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Letter: Modifying The Gyratory Is The Pragmatic Solution

Published on: 6 Jun, 2013
Updated on: 6 Jun, 2013

Gyratory LetterFrom Bibhas Neogi

In response to Mr Parke’s Letter “Tinkering With The Gyratory Will Not Help“, of course it would be ideal if through traffic is given an alternative route around Guildford.

At present there is no north south route (from the A3 or the A322 to the A281) for traffic without it going through the centre of Guildford. It is either through Farnham Road or Woodbridge Road both going through the gyratory.

North-south traffic funnelled through the town centre. One of the constraining factors preventing more recreational development of the river.

North-south traffic funnelled through the town centre. One of the constraints preventing more recreational development of the river.

An alternative route is not feasible because such a route could not be justified in terms of benefit over cost. The country cannot afford to build a tunnel around the southern sector to complete a ring around Guildford. Hindhead tunnel cost some £360m for a 1.8 km of road. Using a similar figure, a southern sector tunnel that would be some 9 Km long would cost a staggering £1800m.

So, the pragmatic solution would be to ease the peak period traffic by routing it more sensibly and modifying the gyratory to make it cope a little better with traffic.

Very few people actually live around the gyratory and if Guildford has become unbearably modern for anyone’s liking, they might consider raising £1800m to build a through route or to moving to a rural area like Godalming, Cranleigh or Milford?

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Responses to Letter: Modifying The Gyratory Is The Pragmatic Solution

  1. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    July 2, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    I would like to revisit the possible improvement measures for the gyratory. I have previously commented, in connection with ‘Lets have an Elegant Footbridge’ a possible improvement to Millbrook pedestrian crossing that in conjunction with my suggested modifications to the gyratory itself would really improve traffic flow.

    To increase safety and traffic flow at the same time, it might be possible to convert Millbrook crossing into a staggered crossing ie by creating an island in the middle for a two-stage crossing. The sketch in the following link explains the layout:

    The existing crossing is three lanes wide and therefore pedestrians take a little longer to cross and some risk crossing it when the lights clearly show that they should not. By creating a staggered crossing, both directions could have independent signals. This would improve pedestrian safety and the traffic flows.

    The single lane crossing of the southbound lane reduces the time taken by the pedestrians to cross to a third of the current time and hence traffic would have a longer green cycle each time and thus help improve flow during peak periods.

    For the gyratory, my recommendation would be for it to have two lanes on Bridge Street and a wider north footway, two-way Park Street with wider west footway, two lanes northbound and one lane going south and on the Friary Bridge the change is with the inner lane going contraflow eastwards and turning right into the A281. Keep Onslow Street one-way within the gyratory.

    No additional signal phases will be required either at Park Street or at Millbrook junctions. The pedestrian crossing on Farnham Road at the bottom of the bridge would also require to be modified into a staggered crossing and operate under the traffic light cycles to harmoniously regulate westbound traffic.

    A future enhancement could enable Bridge Street to be reduced to one lane if a new link over the river from Walnut Tree Close to Woodbridge Road could be constructed. The GTAM study has included this scenario. Northbound Onslow Street could also be reduced then to one lane and the barrier relocated to create an additional southbound lane. This would greatly ease southbound flow.

    Modifying Millbrook crossing into a staggered pedestrian crossing does require land (I believe within the highway boundary) on the West Side but the benefit of vastly improved southbound traffic cannot be ignored. Daily traffic queues during peak periods tail back to affect even Bridge Street and the gyratory itself and the result is continued pollution every day.

    So the modification is worth having as it would enhance safety for the pedestrians and improve traffic flow. I believe it could be achieved at a modest cost. Only a slight increase on the overall budget would enable to significantly complement the gyratory measures. Otherwise the result may well turn out to be mere ‘tinkering with the gyratory’ without achieving appreciable improvements.

  2. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    July 6, 2013 at 7:22 am

    People in Guildford had been complaining about the awful gyratory for years and yet judging by the lack of response to my letter, there appears to be not much enthusiasm concerning the potential for reducing congestion significantly. I was hoping for some reaction/comments from readers about the radical nature of the suggested improvements.

    The feedback I got from Surrey County Council was that although they had recognised the merit of the staggered Millbrook crossing, they were reluctant firstly to encroach on the environmentally enhanced area by the Town Bridge and secondly to delay the pedestrians in order to achieve a better flow of traffic. I believe this crucial measure should be incorporated into the scheme to really improve traffic flows and pedestrian safety at the same time. The bid for the gyratory work should be increased accordingly.

    Support for this improvement is needed from people of Guildford otherwise like Mr Bernard Parke, I fear GBC and SCC might just end up tinkering with the gyratory.

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