Wike Lane route goes to 40mph

 

Villagers will have noticed speed limits have been reduced on Wike Lane and links between the village and the A659 despite the objection of East Keswick Parish Council and others. Those who objected were told that their opposition would be considered and they would receive a reply before any scheme went ahead. Such correspondence was being sent out March 20th before the scheme takes effect on March 25th.

The village opposition grew when notices of a proposed Speed Limit order began to appear fastened to bus stops which some commented would be the last place that motorists would notice them, and although the Wike Lane route lay outside the parish council boundary it forms the main conduit from the village to Leeds.

The Wike Lane route had always been a concern due to its crumbling road edges which many thought caused motorists to veer away from the edges towards the centre to find an acceptable road surface. The majority of its length was derestricted, which meant the national speed limit of 60mph applied and the section through Wike was at 40mph.

Residents of Wike were known to favour a 30mph limit in keeping with other villages and East Keswick Parish Council had no objection to that, but was against the introduction of a 40 zone throughout its length on account of it urbanising a rural landscape (40 limits need repeater signs every 350m to be enforceable) on a road which had no significant speed related accident issue (Leeds Highways claim there were seven accidents in five years which were ‘possibly’ speed related but none definites).

East Keswick Parish Council was not the only Parish Council to object, Shadwell PC did do and confirmed their objection when the subject was revisited.

Of the three Leeds ward councillors, Ann Castle deferred to Matthew Robinson as the councillor responsible for Highways issues locally. Rachel Proctor made known that she objected to the speed limits and Matthew Robinson – who was behind the controversial 30 limit through Scarcroft on the A58 which even the Leeds Highways engineer felt was over the top – supported the speed limit reduction but offered a meeting to discuss a compromise.

On July 9th 2012, the Chairman of East Keswick Parish Council and two other Parish Councillors met with Councillor Robinson and Highways Engineer Nick Borras as Leeds Civic Hall. A compromise was agreed which would have seen Wike’s 40 limit change to 30, the rest of the route remain derestricted and without the need for repeater signs, and roads around Bardsey reduce in speed in accordance with that Parish Council’s wishes. The compromise was duly posted on this website.

However, without any further communication Councillor Matthew Robinson went back on his word and without any further official communication to the Parish Council or individual objectors the speed limit signs started to appear in February 2013. One Parish Councillor bumped into him at a meeting in the interim and he said that the compromise would have needed to have been readvertised and the money for this was not available.

Around the same time as new speed limit signs began to appear sections of the road have been patched and the road surface significantly improved at its edges as objectors had lobbied for. Areas of overhanging trees between Wike and Slaid Hill have been cut back too. It is understood the route will be surface-dressed in summer.

The implemented speed limit order sees a doubling of the length of reduced speed around Wike including the long straight from the village to Scout Camp Bend. At precisely the point this is reached – arguably the most dangerous point on the three mile route – the speed limit gets relaxed.

Leeds City Council say ‘draft proposals have been drawn up to amend some of the speed limits on the A58 and these proposals are currently being discussed with local councillors’. Meanwhile at Bardsey Parish Council’s February meeting it was reported that Leeds Highways had been requested by them to consider additional traffic calming measures on Keswick Lane (which was a 30 zone before the above speed limit order and still a 30 limit now). No injury accidents had been reported in the previous five years here.