Fringe Box



Letter: Tunnelling is the Answer to Guildford’s Traffic Issues

Published on: 24 Feb, 2022
Updated on: 24 Feb, 2022

From: Bibhas Neogi

In response to: Those That Choose to Drive Should Pay Their Fair Share

Anthony Mallard is spot on. Drivers and businesses operating deliveries already pay a lot more through various taxation.

If the whole network were to run as a fair business, motorists would pay a lot less and the government would have to raise other taxes to compensate for the revenue that now goes to the Treasury from transport-related taxation.

Everyone uses the road network either directly or indirectly. I know Trevor Jones personally and he totally relies on public transport. But we all do not live within ten minutes of walking distance from a train station or a bus stop.

Over the past 50 years or so, locations of shops have changed from a number of high street or corner shops to out of town supermarkets. Semi-rural areas have a very limited number of shops and therefore people generally shop for a week’s supply in supermarkets and use cars to transport them.

Developers have built more housing on cheaper out of town sites and people have bought them knowing well that they have to rely on their cars for many of their journeys, especially where bus service is poor or non-existent.

The whole aspect of transportation, housing and social services is a complex issue and therefore there is no simple solution. Piecemeal developments should be avoided and a holistic approach should be used to plan developments.

Large scale developments should be as self-contained as much as possible thus reducing the need for people to travel outside the developments. Bus services paid out of communal taxes could be part of the solution.

That Guildford could be like Freiburg, Cambridge or Bristol is unrealistic thinking. Guildford is a gap town – many roads go through it and the road network around it is generally narrow and not so extensive. The terrain is hilly and therefore bypasses or ring roads would be difficult to design and environmental considerations are complicated.

Tunnelling is the answer if physical and environmental constraints are to be overcome but tunnels are expensive compared with surface roads. However, tunnels in a limited number of places and lowering roads into underground routes without tunnelling could reduce town centre congestion.

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Responses to Letter: Tunnelling is the Answer to Guildford’s Traffic Issues

  1. Mark Stamp Reply

    February 24, 2022 at 8:59 pm

    Bibhas Neogi makes the point that designing settlements to be more self-contained would reduce traffic.

    Building more expensive road infrastructure will just give developers of new communities (such as the new one being planned in North Guildford) justification to cram as many houses in without thinking of other amenities because there is capacity in the road network to allow people to drive where they need to get to. It will also give justification to people like the NHS in amalgamating a number of GP surgeries.

    There needs to be a step-change in how settlements are planned and how we live our lives and active travel and public transport infrastructure needs to be a key part of that to offer alternatives to cars. Building more road capacity just means more traffic will end up filling it rather than solving the root of the problem.

  2. Ramsey Nagaty Reply

    February 24, 2022 at 11:00 pm

    A solution for the Gyratory is crucial. A cut through would be cheaper than a tunnel but allowing overhead street-level walkways opening the high street to the river is essential.

    Ramsey Nagaty is the leader of the Guildford Greenbelt Group at GBC

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