A vision for Guildford that could have implications for ‘Your Waverley?’

Vision Group Calls For Bold Measures To Tackle Guildford’s Traffic Problems

The aptly-named Guildford Vision Group (GVG) has marked the start of the new decade with a far-reaching agenda for comprehensive change in Guildford, starting by encouraging the borough council to consider much bolder initiatives to deal with town centre traffic.

The present layout, it says, produces chronic pollution, congestion and serious accidents, some fatal. And we are facing the impact of the additional 10,000-plus vehicles brought by new homes.

GVG says that over the next 10 to 15 years, about 14,000 home will be built, 80% of them on the fringes of town on green-belt sites. Their 10,000 or more additional cars threaten traffic chaos, unless we adopt efficient and attractively-priced alternative modes of travel.

Some of thr group’s more radical suggestions include people-moving systems not unlike the pods at Heathrow Terminal 5 and trams/tram trains, rail, and autonomous minibuses.

Such mass transit systems are already used elsewhere, especially abroad.

For the past eight years, GVG has put forward its own masterplan, with a key piece of new infrastructure, a new east-west corridor to take traffic away from the heart of Guildford.

Its proposed road layout caters for only a relatively modest growth of 10% or so, in present traffic levels.

The chairman of GVG, Bill Stokoe, said: “With our corridor proposal we simply want to move traffic and the associated pollution away from the heart of our town to allow pedestrians to be centre stage.

“It is a relatively quick and productive solution to allow wider pedestrianisation of the town centre. It delivers exciting public space opportunities, especially along the riversides, and other benefits such as a covered open market.”

GVG believes any short- to medium-term plan for town centre transport must include:

An improved park and ride network, including routes that cross town from one park and ride site to another, more bus lanes, and better use of the rail system, including fast-tracking the proposed new stations.

Better integration of bus and rail services and better interchanges, making public transport easy to use by smart-card ticketing across the rail and bus network and including park and ride.

Using regulation and pricing to help preserve the town. Visitors arriving by road need to be encouraged to use park and ride wherever possible.

Priority should be given to buses.

GVG says the council should not put addressing town centre traffic issues on hold until the A3 improvement through Guildford is completed.

It exhort residents and businesses not to just stand by and see the town centre gradually fade away. The group agrees there must be wide public acceptance that bold measures must be taken and asks if people are prepared to change their habits.

What will change them? Pricing? Law and regulation? Wholehearted acceptance of the climate change case? GVG is calling for ideas from the people, to be emailed to info@guildfordvisiongroup.com

Story based on a press release issued by the Guildford Vision Group.

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