The Transport Group in the Guildford Society has looked at the issues that impact Transport in Guildford. We have drawn together our thoughts for consideration. The full Report can be viewed at the foot of the article.
The Covid pandemic has affected travel patterns and what the new normal will be is currently difficult to forecast. What is certain is that the transport system in Guildford will have to adapt to manage demand caused by housing growth, a move to active travel (Cycling, Walking) and the need to radically ‘green’ the transport system and making it safer, less polluting, and accesible to all.. The transport system also needs to support the local economy more effectively reducing costs imposed on local businesses.
The political climate and UK finances probably means investment funds for transport are limited, and funding will be directed to areas with greater political influence.
The Society considers that Guildford needs a comprehensive transport strategy, aspects of which we discuss in this paper. Guildford needs a bold long-term strategy to improve transport for all both within the town, borough, and links to surrounding areas. Our key recommendations are:
There needs to be a clearly identified role, in local government, that understands Guildford Transport needs and drives change across the various bodies involved in transport matters
Guildford needs a Transport Card covering all modes of travel including Buses, Train, Bike Hire, Parking, and Taxis that can be used to support modal shift and ease of use of the transport network as it evolves.
Development Policies and Standards must be revised to ensure sustainable transport is catered for and links properly provided – no point having a nice cycle path just within a development. The 15 minute town should be enabled (See The 15 Minute Neighbourhood (guildfordsociety.org.uk).) The ability to adapt for possible changes in traffic technology and modes is critical e.g. the ability to repurpose parking spaces etc.
Transport is a major contributor to the Guildford pollution. The Transport system needs to change radically to embrace low emissions transport modes and support active travel
We support the desire to reduce traffic in the Town Centre this needs to be enabled by more Park and Ride Facilities supported by Ticketing, and enhanced Public Transport.
There are substantive plans for a revised Bus Station on the current site as part of the North Street scheme. The society believes this must be planned in the context of revision to bus services, Demand Responsive Services, and the potential provision of Mobility Hubs. This thinking is not apparent at present.
Although a tunnel is attractive The Society believes there are schemes and interventions that are a far better and more sustainable use of funds. We do accept that some measures will be needed to improve the A3, particularly pollution and noise.
As we detail below having a proper strategic plan for Guildford Station is important to deal with potential increased use of the Rail System and to improve interconnections to other modes of transport.
We believe there is a need to explore a Mass Transit System for the borough to help support development sustainably and support the economic vibrancy of Guildford.
Help us make Guildford better
We want our town to be vibrant, attractive and liveable. We support development that brings a sense of place and enhances the best aspects of our town. If such aims can be embraced, we believe Guildford has the chance to lead the way in enabling sensitive and sustainable development.
Pressures for development are increasing. Planning rules are being eased. The Society’s commitment to standing up for Guildford is needed more than ever.
Getting involved allows the society to continue its work. We welcome new members, from every age and background. Membership provides an opportunity for you to contribute to the continued health of the town and surrounding area, and to meet other people who care about Guildford.