27 May 2009

City centre Traffic Management


"Plymouth has always been a congestion-free city and one of its key strengths is free-flowing traffic”



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Plymouth City Council news item from 21st May:
City centre traders and Plymouth Citybus have given a big thumbs-up to road layout changes at Drake Circus which have dramatically improved traffic flow during their first few months. Plymouth City Council introduced a trial order in February in a bid to reduce congestion around the busy shopping centre and help get traffic moving through Cobourg Street and Charles Street.
Since opening just over two years ago Drake Circus has exceeded its visitor targets by more than three million and routes into the shopping centre have been much busier than originally expected, particularly at the weekend. The Council has been carrying out a detailed review of long-term traffic management arrangements along this key transport route but introduced the experimental order to help alleviate the problem of congestion in the short term.
The right-hand turn from Cobourg Street into Mayflower Street, which had previously been used only by buses, was opened up to all vehicles and the right-hand lane into Drake Circus from Charles Street was closed off to prevent queues which were being caused by motorists blocking the box junction behind it. Motorists travelling from North Hill or North Cross now have to travel around Charles Cross roundabout and back up Charles Street to access Drake Circus but traffic is now flowing much more freely, making it quicker and easier to get into the car park.
Traffic flow has improved so much in Charles Street that most of the Citybus services that were rerouted via Western Approach or Bretonside viaduct to avoid delays are to have their original routes reinstated from Sunday 14 June.
These are: Services 23 and 24 Services 28, 28A and 28B Service 35 Services 50 and 50A Services 61, 62 and 62A
Services 20 and 20A from Woodford in Plympton and 40 and 41 from Southway will continue to operate via North Road East and Western Approach.
Councillor Kevin Wigens, Cabinet Member for Transport, said: "The new road layout has definitely cut the amount of congestion around Drake Circus and helped vehicles move through the area much more quickly and smoothly. If these improvements continue over the next three months we will look to introduce a full Traffic Regulation Order to make the arrangements permanent.”
Frank Elford, owner of Frank Elford Sports in Mayflower Street said: "The right-hand turn was brought back to reduce congestion and it is has done this, along with increasing the trade in the street. It’s great that the Council has listened to us and has been proactive with this decision." Katherine Lee from The Cutting Garden hair salon, also in Mayflower Street, added: "Plymouth has always been a congestion-free city and one of its key strengths is free-flowing traffic. Now we are able to keep it that way. The Council has been forward-thinking with this approach and we welcome this.

Now lets just have a look at that last bit again…
"Plymouth has always been a congestion-free city and one of its key strengths is free-flowing traffic. Now we are able to keep it that way.”
Really? I think most people in Plymouth would find this last statement a bit odd to say the least!
Interestingly this last bit was left off from the news item as reported in This is Plymouth

Citybus have announced these changes, along with one or two other minor adjustments to mainly school services on their web site here (pdf)
Personally I am sad that the 50 is reverting to the old route as it save a few yards walking to get to Bretonside, but I know most people prefer the old route.


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