Fringe Box



Exhibition Wants Your Views on How to Improve the Guildford Gyratory

Published on: 16 May, 2013
Updated on: 16 May, 2013
The Guildford gyratory operates as a very large roundabout but forces many vehicles to cross the river twice when more direct routes could mean they would not need to at all.

The Guildford gyratory operates as a very large roundabout but forces many vehicles to cross the river twice when more direct routes could mean they would not need to at all.

Local people are to be asked for their ideas on how to make it safer and easier to cycle, walk and drive around the Guildford gyratory, during a three day exhibition.

Surrey County Council and Guildford Borough Council will be drafting a plan to improve Guildford’s busy town centre in a bid to nurture economic growth and increase safety, both on and off the road.

This will be used to develop a funding bid of up to £5 million to the Department for Transport to help pay for improvements.

But before any plans are made, both councils want to hear what residents, businesses and shoppers want to see improved. People can have their say during a three-day exhibition which will also show visitors what £5 million could pay for.

John Furey, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, said: “Guildford is already a busy town and in future years is likely to busier as more people choose to live and work there. We’ll be putting together a plan that will help nurture economic growth and improve quality of life.

“There’s already a lot being done to make it easier for people to move around Guildford, but getting the gyratory right will make a big difference. So please do come along to the exhibition, let us know what you think of our ideas and tell us how you think the gyratory could be improved.”

James Palmer, Lead Councillor for Town Centre Planning and Infrastructure, said: “We are working closely with Surrey County Council to improve facilities for everyone who uses the busy gyratory system. As part of this we are keen to hear your views either in person on the day or online.”

Each day around 46,500 cars use the Guildford gyratory between 7am and 7pm and around 1,000 people per hour use the pedestrian crossing on Onslow Street to get to the Friary Centre.

Some of the possible improvements to the gyratory include:

  • Making Bridge Street pedestrian only
  • Widening pavements
  • Reintroducing two-way traffic
  • Creating better cycle routes
  • Improving access for public transport

The exhibition opened today (May 16) at the Guildford YMCA in Bridge Street. Tomorrrow and Saturday (May 17 and 18) it will be at the Holy Trinity Church in Guildford High Street, from 9am to 5pm.

As well improving the gyratory, both the county and borough council’s have been working on a host of measures to make it easier to move around Guildford. These include building the new Onslow Park and Ride which is due to open this autumn, new and improved cycle routes and improvements to North Street.

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Responses to Exhibition Wants Your Views on How to Improve the Guildford Gyratory

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    May 16, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    I do so wish they would move the bus waiting area to the railway station. It is an essential part of connected travel, needed to reduce car use in Guildford.

    This needs to occur before £5million is spent on a system which may need a totally different approach to road design and traffic flow once people don’t need to drive their car to the train station.

    Also, we need to know where the cars are going to and from through Guildford before deciding capacity requirements of the central system.

    Oh golly gosh… that would take town planning!

  2. Bernard Parke Reply

    May 17, 2013 at 7:42 am

    We had two way traffic in the sixties when traffic flows were very much lighter.

    It was changed as a temporary measure into a one way system when major infrastructure work was badly needed.

    To everyone’s surprise it relieved much on the traffic bottle necks and so the system was made permanent.

    The gyratory system was introduced instead of a new north south road which was said to be too costly when county highways took over after the 70s Local Government Act was passed. The gyratory did not work then and it certainly does not work now.

    However, it did destroy part of our town forever.

    Surely the real answer to the traffic problem is to divert the through traffic before it reaches our grid-locked centre.

    Most of the drivers would rather not be in central Guildford at all.

  3. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    July 9, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    Good news indeed for Guildford Borough Council securing funding of £15m under the M3 LEP. This funding includes £5m for 5G technology developments and £6.4m for improvements to the gyratory and sustainable transport. I’m not sure what the other £3.7m actually is for, improved access to retail and employment sites perhaps?

    Improved pedestrian and cycling access are part of sustainable transport provision, however, the current two-way modification proposal would be hard pressed to achieve this for the cyclists as there would be no room in two-way Onslow Street and the Friary Bridge.

    It may well be different under the scenario painted by Guildford Vision Group/Allies Morrison where the whole area between Millbrook and Friary Street is to be demolished to develop the riverside and a wider north south avenue from North Street to beyond Mill Lane junction is created.

    Current thinking for the two-way gyratory, I fear, would be unworkable during the peak hours, as the traffic controls at both ends of the Friary Bridge would have to have additional signal phases. Stacking lengths would be too short both in Onslow Street northbound and Park Street southbound that could cause problems from blockage of the junction areas and likely to worsen the queuing on all arms of the modified traffic circulation.

    It surprises me to see that Surrey County Council highways department have apparently agreed to these changes according to a Guildford Vision Group article. Such modifications have been explored many times in the past but not progressed. So what has changed?

    There is no proposal to deal with the immensely adverse effect on traffic due to the closure of the subway in preference to the surface pedestrian crossing opposite Debenhams. Even during off-peak hours traffic tails back to Onslow Street due to poor performance of this crossing. There is a solution and that is to modify this to a two-stage crossing by introducing a chicane for the two northbound lanes thus creating the island needed in the middle for this configuration. I have written to the Councils about this suggestion but I have no idea why the councils are reluctant to explore this inexpensive but highly effective solution.

    I believe this £2.7m of funding would be largely wasted in tinkering with the gyratory under the current proposals and likely to make congestion worse. There are other solutions to these problems but both borough and county councils are pursuing an unbalanced policy in favour of pedestrians at the expense of motorised traffic.

    Guildford businesses are likely to suffer as congestion worsens driving prospective customers to alternative shopping malls in nearby towns. Easy access and nearby parking are essential in bringing in large number of shoppers to the town centre. The solutions must therefore seek to be fair to all road users.

  4. Bernard Parke Reply

    July 10, 2014 at 9:11 am

    Any available money for road improvement in central Guildford to relieve traffic congestion should be used for just that purpose.

    It should be used divert through traffic from the gyratory system not to encourage such passing vehicles to use it even more frequently.

  5. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    July 10, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Unfortunately, diverting traffic from the gyratory system requires a much bigger funding than a meagre sum of £2.7million. Longer term measures requiring new routes with bridges, and perhaps also tunnels, are required to solve these problems.

    Closing Bridge Street to all traffic except buses and closing Walnut Tree Close to through traffic as an experimental scheme are totally flawed measures considering the volume of traffic that converges into Guildford.

    There are no viable alternative routes avoiding the gyratory. If the proposed two-way scheme is introduced, congestion will only worsen with a considerably degraded environment full of exhaust fumes, noise and irate drivers stuck in longer jams.

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