Fringe Box



Letter: A Re-configured Gyratory, But Where Will the Traffic Go?

Published on: 27 May, 2021
Updated on: 27 May, 2021

A re-constructed town bridge could once again form part of a re-jigged road layout.

From Bibhas Neogi

In response to: ‘This Should Be Guildford’s Masterplan’ GBC Leader Tells Executive As Next Stage Approved

Martin Giles reports: “A fundamental aspect of the plan is the re-routing of traffic within the town centre so that the A281 no longer cuts off the river from the town centre. Several possible solutions, not included in the published content, are understood to have been outlined by planners but all are likely to see serious objection from those adversely affected.”

I wonder what these several solutions are? I see the plan is currently showing the A281 route taken over a rebuilt(?) Town Bridge but how is the combined traffic with the A3100 catered for in Park Street?

Also, the Friary Bridge would carry much-reduced traffic with the remainder given over mainly to the pedestrians. But Bridge Street will still have three lanes of traffic.

It is not difficult to see that such an altered network would not be able to cope with the traffic volume now let alone cater for any increase due to new housing to be built under the Local Plans of Guildford and Waverley. So, how and where would the reduction in traffic through the town be made so that the proposed alterations have a fair chance of working?

A transport hub close to the railway station would help more use of buses. I understand North Street developer is keeping the bus station where it is for the time being.

Readers here have seen my various posting for the relocation of the bus station on Bedford Road surface car park site and proposals for associated changes to the bus lane on Onslow Street as well as improved entry and exit routes for buses. New Walnut Bridge would be the ideal connection between the bus and the rail station.

I would urge the councils to be bold and courageous and give serious considerations to a new east-west crossing and to lowering the A281 into a tunnel-like route between Quarry Street junction and York Road roundabout. My suggestion for a holistic solution can be found here.

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Responses to Letter: A Re-configured Gyratory, But Where Will the Traffic Go?

  1. David Ogilvie, architect Reply

    May 27, 2021 at 3:20 pm

    According to the published masterplan draft prepared by David Leomard for GBC. Friary Bridge will be closed to traffic and Bridge Street, shows traffic from west to east only while the A281 will be closed to traffic from Bridge Street to the Town Bridge. So how can traffic travel from north to south through Guildford?

    Surely we want all motor traffic out of the town centre so that it can be pedestrianised from the High Street to the railway station, accidents and pollution reduced and the riverside opened up.

    I gave a plan to former managing director of GBC, Sue Sturgeon, in 2012 that achieved this but it was ignored. If taken up it would have stopped Solum. But, it is not too late and it is still relevant.

    • Bibhas Neogi Reply

      May 28, 2021 at 4:39 pm

      As David Ogilvie has said, “So how can traffic travel from north to south through Guildford?” I would add north to west to that question, since no change is shown for Bridge Street where all three lanes are still going eastward.

      Not having seen these routes on the sketches, I thought this must be an omission, so I assumed the architect had forgotten to show Friary Bridge carrying these routes and hence my comment in the letter.

      The alternative is to carry a southbound lane one way through Friary Street on to the High Street and then turning either left or right. Is it what is intended but not shown in the sketches?

      Ideally though, a new east-west route if so designed, should be able to carry southbound traffic via Guildford Park Road, Farnham Bridge and Park Street.

      Cllr John Rigg responded: The content in the presentation was only meant to be illustrative of the potential ideas. Much more work would need to be carried out before any choice is made and the public must have their say, and contribute their ideas, in the next consultation stage.

  2. Jim Allen Reply

    May 28, 2021 at 8:36 pm

    Take 50% of traffic off the above-ground A3 with a tunnel, move southbound traffic to the A25 via Gosden Hill and south-east A281 traffic via Compton to Waverley and the problem in the town Centre disappears.

    Look at the larger area and stop trying to micro-manage the town-centre traffic.

  3. David Ogilvie Reply

    May 29, 2021 at 4:21 pm

    Despite what Cllr John Rigg has said, the draft master plan made public does not function and is a non-starter.

    Nothing delivers like the York Road to Guildford Park Road crossing. GBC should focus on how to achieve this, not keep thinking of reasons why not.

    David Ogilvie is an architect and town planner

  4. Anthony Mallard Reply

    May 29, 2021 at 5:58 pm

    When I worked in London and used the railway station in Guildford and the bus to and from Burpham, there were many occasions when, during periods of rain, I became soaking wet walking between the railway station and the bus terminus. This was especially so at the triangle pedestrian island at the bottom of Bridge Street near to the Friary Centre, where, it appeared to me, the traffic light phasing was specially designed to maroon pedestrians.

    I am a simple fellow. Can someone tell me why the two aspects of transport in Guildford are not and not planned to be co-located?

    • David Roberts Reply

      June 8, 2021 at 10:37 am

      Mr Mallard should stop complaining and embrace the Local Plan’s glorious vision of a “modal shift” to sustainable transport.

      That includes walking, paddling, sprinting across roads and pogo-sticking from the bus station to the station. All excellent for health and the environment. Why can’t residents just accept that the planners know best?

  5. Brian Holt Reply

    May 30, 2021 at 7:24 pm

    Don’t rail passengers know that Safeguard Buses, route no 5. already serve Guildford Railway Station stopping at the “back” Guildford Park Entrance? The journey time is only a few minutes. There is no need for anyone to walk. They give regular service both ways.

    • George Potter Reply

      June 1, 2021 at 11:40 am

      This is all very well, but the number 36 or 37 Arriva buses from Merrow and Burpham to the town centre cost £5 for a return ticket. While one could then change to the number 5 Safeguard bus at the bus station, it would require buying yet another ticket and adding ten to fifteen minutes of waiting for the bus, in which time one could simply walk to the railway station instead.

      George Potter is a Lib Dem borough councillor for Burpham.

    • Jim Allen Reply

      June 1, 2021 at 2:29 pm

      It may serve the station but where else? Cranleigh? Worplesdon? Bellfields? Jacobs Well? Burpham? Merrow? No it doesn’t.

      Passengers should not have to walk right across the station from platform 1 to see if there is a bus running, which will take you back to the front of the station then around the town to the bus station. It would be quicker to walk.

      We need an “integrated” transport system. I would strongly recommend those who wish to champion use of public transport research the subject. Mr Mallard has it right.

    • Bibhas Neogi Reply

      June 1, 2021 at 2:57 pm

      Yes, of course it is possible to take a bus from the railway station in Guildford Park Road to the bus station. A day trip ticket costs £4.50 but a weekly season is £9 whereas 10 single trips are £17.50. A bit pricey for an occasional traveller for a journey of less than a mile!

      What is needed is for a bus station to be located as close as possible to the railway station. But with no provision made by Solum within the station forecourt, the nearest place is Bedford Road surface car park site.

      A minibus hub behind Dominion House for say six bus stops would allow buses from the north and the east to drop off passengers for the town centre and pick up those wanting to go to the bus station in Bedford Road site including those for their return journeys. A decent waiting area with facilities could be provided for the comfort of the passengers in addition to a larger facility at the bus station.

      Passengers from the south and the west could walk across Onslow Street for the Friary Centre or take any outgoing buses that go via North Street towards Epsom Road if they wish to avoid walking uphill and return to the bus station on the incoming buses.

  6. A Atkinson Reply

    May 31, 2021 at 9:39 pm

    Cllr John Rigg says: “The content in the presentation was only meant to be illustrative of the potential ideas”. But he stood on a platform of sorting out the town. Now is not the time for, what seem to be, unworkable solutions as potential ideas. We want real solutions from the councillors that stood on the basis they had them.

    Is this flying a kite, or a dead cat? Having gone through the last 10 years, Guildford deserves better from its new, saviour promising, new elected representatives.

  7. Ramsey Nagaty Reply

    June 3, 2021 at 3:50 pm

    Jim Allen would merely move the problem elsewhere.

    Compton already has an AQMA [Air Quality Management Area] so increasing traffic should be resisted thru the air quality zone.

    We need serious solutions and whizzing road traffic through at the bottom of the Guildford High Street by widening the current pedestrianised bridge is not the solution.

    We should plan a cut-through tunnel at the gyratory, enforce park and ride and allocate season ticket car parking based more on arrival route area than proximity to the applicant’s place of business.

    Ramsey Nagaty is the GGG borough councillor for Shalford

  8. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    June 5, 2021 at 1:24 am

    Cllr Nagaty’s cut-through tunnel at the gyratory on its own would not deal with the problem. A new east-west route in conjunction with the north-south ‘tunnel’ is essential in removing the gyratory altogether.

    Technically, a “true” tunnel would be problematic for the reason that it has to be deeper underground to achieve a safe cover above it and result in much longer ramps.

    I have been advocating a top-down construction where the soil is removed to create the void once the top deck has been constructed. The deck spans between the two rows of piles along the route. This method does not require cutting open a deep trench unlike in a cut and cover method. My document, mentioned in my letter, illustrates the methodology.

    The A3 widening to three lanes is possible except for the two-lane section. This section operates in conjunction with the first bypass that is now the A25. In addition to the widening, the southbound on-slip at the Dennis roundabout could be taken separately to the Cathedral roundabout, thus removing the congestion created by the inadequate merge.

    So the councils should look at the possibility of the new east-west crossing urgently, before planning applications are lodged by the owners of viable sites.

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