There two main threads to the local traffic issues:
Volume, and capacity of local infrastructure
Traffic safety - accidents, speed and overall safety
Most local residents have voiced concerns that the rate of growth of traffic volume has outstripped the ability of the local road network to cope. At peak times, there are extensive delays at local bottlenecks, and the peak traffic times are stretching from a morning and evening rush hour to more approaching a two-hour period of intense traffic.
Outside of peak times, traffic speeds have been observed to be excessive - both subjectively and confirmed by detailed surveys.
There have been numerous accidents in and around the area.
We have obtained traffic survey data from 2016, taken in the 40mph zone near the Woodleigh Road junction. This was undertaken by the council after a local resident raised a petition to have the speed limit on Westwood Heath Road dropped to 30mph. This was considered and rejected by the council as the "Mean" speed overall was "only" 37.7mph and this was not considered to be an issue. Given that is the average and that these are significant times when the traffic is at a crawl, we requested the data to do our own analysis. The measured speeds are on the bottom axis. The graphic speaks for itself; the "unclassified" bar is made up of speeds over 70mph or where the equipment was unable to determine a speed.
We're undertaking further analysis but it does illustrate quite clearly that speeds are excessive for a residential area.
A46 Link Road
There are long term plans to provide some sort of bypass or ring route to alleviate the problems, improving the A46 junction at Stoneleigh and eventually linking the A46 with the A45 to the North of Coventry, with a link into the University and/or Westwood Heath.
The Programme Manager for the A46 Link Road presented the outline proposals to the WHRA Meeting on 12th June 2018 and the presentation can be found here.
In the presentation there's an indicative route for Phase Two broadly pointing at Westwood Heath Road, and it was stated that options would be brought forward for consultation later in 2018.
However in July 2018, a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to Solihull MBC resulted in the release of documents dated 2016 which show a much more precise route with Phase 2 joining at the bottom of Westwood Heath Road, possibly at the Kirby Corner island or possibly further up Westwood Heath Road. The map can be found on this link on the Burton Green website and also shows two possible routes for Phase 3, causing some consternation to our neighbouring areas.
We've been told that these routes will be revisited in the light of new housing developments having been approved but as an RA we've voiced our disappointment that these decisions are being taken behind closed doors without adequate consultation.
The implications for Westwood Heath are significant. By the time Phase 3 is complete (possibly 20 years away), there would be a bypass linking the A46 and A45. However by that time there could be another 1100 houses off Westwood Heath Road (based on the current local plans) plus huge developments at Kingshill and elsewhere.
In the short term (2 years or so) there would be junction improvements at the A46 Stoneleigh junction which would become a roundabout.
In the medium term, if the A46 is linked with a fast road joining somewhere into Westwood Heath, it is likely to generate significantly more traffic onto Westwood Heath Road as traffic heading for the A46 will want to use it in preference to the current route through the University and Gibbet Hill.
Similarly, traffic heading from the A46 to the Westwood Business Park will use the link road - so if the link road joins anywhere up Westwood Heath Road that traffic would traverse part of WWHR. The least impact would be a direct link to The Kirby Corner roundabout, but we believe that significant traffic calming measures would have to be put in place to stop WWHR becoming even more dangerous.
We will be actively lobbying for consultation on the route, and encourage all residents to voice their opinions.
We recognise that other local areas will be affected by these plans in different ways.
Footnote: Consultation began on the A46 Link Road in December 2020 and we have added a specific section to the website here.