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Transport Position Paper March 2017

Mar 2017

POSITION PAPER BY TRANSPORT GROUP AS AT MARCH 2017        

TOWN CENTRE, TRANSPORT-RELATED ISSUES

reference documents:

Guildford Town Centre 'Progress on Regeneration' for GBC Exec 27 Sept 2016,

Guildford Town Centre Regeneration Strategy for GBC Exec 24 Jan 2017,

and GVG ideas presented on 1 Feb 2017.

 

We need to emphasize the importance of -

(i) tackling the need for a major improvement to Guildford’s road system to divert traffic away from the Town Centre (TC) and

(ii) preventing the building of developments now which could rule out new roads/bridges in the future.

We therefore support the principle recommended by A&M and adopted by GBC: "Drive TO, not THROUGH Guildford".  This can be achieved by

a. Providing a diversion route away from the TC for vehicles, including freight, which have hitherto needed to access the gyratory.

b. Adopting Park & Ride (P&R) charging rates to encourage use by both commuters at peak times, and by visitors and shoppers at other times.  Additional P&R sites are needed in the north and south of the Town.

c. Identifying as Interceptors, car parks with favourable pricing structures, on the edge of the Town Centre, provided with amenable walking routes to the shopping area.

d. Restricting traffic beyond these to buses, taxis and permitted vehicles. The latter would include residents and those accessing pre-booked parking spaces in the central car parks, using Smart technology, as suggested in GBC's Parking Strategy.

  

We welcome implementation of the Borough's LEP-funded short-term Guildford Transport package, as listed in the two reference documents above.  Most importantly, we particularly hope that GBC will eventually acknowledge the value of Guildford Vision Group's (GVG) proposal for a new bridge link between York Road, Guildford Park Road and Farnham Road as a major step towards a. above. We advocate immediate safeguarding of the route of the latter and the earliest possible implementation of its first stage, linking York Road and Guildford Park Road, not least because of the vulnerability of the old Farnham Road Bridge.

Traffic of all types should not exceed present levels - future growth should be absorbed by modal shift.

 

PROVISION FOR BUSES

reference document: Guildford Bus Station (Arup Report), Update for GBC Exec 3 Jan 2017,  and letter from SCC to GBC dated 20 Dec 2016.

We will continue to support the principles set out in the Society Chairman's letter to GBC of 18 January, noting the inclusion by the consultants of our Group's ideas for bus interchange stands in a limited-access Onslow Street, made possible by the relief crossing proposed by GVG.

We agree with all points made by SCC (20 Dec 2016) who clearly, although joint clients of consultants, do not endorse their report, but require the following conditions:

  1. We work towards Bedford Wharf area being used as both the short term, and long term solution for layover provision, unless a more suitable permanent solution can be found within the town centre, or on its edge.
  2. Appropriate infrastructure is provided as access/mitigation/enabling works to allow the closure of the two inner Guildford roads, of Woodbridge Road (south), and Commercial Road, and to cater for the necessary changes to the bus routes. These are not insubstantial, and could result in. major reconfiguration of the town centre highway network.

3)    Appropriate alternative facilities being provided, both for the passengers, and the operators of the buses, and these could be on street, or within a widened street environment

  1. Appropriate capacity being provided in the alternative facility, that allows for the projected growth arising from the Local Plan development scenarios, and from the investment in the Sustainable Movement Corridor.
  2. All the passenger set down and pick up stops are located within broadly the same area of the town, to facilitate cross town journeys by bus.

 

We consider it essential that passengers are provided with warm, comfortable waiting facilities with access to toilets, refreshments etc. and real time information on ALL bus services. Facilities should also be provided for passengers to travel short east-west distances e.g. between the railway station and G Live.

For the avoidance of doubt, we wholeheartedly endorse the GVG Riverside Crossing and the way that it opens up the opportunity for the bus interchange in Onslow Street,         

RAIL

reference document: Wessex Rail Study, August 2015.

We look forward to Network Rail's assessment of its long term operational needs for additional platforms at Guildford station.

We welcome proposals to electrify, enhance and benefit the North Downs Line to enable improved Gatwick-Reading services, strongly supported by SCC.

The bringing forward of long-standing proposals for stations at Guildford East and Guildford West is very important, especially as they can be related to the Sustainable Movement Corridor - see below.

The Guildford Town Centre Regeneration Strategy (for GBC Exec) 24 Jan 2017, includes work with Network Rail from 2020, but they should be encouraged to bring this forward once the outcome of the Solum appeal on their Railway Station application is known.

 

PARKING

Reference documents: Parking Strategy (for GBC Exec 29 Nov 2016) & Parking Business Plan (for GBC Exec 24 Jan 2017) - (See point b. above)

We advocate changes to the P&R payment system to include an option for payment "per car" to encourage patronage by drivers with family groups, commuter lift sharing etc rather than entering the town centre. This is used elsewhere.

The Strategy indicates that a P&R site around the Stonebridge Depot on the A281 south of Shalford is also under consideration, and we support this strongly.

 

SUSTAINABLE MOVEMENT CORRIDOR (SMC)

Reference document: Progress Update by GBC, February 2017.

We welcome this proposal to link town-edge growth areas at Blackwell Park, Gosden Hill and Slyfield, as well as Guildford East and West proposed rail stations.  We will aim to ensure that these principles are adhered to.  It should also be incorporated as part of any Shalford P&R facility.

 

OTHER ROUTES, PEDESTRIANS AND CYCLISTS

Ref. document: Guildford Forward Programme - Part A - November 2014, updated periodically for the Guildford Local Committee.

Although attention is focused by SCC on a package of improved facilities and the SMC, we are keen that key routes to the Cathedral and the University, for example, are well-developed.

Walking and Cycling are environmentally beneficial and healthy ways to travel and we need to make them easier and more pleasant to do in Guildford. Both at present are made unpleasant and, in some cases, dangerous by the dominance of motor traffic, its noise, its speed, pollution and the pressure of its closeness.

Pedestrians should have direct routes, on footways not hemmed-in by traffic. Where they need to cross roads, they should be able to do so without long delays. Their path should not be obstructed by road signs, parked cars or other detritus.

Cyclists should have continuous, safe routes to major destinations on cycle tracks or lightly trafficked roads. Cut-throughs should be provided from cul-de-sacs and provision made for cycling against the flow on one-way streets.

 

A3

A report by Highways England (HE) is awaited. We note that GBC has stipulated that the three major developments in the Local Plan will be conditional upon a significant increase in A3 capacity by HE. We welcome the late inclusion of provision for a four-way junction at Burnt Common in the Guildford Local Plan.

 

GROWTH IN OUTLYING AREAS

Dunsfold and Wisley Airfield.

It is clear that the proposed Dunsfold development is unlikely to succeed without major improvements to the transport infrastructure in the area.

We have advocated a new road link between Dunsfold and Milford with a P&R by Rail at Milford also serving the A3. This, in conjunction with the proposed increase in capacity of the A3 to the north, reducing significantly the impact of traffic along the A281 through the villages of Bramley, Shalford and even Compton, should be considered a serious possibility by SCC.

Although remote from Guildford but within the Borough, public transport links to the Wisley development will need to be investigated.

 

SCHOOL RUN

It is recognised that some 20% of the peak hour traffic, am and pm, is caused by parents delivering children to schools, often involving cross-town routes. A major campaign is required to drastically reduce this volume. School buses have been considered uneconomic and yet the benefits for business and the economy in terms of more reliable journey times could be considerable.  However, in their absence, individual schools, which do not already benefit from bus facilities, could be encouraged to make arrangements for children to be dropped off at suitable locations, such as P&R sites, or locations within walking distance, and then shuttled or "bus-walked" on to the school. 

27.3.17

Posted by: cb