Fringe Box



Letter: It Is Possible To Improve Traffic Routes in Guildford Without Major Visible Impact

Published on: 7 Dec, 2016
Updated on: 10 Dec, 2016

road underpass tunnelFrom Bibhas Neogi

It is nearly two months since the agreement to redevelop North Street was reached. An on-street relocation of the buses was also mentioned as a possible solution that would be looked at.

I enquired why it was the sole solution that would be considered as I have proposed Mary Road car park site as a possible relocation site together with redesigning of the road network around the town centre and the railway station.

Guildford Vision Group (GVG) seems to suggest that Onslow Street could be used for the bus bays. I believe the GVG proposal is to take the A281 traffic, once it has crossed Friary Bridge, to the west of the railway tracks on a replacement Farnham Road bridge and then on a link that runs parallel to Guildford Park Road. The link continues over the tracks on to a flyover to York Road roundabout.

I have proposed a tunnel-like structure to take the A281 traffic under Millbrook and Onslow Street and therefore my idea does not require the retention of Friary Bridge which could be removed to open up the riverside, in accordance with the Allies and Morrison vision of a pedestrian friendly Guildford town centre. I have in conjunction with this proposed a link over the tracks and a flyover but terminated it at Mary Road close to my proposed relocation of the bus station on the car park.

The council has very recently approved their own plans for housing on Guildford Park Road car park site. There was no mention of any provision for an access road through the site. This may well have compromised improvements to road network to relieve Guildford of congestion.

My point is that this development, North Street development and opening up the riverside cannot be dealt with in isolation. These are all inter-related issues and must be dealt with holistically. Such a piecemeal approach to development must be avoided so that Guildford continues to remain attractive and becomes a better functioning town.

I would humbly suggest that my ideas would not change Guildford much visibly but would certainly produce more efficient routes for the benefit of all: pedestrians, cyclists and, of course, motorists.

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Responses to Letter: It Is Possible To Improve Traffic Routes in Guildford Without Major Visible Impact

  1. Bernard Parke Reply

    December 7, 2016 at 8:40 am

    A very interesting letter, however we need a solution to Guildford’s congestion now.

    Traffic, especially through traffic, should be encouraged to avoid the town centre completely.

    • Martin Elliott Reply

      December 8, 2016 at 5:20 pm

      Very good conclusion. Reminds me of the draft, draft Local Plan.

      At least other ‘Surrey’ towns seem to know what their aims are, be it shopping, local traffic, drivein & park. The necessary facilities (car parks, bus stations/stops, pedestrianization, ring/through roads), have been built over the decades, though not necessarily maintained.

  2. Pete Knight Reply

    December 8, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    How on earth would a flyover to Mary Road not have any visual impact? This would be absolutely hideous and severely limit the council’s aspirations to transform the Bedford Wharf area. We’d instead transform ourselves into a mini Croydon.

    It’s extremely easy to suggest building roads here, there and everywhere, but we (or at least some of us) need to remember that Guildford is not some fictional game in Sim City, we have to be realistic.

    The only credible solution if you forget costs, is the tunnel – but this is hardly revolutionary thinking.

    • Bibhas Neogi Reply

      December 8, 2016 at 2:13 pm

      Is Peter Knight an engineer? The solution for making Guildford town centre pedestrian friendly, as per Allies and Morrison’s vision, cannot be achieved unless the A281 traffic is re-routed.

      Mr Knight has raised the issue of the cost of the tunnel. It is not a true tunnel and as far as I am aware this method has not been used to lower an existing road whilst maintaining one lane of traffic on it. When reinstated, it will carry restricted traffic of buses, emergency vehicles, cycles and pedestrians while the motorised traffic runs within the ‘tunnel’.

      In that sense it is a novel idea. I estimated the cost of the “tunnel” structure to be at around £40m -£50m – not a huge sum considering the benefits.

      The flyover would be visible over Walnut Tree Close and the river but it would be hidden between buildings elsewhere along its route. If the view of a bridge over a road or a river offends anyone, I am afraid I am not able to suggest anything to avoid that. Maybe they should close their eyes when you are in the vicinity of these monstrosities?

  3. Bernard Parke Reply

    December 8, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    A tunnel was first suggested in 1944 within the Jellicoe report together with heli-pads and of course an atomic power station in Woodbridge Road.

    Realms of fantasy perhaps?

    • Bibhas Neogi Reply

      December 8, 2016 at 6:00 pm

      I suggest it would be a good idea to study the sketches on my website to understand the method of construction I have outlined for putting the A281 underground.

      I am a retired Chartered Engineer and I have worked for the Department for Transport and the Highways Agency (now Highways England) for 37 years.

      Only when I have assessed all the pros and cons and whether it could be built with an acceptable temporary traffic management do I suggest a solution. This solution is probably the best that Guildford could have without spending a penny on consultant fees!

  4. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    December 11, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    I have, here on The Dragon, on a number of occasions, given the idea of what could be done to achieve a shorter-term improvement. Please see the first sketch on my website link for sketches. The website could be found by searching for ‘revamp Guildford gyratory’.

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