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Letter: Town Centre Space Does Need to be Reclaimed from Motorists

Published on: 31 Oct, 2022
Updated on: 31 Oct, 2022

From: Joe Taylor

In response to: The Preferred “Y Solution” for Guildford’s Traffic Would Not Work

Unlike Bibhas Neogi I have no background in traffic management or civil engineering. I don’t own a car and if I want to get anywhere in Guildford, I walk.

The point I was trying to make in my previous comment about the “Y Solution” and its detractors, was that they are only focused on how it affects the driving experience in Guildford, without acknowledging how unpleasant and disconnected it is at times to walk around Guildford.

The proposals reclaim some of the town centre space from car users and turn it into public realm which will make Guildford a much more pleasant place to traverse on foot or bicycle.

I have visited Bibhas’s website and looked at his proposals, and they all make sense with regards to solving traffic problems.

However, I disagree with them on a fundamental level as most solutions involve widening roads and building new ones, further encroaching on public realm.

Most of all I disagree with the proposed exit point of the east-west tunnel which would see a large portion of Stoke Park become an entrance/exit for this tunnel.

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test 2 Responses to Letter: Town Centre Space Does Need to be Reclaimed from Motorists

  1. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    October 31, 2022 at 7:04 pm

    Joe Taylor says – “I have visited Bibhas’s website and looked at his proposals, and they all make sense with regards to solving traffic problems.”

    Not only do my solutions deal with traffic problems, they create opportunities for building wider footways, new cycle lanes, as well as easier pedestrian and cycle access to a regenerated riverside. And, of course, they do reduce congestion considerably.

    The possibility of building tunnels to take through traffic away from the town centre are long-term aspirations but the less expensive alternative of reopening Town Bridge is a viable option. It does not achieve a fully pedestrianised town centre but achieves a great deal nonetheless.

    Various sketches in my document show extensive new cycle lanes and wider footways that cannot be achieved without building new infrastructure. Diverting traffic away from the congested gyratory creates safer spaces – anything else is just wishful thinking.

  2. Ben Paton Reply

    November 11, 2022 at 2:35 pm

    It is not accurate to characterise the argument as polarised between, on the one hand, a “pro car” lobby and, on the other hand, a “pro pedestrian” lobby.

    Everyone realises that towns must become more resident and more pedestrian friendly. Everyone realises that road transport needs to be “de-carbonised” ie converted from diesel and petrol to hydrogen and electric.

    Any practical solution has to recognise that, whether we like it or not, we rely on the existing road network. Wishing it out of existence or hacking it into pieces without regard for the consequences will do more harm than good.

    Redesigning the transport system is an iterative process, not a once-off revolution.

    Changing all the engines on the A380 mid-flight would cause a disaster.

    Mr Neogi’s contribution to the debate has been more transparent and constructive than the council’s.

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