14 November 2007

Unnecessary Pipe Dreams

This week has seen the Making Plymouth Great showcase with several events held across the city. One important meeting held on Tuesday featured an impassioned call for Plymouth to adopt radical new transport proposals, made in a speech by the former city MP Lord David Owen. Its starts off pretty good:  He said Plymouth needed a vision for its transport in the same way it had addressed urban design when it commissioned architect David Mackay to come up with a plan for the city. Couldn't agree more with that! Sadly it then goes off...

He put forward bold suggestions including a light railway, inspired by the Docklands Light Railway, to link the city centre with key sites such as the airport, Home Park, the rail station and even out towards the Sherford new town.

For the city to realise the potential of its tourism sector it should develop a tram system, like many European cities, to take visitors to attractions such as the Barbican and Hoe

All to often we see people making these grand plans which will never happen in a place like Plymouth. The sort of scheme he is talking about would cost millions and take years to build. We have already seen the Government refuse schemes in several cities which have had a lot more planning and would stand a much greater chance of success than Plymouth could ever manage. Its a shame that all to often we see grand schemes suggested when the answer is a lot cheaper and easier to put together. We have already had a glimpse of what can be achieved in Plymouth with the excellent Park and Ride service - the envy of many cities in the country. When the council and bus companies can work together and the investment is made the result can be dramatic.

If Lord Owen could source even a tenth of the sort of investment that would be needed for his fancy trams scheme - and it went into new buses and bus priority schemes then the city would benefit to a far greater extent - and indeed a much wider section of the city population would benefit.

First Group have already shown that they are willing to invest heavily in areas where the local authorities are able to work in partnership and invest in infrastructure to improve services. Citybus too would I am sure be happy to invest more in new buses in such a scheme.

The radical transport solution that Plymouth needs needn't be so radical after all!


1 comment:

  1. It's a pity these "has beens" have to come out of the woodwork every now and again to generate publicity. Many people who read the article and your blog will have never heard of him. As you rightly say there are many things that can be done locally. But when you have City Traffic Manager who allow the continuing chaos at Drakes Circus - when councillors open up bus lanes to other vehicles but taxis and buses - when the northern corridor of the city is still a joke - what hope have we got of a reliable affordable public transport system. Plymouth could be such a shining example of how to mange traffic if those with the influence to do somet8hing about it were not so hell bent on promoting the use of the car. Will they ever realise that fossil fuel will run out eventually and that we cannot go on allowing everyone over the age of 17 to rush out and buy a car. Thinking MUST change. Rant over - thank you.


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