So how long does it take to walk from the existing Watford Tube station to the proposed replacement Ascot Road tube station? The station to station distance doesn’t effect me directly as given my current proximity to Watford Met the new station would be in different direction from “my” house.
According to the running results of the Save Watford Met survey: “68% of Watford Met users say using Ascot Rd Stn will add 11-31 mins to their trip, 38% 21+ mins. Only 6% will save time”
The booklet handed out at the recent Croxley Rail Link public consultation states “the walk between Watford Met and the proposed station at Ascot Road is 1.2km. On average this would take about 15 minutes to walk… currently, work is being done to see if there are any improvements that could be made to the walking route”
One of the routes between the current and proposed station today (shown below) measures 0.9 miles according to Google Maps which it estimates takes 17 minutes to walk. That’s about right as it took me 16 minutes 32 seconds when I timed it earlier today. Not wanting to get up at a normal 7:30 (since I am on holiday!) I instead walked about three hours later in the day. There wasn’t much traffic about and at several points I could have easily crossed both Rickmansworth Road and the bottom of Whippendell Road without using a pedestrian crossing but as I am sure that there is significantly more traffic along these routes at about 8 in the morning I crossed using only traffic lighted pedestrian crossings to give a more realistic figure.
Leaving Watford Met I headed down the steps at the left hand side of the station to Station Approach. In the nearest platform was one of the new air-conditioned walk-through Metropolitan line trains which I have yet to actually catch. The station car park was full. Not a single space left as I headed past the flats at Cassio Metro.
The vegetation along station approach was rather high but the route is fairly well-walked. One thing that struck me when walking along Rickmansworth Road was the number of crossings – plenty. There are traffic lights with pedestrian crossings either side of the junction where Station Approach reaches Rickmansworth Road, followed by 3 “Pedestrian refuge” crossings and a traffic lighted crossing just after Cassiobridge Road.
I walked past the former fire station site where new houses are under construction and around to Whippendell Road where I crossed using the puffin crossing near the Premier Inn. I headed past the dilapidated Sun clock and headed under the dis-used railway bridge over the old Ascot Road next to which the proposed station would be built and stopped my timer.
On to those “improvements that could be made to the walking route”. I found one dangerous road crossing on my walk. Not along the route between Watford Met and Ascot Road stations but between Ascot Road and the Watford and Croxley Business Parks as I continued my journey.
The picture below shows the view looking back towards the old Ascot Road from in-between the two carriageways of the new road.
On Google Street View (below) this doesn’t look so bad as the Street View Car is in the middle of the two lanes at the time, the vegetation has also since grown! As the road approaches the roundabout it bends to the left which further hinders a crossing pedestrian’s view of on-coming traffic.
If you were driving in the left hand lane I do not believe you would see someone waiting to cross the road just after the telegraph pole until you were pretty close. Perhaps more importantly it is impossible for pedestrians to see more than 20 metres or so of approaching traffic as they look right before crossing Ascot Road.
I would imagine that this crossing is not often used as there is a route around the other side of the roundabout which does not involve crossing the dual carriageway itself and is on the correct side of Hatters Lane for accessing the Watford Business Park (mostly warehouses) and most of the Croxley Business Park (offices). Despite this lack of use I would say the current crossing is rather unsafe, thankfully traffic should be heading to a stop at the roundabout.
There is a secondary, presumably quicker route between the current and proposed Metropolitan line stations that I may try tomorrow (weather permitting!). This route uses Swiss Avenue and Gade Avenue, reducing to just a few hundred metres or so the distance that needs to be walked alongside the busy Rickmansworth Road. Crossing Rickmansworth Road when exiting from Gade Avenue can be done either at the roundabout (without traffic signals), or by turning the wrong direction down Rickmansworth Road and crossing at the lights next to Cassiobridge Road.
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