Station Road Traffic Solution
Date: Tuesday, 2nd, February, 2021
Yesterday I discovered an online question from one of my local councillors regarding local traffic problems on Station road, where heavy commercial traffic is causing problems to residents next to the industrial estate. The councillor was looking for suggestions. Here I will explain one of my suggestions and how it may be fully-funded without substantial cost to the council, while improving conditions on that road and raising the value of properties on one section of the road.
For local residents and neighbours, this discusses only the housing on the front between Carna and Brooklands Roads. Other subtle solutions may be devised for other stretches of Station Road, subject to council approval.
Station Road has long had a thriving industrial estate at the bottom which has fluxed large and small over many decades. Once for heavy engineering with large cranes being build and, carefully delivered from the estate it remains a busy location for many enterprises large and small. The issue for residents is the increase in traffic, congestion and the demands for space on the roads with the increasing size of vehicles and tight nature of the road, especially with many residents making their legitimate use of the road for parking.
My proposal here offers one attempt to begin resolving this issue to everyone’s benefit and increasing likely property values and long term sustainability of the private community without harming the value added with the presence of the commercial activity.
The stretch of road is dominated by a great terrace of solid and attractive Edwardian homes, each of which is backed by a substantial garden, bounded by Farndon road at the rear.
Many decades ago there was a back entry/land/alley unadopted dirt path between the backs of the houses and the gardens, but this has now been absorbed by all the properties to increase the size of each property, and its value.
The basis of my proposal is to reopen this entry, rehabilitate the gardens into more elegant traditional structures, brick walled and cloistered, and subsequently increase the function and value of the homes and gardens. If managed successfully with full support from the Council this may be paid for independently of the Council and householders – it may become a free upgrade to householders.
My proposal for the upgrade is to shift all resident parking off Station Road along this stretch and provide new garages and additional enhancements to the residents at the rear of the houses. Although this reduces the amenity of the gardens there is an opportunity to vastly improve the homes if all residents and the Council approve.
The upgrade will consist of a series of new features giving the homes a further century lease of life. These begin by reopening the back entry and cutting into it for a slightly lowered and spacious garage.
At the same time there is opportunity to excavate deeper to create a secondary lower floor, cellar, den or secondary garage if residents want to install a vehicle lift at a future date.
The garage is narrower than the width of the property and recessed from the entry to allow a small ramp down into is the keep its roofline from dominating the property. This also allows an independent passage through to the new walled garden at the rear as a tranquil and private retreat for residents.
The den is optional but give more practical useful space and is an opportunity that should be taken now rather than later, to increase storage and working space. Skylights in the ramp to the garage will help illuminate the den.
There is a further option to enhance the practical use of the properties and increase their holding capacity. I must take account of the fact that not every resident will have a single car to be stored off the front, some may have two vehicles, beyond that they are on their own.
To provide for a second, smaller vehicle, or motorbikes, scooters, etc, I believe there is, just, enough space to squeeze access ramps and a small raise driveway over the tops of the garages, overlapping the gardens and entry to create open parking bays on top of the garages.
While this will be difficult to build and operate safely the potential for a second deck is there, although I suspect the car lift into the den would be the preferred option for most people with two vehicles.
Farndon Road forms the rear boundary of the properties and needs to be tidied up to provide overspill and visitor parking off Station Road. This also means that any garages at the end of the long gardens will have to be relocated into the new arrangement.
Station Road Traffic Control
The intention is to help residents remove their cars from the front along that stretch of Station Road. This way the issues cause by commercial vehicles speeding up from the industrial estate can be eased. I believe a reason why many commercial vehicles are causing problems is simply because of the narrow congestion on the road, forcing drivers to race past parked cars before another vehicle comes from the top of the road.
Traffic control does not have to be full-time. The purpose is to halt problems during the day in normal working hour, when that section of Station road may be declared a Clearway, for weekdays only. During weekends, evenings, bank holidays it will be open for the public to use in the normal fashion.
When I came upon this challenge I had just posted a query to local councillors to assist in an initiative to take advantage of the closure of the town centre Sainsburys (see this article here). This and one or two other opportunities could be redeveloped as a thriving urban village, and I see the potential of earning enough from that development to cover the entire costs of the Station Road solution over the next few years. Thus, should the Council approve of my vision for Warren Street in Stockport and the benefits to the whole town, a share of the profits will pay for Station Road. Cost to residents: nothing. Cost to Council: nothing, or minimal, with substantial rewards to follow for all participants.
Other funding options are available but outside the scope of this article.
Sandfold Lane Green Belt
As an additional note, the other suggestion I proposed to the councillor yesterday was a limited and tightly-controlled reopening of Sandfold Lane through to Mount Road, perhaps as a single lane one-way, exit only Clearway for departing traffic. This could also be an enhancement of the community of all surrounding open green spaces were preserved, protected and enhanced in line with thoughts I have had for the last forty years to create a communal green belt from Reddish into Manchester.