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Letter: Guildford Will Never Achieve ‘Modal Shift’

Published on: 23 Dec, 2021
Updated on: 23 Dec, 2021

From: David Roberts

In response to: How will the Masterplan Encourage Modal Shift?

Walking and cycling should be encouraged as healthy exercise. But has it never occurred to the “modal shift” dogmatists that most Guildford residents will never, ever do it?

The spectrum of residents include infants, the elderly, the disabled, the infirm, the overweight and obese, the nervous, the time-pressed and the just plain lazy, as well as commuters who can’t cycle in their work clothes and everyone accompanied by pets, bulky shopping or other goods. Even able-bodied, super-fit me, since I have a habit of falling off bikes.

In other words, most people – especially the most vulnerable in society for whom a policy favouring walking or cycling could amount to discrimination. What they need is a clean, cheap, integrated public transport system, state-run and tax-funded like in Switzerland.

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Responses to Letter: Guildford Will Never Achieve ‘Modal Shift’

  1. Martin Elliott Reply

    December 23, 2021 at 2:05 pm

    David Roberts is quite correct and logical, unlike the dogmatists and disciples.

    “Modal Shift” has been in various GBC plans/documents, for the town centre, for over a decade. But there is never any evidence presented of a reduction in personal transport to the town centre.

    I believe Park & Ride is put forward as a cornerstone, or maybe part of a, clean, integrated public transport system. In the decade of operating P&R sites however, they have never covered the costs of operation.

    It is not unknown that public transport needs subsidy, but most of the £0.5 million needed is transferred from the biggest income stream – on- and off-street parking.

    The latest Town Centre Masterplan may hint at reducing traffic by 70 per cent, but so far it offers no method to achieve this, or even how to balance the budget, let alone get “most people” to the entertainment/retail town centre.

  2. Sue Warner Reply

    December 23, 2021 at 8:32 pm

    Hoorah! Someone with common sense.

  3. John Cooke Reply

    December 24, 2021 at 8:06 am

    Absolutely correct.

  4. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    December 24, 2021 at 11:52 am

    Greater use of buses, walking and cycling should be encouraged but safer routes must be created by improving the road network. The solution also partly lies in subsidised public transport. I raised this back in 2017, –

  5. RWL Davies Reply

    December 24, 2021 at 12:41 pm

    Outside practical considerations such as replacing current infrastructure and the associated costs there’s not the culture in the UK to embrace modal shift to safely integrate cycling, pedestrians, public transport and motor vehicles in towns and cities. There are notable successful examples in Europe such as Bruges, a town, and Copenhagen, a city; but don’t try this at home just yet.

    The culture might change, but not for several decades.

  6. Keith Reeves Reply

    December 24, 2021 at 10:45 pm

    Public transport in Switzerland is good but it’s certainly not cheap.

  7. David Roberts Reply

    December 26, 2021 at 8:43 pm

    Mr Reeves may not have been in Switzerland long enough to benefit from a “GA” or half-fare travel card from SBB, which most Swiss buy. Short-term tourists pay a lot more.

  8. Jules Cranwell Reply

    December 27, 2021 at 8:22 am

    Mr Roberts is spot on. “Modal shift” cannot be thrust down the throats of residents.

    Most people I know who actually own bikes will find them gathering dust in a shed, with flat tyres.

    We are long overdue for a shot of reality on the part of our council.

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