There were eight personal-injury road accidents at or around the junction in the two years up to December 2012, and a report prepared for Barnet Council says visibility needs to be improved, not least because Wellhouse Lane is a “high- frequency route” for buses (routes 263, 307 and 384), ambulances and other emergency services and speeding could pose a concern.
Detailed plans are now being prepared for a £70,000 road improvement which the council’s Chipping Barnet Area Environment Sub-Committee says could be carried out during the 2014–15 financial year.
The draft plans show that the Wellhouse Lane carriageway would be widened at the junction and the Wood Street kerb realigned to reduce the speed of traffic turning left towards the hospital; there would also be a new pedestrian refuge across the entrance to Wellhouse Lane.
A new footway would be constructed across the green space beside the junction, providing access from the existing zebra crossing on Wood Street to a new controlled crossing in Wellhouse Lane, which could also possibly become a new zebra crossing.
It is now impossible to know when it is safe to cross Wellhouse Lane
Final decisions on the work will be made once a full technical assessment has been made, and the council says this might lead to an unforeseen increase in the £70,000 estimate.
A contribution to the cost has been promised by London Buses on condition that the two nearby bus stops on Wood Street (serving routes 107 and 614) are improved to allow full disabled access.
In its report recommending the work, the sub-committee said the re-routing of the 307 service to terminate at Barnet General Hospital had prompted a discussion at the Chipping Barnet Area Residents Forum.
A report presented by Mrs Patricia Yorke called for a “comprehensive” traffic management plan for the Wellhouse Lane junction because bus stops, crossings and low-level kerbs had been installed without co-ordination and the result was “deeply unsatisfactory” for pedestrians.
“It is now impossible to know when it is safe to cross Wellhouse Lane and as there is no marked crossing or island refuge pedestrians are obliged to choose their own route across the road.”
Mrs Yorke welcomed the preparation of “concrete proposals” to improve pedestrian access and she was pleased that Barnet Council had finally acknowledged that the “sheer number of pupils from QE Boys’ School” made the need for a controlled pedestrian crossing on Wellhouse Lane much greater; it would also make it safer for hospital outpatients and pedestrians with mobility impairments, prams and push-chairs.