Fringe Box



Letter: On Traffic, I Say You Can’t Fit a Quart Into a Pint Pot

Published on: 2 Nov, 2015
Updated on: 2 Nov, 2015

A traffic jam on the A3 by BurphamFrom Ben Paton

In response to: Claire’s Column – Transport In Our Town, Have Your Say

Isn’t it time Guildford Borough Council (GBC) and Surrey County Council (SCC) got real and accepted that you can’t get a quart into a pint pot?

Isn’t the traffic problem in Guildford simple: capacity is fixed and finite and traffic grows all the time? Sooner or later capacity constraints become intolerable.

The small additions made to capacity are often negated by other changes, for example so-called traffic calming measures – which slow down traffic.

Traffic itself grows pretty much every year. So far as I am aware, traffic growth is not systematically measured. There are just ad hoc counts on various roads at random intervals.

The number of households, the average number of cars per household and the average miles driven by cars and lorries increases. Flows of traffic increase all the times versus fixed capacity. The result is increased incidence of gridlock – a frequent occurrence in central Guildford.

To reduce congestion significantly it is necessary to build new capacity. That costs serious money and raises difficult problems in choosing new routes.

Isn’t it time GBC was honest about the problem and addressed the capacity issues? Won’t reducing traffic circulation, for instance by making more pedestrian zones in central Guildford, only make traffic congestion worse?

Can congestion charging and other ways of tinkering with demand really address the problem? And if GBC cannot increase capacity why was it planning to increase the housing stock in the borough by 25% in the draft local plan?

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Responses to Letter: On Traffic, I Say You Can’t Fit a Quart Into a Pint Pot

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    November 2, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    If readers don’t believe that traffic is at capacity they should go to YouTube and enter, ‘Clay Lane Link Road Consultation’ in the search box to see just how back it is north of Guildford cars when flowing every 1.2-3 seconds – escape time from side roads 4 seconds.

    Its time to ‘get real’ and “decongest” the minds of transport planners and get the traffic flowing feely.

  2. Adrian Atkinson Reply

    November 2, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    Well it looks like it isn’t going to matter as the government are going against their election pledge and are going to give permission in principle to all greenfield/green belt land included in any local plan.

    do they think this will solve all the associated planning problems associated like magic; pollution, infrastructure, habitat loss, endangered species, traffic and flooding etc etc?

    These considerations were not considered as part of the last draft Local Plan as sites would have to go through the normal planning process down the line. Now that isn’t going to be the case.

    I assume that will be the case for any “safeguarded” land too?

  3. Terry Duckmanton Reply

    November 2, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    As long as we choose to regard private motor vehicles as essential for every journey it will be ever thus.

    We need to re-educate ourselves to be less reliant on this particular form of transport.

  4. Mary Bedforth Reply

    November 2, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    This is an outline of Part 6 of the Housing and Planning Bill, the 2nd reading of which is taking place today. You see that HMG can override local planning authorities. Ominous.

    ‘Speeding up the planning system

    Part 6 contains a number of different reforms to the planning system, with the aim of speeding it up and allowing it to deliver more housing. Powers are given to the Secretary of State to intervene in the local and neighbourhood plan making process. A new duty to keep a register of brownfield land within a local authority’s area will tie in with a new system of allowing the Secretary of State to grant planning permission in principle for housing on sites identified in these registers. It also allows for major infrastructure projects with an element of housing to apply for development consent through the 2008 Planning Act regime, rather than having to seek separate planning permission. Many legal and planning professionals have welcomed these provisions, but there has been some concern about the extra burdens and costs for local authorities and about Government intervention taking away local say in local developments.’

  5. Jeremy Varns Reply

    November 2, 2015 at 11:23 pm

    I would strongly push for alternative and sustainable travel options. There are already plenty of roads and motorways for cars. People wherever possible need to be encouraged to use cars less.

    Many people are conditioned to think private transport is the only available option and that they have a right to drive everywhere. What about other’s rights to clean air?

  6. Ben Paton Reply

    November 4, 2015 at 10:31 am

    Jeremy Varns is of course right. Modern civilisation’s dependence on cars and fossil fuels is not ‘sustainable’.

    That’s why it makes no sense to build ‘new towns’ in locations that: i) can only be served by cars; ii)already exceed air pollution limits for NoX (mono-nitrogen oxides); iii) have no existing services; iv) will only increase congestion on the A3.

    Why were former Cllrs Mansbridge and Juneja and now Cllrs Spooner and Reeves so keen to build a new town in Ockham? On some evidence based reasoning? Or because it is as far as possible from their own wards?

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