Francis Ave||ADT||NA||1015||3599||4614|
|15 to 21 March 2021||Week 3 trial left-in left-out Francis Ave||ADT||NA||955||3658||4613|
|22 to 28 March 2021||Week 4 trial left-in left-out Francis Ave||ADT||NA||958||3651||4609|
|29 March to 4 April 2021||Week 1 cul-de-sac trial Francis Ave||ADT||NA||380||3678||4058|
|5 to 11 April 2021||Week 2 cul-de-sac trial Francis Ave||ADT||NA||267||3727||3994|
|12 to 18 April 2021||Trials removed||ADT||NA||495||3961||4456|
|19 to 25 April 2021||Post-trial||ADT||NA||1127||3015||4142|
Upgrading the Forfar Street/Warrington Street roundabout to a signalised T-intersection allowed improvements to cyclist and pedestrian safety.
Typically vehicle crashes resulting in death or serious injury are less likely to occur on a roundabout than on a signalised crossroads. Roundabouts do not function well for cyclists or pedestrians with disproportionate levels of crashes and incident of death or serious injury.
Closing the northern approach of Forfar Street, and having a signalised T-intersection, results in fewer conflict points to manage. This means it is a safer intersection for all road users, particularly cyclists and pedestrians and overall it is a more efficient intersection resulting in more vehicles traffic staying on the main arterial corridors.
Pedestrian and cycle network
While Forfar Street is closed to vehicle access, it remains open to cycles and pedestrians. This creates a safer and more efficient network for active and sustainable modes to the north of Warrington Street which supports and encourages modal shift.
The consultation document was sent to approximately 9000 properties in the St Albans area which included the information regarding the closure of Forfar Street at Warrington Street.
We also ran a specific Facebook post related to this change which was shared with the St Albans Community page as part of highlighting the change at this intersection.
We received 41 submissions (out of 253 submissions received) related to this proposed change. This detail formed part of the overall consultation report which is one aspect taken into consideration (alongside technical information) when is elected members make their decisions.
The intention has always been to carry out traffic calming for the surrounding local streets to reduce any impacts of changes to traffic volumes. The engagement was carried out in November 2020 with property owners and residents of Mersey Street, Thames Street, Francis Avenue and Flockton Street.
We asked for feedback on six traffic calming options and also any other ideas people may have. During this engagement, two drop-in sessions were held on 10 and 11 November 2020 at Christchurch Park where there was an opportunity to discuss this further street by street.
All feedback received during this process helped informed what options would be trialled on each street. A summary of the submissions follows:
- Francis Avenue - 31 submissions received. Main themes included support for a cul-de-sac in the middle of Francis Avenue (most popular option – 13 submissions), general feedback on how Francis Avenue is operating and concerns with speeding vehicles, safety and an increase in traffic.
- Thames Street - 10 submissions received. Residents reported issues with speeding vehicles and other safety concerns. The majority of submissions supported traffic calming at the Innes Road end of Thames Street.
- Flockton Street - 7 submissions received. The main themes were speeding vehicles, no speed humps, an increase in traffic and to adopt a wait and see approach.
- Mersey Street - 8 submissions received. The main themes were no speed humps along with different traffic calming suggestions.
Forfar Street – changes to the closure
Any changes to the existing Forfar Street closure requires an assessment of the impacts, and consideration of the legal obligations from the CNC designation conditions.
The legal implications would likely be far-reaching and require a substantial traffic calming package on the local roads especially to the north of Westminster Street including the option of significant movement restrictions and loss of community connectivity.
It is also possible that additional capacity upgrades would be required on both Cranford and Sherborne Streets.
In addition, reopening Forfar Street would result in a less safe intersection and compromise the ability of pedestrians and cyclists to use the local road network. Quiet residential streets that are a direct route are preferable for pedestrians and cyclists.
The costs associated with reopening Forfar Street would include the possible re-consultation, physical works, signal upgrades and intersection modifications.
Further to this development of a much wider package of works for traffic calming and changes would be necessary to meet the designations conditions of the CNC.