CWEST – the Campaign for South West Exeter Smarter Travel with the strapline “A fresh approach to keep SW Exeter moving” – have contacted me for my views on a series of transport-related issues.
Here in brief are my answers:
Q1 Do you agree that there should be a full and open review of the current proposals for SW Exeter?
Quite simply, YES I agree that there should be a full and open review of the current proposals for SW Exeter.
Over the past 4 years, I have been aware of many documents, plans and strategies that sought the traffic congestion across the city, and in the area of the SW Exeter urban extension.
I have held in high regard the transport hierarchy of Devon County Council which I first saw outlined in the Local Transport Plan 2006-11 [LTP2]:
In co-ordinating land use and transportation planning and the management of traffic demand, all development should make provision for and promote the safe use of the most sustainable and environmentally acceptable modes of travel, having regard to the following hierarchy:
– Public Transport
– Private Vehicles
However, the more I follow what DCC plan from road infrastructure, the more I question the fact that DCC want to uphold the principles of this transport hierarchy.
But there may be some difficulties with that hope.
DCC are is no longer responsible for bidding for major infrastructure funds – that task now falls to the Heart of the South West Local Transport Board [HofSWLTB], an independent body that works closely with the Heart of the South Local Enterprise Partnership [HofSWLEP] and Local Authorities to secure funding for transport schemes across the HotSW area.
So major transport infrastructure falls under a less than totally democratically accountable body!
Q2 What is your position whether a Park & Ride scheme should be built on the Oaklands Riding School fields.
I am not against P&R schemes per se, but I cannot and will not support a new P&R scheme on the site of Oakfields Riding School unconditionally, so DCC would have to make a very strong case to convince me that Oaklands is the only suitable site.
DCC will have to convince me that a P&R scheme on this site is better than one located elsewhere, and if located here will work to reduce traffic congestion along the Alphington Road corridor.
There are other options to P&R, such as the “Park & Change” model that DCC is looking to introduce at other sites around the outskirts of the city.
They may be other sites available for P&R more remote from the edge of Exeter – these could help preserve a rural bus service to communities threatened with reduction and withdrawal of the current bus service.
And it now seems that, at long, last DCC has accepted that there may be other sites that could be explored.
Q3 Do you agree that current Cycling Strategy for Exeter is wholly inadequate as regards Alphington, St Thomas and Marsh Barton
One of the successes of Exeter as a Cycling Demonstration Town was that 6% of travel to work was by cycling.
The 2011 Exeter Cycling Strategy sought to improve this to 20% by 2021.
I am disappointed that the new DCC Cycling and Multi-Use Trail Strategy approved at Cabinet on 08/04/15 has downgraded this aspiration to be 12% by 2021.
I am worried that now strategic funding for major transport infrastructure has moved from DCC to the Heart of the South West Local Transport Board, decisions on such matters will be less democratically accountable.