Fringe Box



Letter: Guildford is Still Heading for Traffic Disaster

Published on: 31 Dec, 2016
Updated on: 31 Dec, 2016

From Bibhas Neogi

It is just over a year now that I wrote a letter to The Dragon: Guildford Is Heading For Traffic Disaster Under Current Plans.

Since then, in November, Guildford Borough Council (GBC) approved its own planning application for the development on Guildford Park Road car park site without any apparent provision for an access road nor any for a road bridge over the tracks here, if such a scheme was to be considered, to reduce congestion in the gyratory.

GBC’s Executive committee is due to meet on January 3 (2017) to discuss the relocation of the bus station in connection with the development of North Street. The report prepared by Arup seems to suggest Bedford Road car park site is a preferred option, though further work is needed to examine the adequacy of access to it.

The proposal to remove the gyratory seems to rely on “modal shift” (more walking, cycling and using buses) and making Bridge Street for pedestrians and buses only, whereas Park Street, Friary Bridge and part of Onslow Street (that is now one-way approach to the Friary Bridge) are to be made two-way. The drawback of such a proposal is that the junctions on east and west of the Friary Bridge would have to have three signal phases instead of two.

The extra time for the additional lights phase plus the dead time between traffic phases would lead to a build up of longer queues on all approaches during peak periods. There is also no proposal to deal with the congestion at the junction of Guildford Park Road and Farnham Road when long queues can build up on both these roads.

It is extremely disappointing that a first rate consultant like Arup would produce such a recommendation unless they were constrained in their work. But where is the open riverside in Millbrook, removal of the Friary Bridge to open up the vista down the river and a wider Friary Street as suggested by Allies and Morrison and adopted by the council?

As I said before, Guildford is heading for a traffic disaster, “modal shift” or not.

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