Traffic beating ideas.

I’m glad my article – and the follow-up letter have prompted debate and discussion.

I note the letter from Bob Brereton [“I blame the drivers ignoring markings“, E&E, 18 July 2011] and having spent many hours “leaning on the railings at the bottom of Dunsford Hill for maybe an hour, and observing the mistakes made by car drivers.

The problems at the First & Last junction aren’t caused solely by buses.

I’m sure that there are many other options but some of my solutions include:

1) reducing the number of buses stopping here from 18/hour to 9/hour – this could be achieved with no serious adverse changes by the F1/F2 not stopping here.

2) ensuring buses park tight and parallel to the kerb

3) ask drivers of the shorter buses to stop short of the marked box

4) change the traffic lights sequence so that vehicles wishing to turn right into Buddle Lane can do so before the traffic from Dunsford road prevents them, even adding a right turn filter, perhaps

5) Give pedestrians longer to cross – currently they have 5 sec priority and then a further 10 sec when everything is on a RED stop signal

6) Look at changing the traffic light priorities throughout the day.

But of course, all these changes do not help if drivers do not respect both the amber and red lights, and the rules regarding yellow box junctions.

Not all the comments I received are about the chaos at the First & Last – others have taken a more strategic view, highlighting where the problems at the 4 main traffic access points to Exeter

1) M5 sowton / polsloe
2) M5 sowton / heavitree
3) topsham road
4) marsh barton / alphington road

One put forward the case for bringing back trams to Exeter, suggesting multi-story, underground car parks (not eyesores because of their underground location) at the main routes into the city. Drivers could leave their cars on the outskirts and catch a tram right into the large pedestrianised area of the city centre.

Trams would also be great for linking up train travellers coming into St Davids with the local bus network for onward journeys.

Not only would the city centre pleasantly exhaust-fume free but there were no traffic jams or delays in getting to your destination.

.
They went on to suggest either 2 lines built, intersecting in the city centre with terminus at each of those points or a ‘figure of 8’ coupled with tough traffic restrictions (limited to essential deliveries &  resident access, a ‘pass’ restricting cars from out-of-centre to a limited number of days per week or congestion charge road access could be a really positive solution.

I’d welcome some forward thinking and radical action of this sort to address the awful city centre congestion in Exeter; we shouldn’t keep being left behind by our European neighbours, who have the courage and foresight to invest in decent transport infrastructure

Last Wednesday, I attended with other Councillors and some 60 members of the public, a Community Forum at Corn Exchange to talk about the City Centre Vision,

Here among many things we talked and discussed a vision for transport in Exeter over the next 20-30 years – and trams were one of the ideas put forward and welcomed.

The www.exeter.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1365 also has the aspiration to make many areas of the city centre much more pedestrian-friendly, with ideas for removing more traffic from the central area.

There are already many plans to improve the local rail networks into the city, with things like duelling of the line between Exeter and Exmouth so that the frequency of the current service can be increased, and the introduction of new stations and halts along the road, especially in conjunction with the new developments of Newcourt and Monckerton.

I would like to see local bus services become real public transport providers – serving the needs of the public rather than private enterprise. They need to be frequent, regular, run for longer hours and at a price that undercuts car parking charges, it is ludicrous that it is cheaper to park a car in the city centre for 2 hours than it is to buy a return bus fare!

There may be initiatives around congestion charges, road users charges on major routes into Exeter, workplace parking levies, county-wide park and ride schemes linked into an improved Devon Metro rail schemes – but these will be met with, I’m sure, much opposition from many quarters.

And of course large park and ride development as long as they are in the right location with suitable transport links [hence NOT at the Ide Interchange at present].

I’m sure these debates will rumble on for many years.

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