Nottingham City Council’s Exec Board has agreed the development of a business plan to provide a new tram route through The Meadows and extensions to the existing tram lines passing through The Meadows. The new route to the Racecourse Park & Ride has the potential to relieve London Road should a further extension reach out to the A52 east of Gamston. There are 2 potential routes – – the more direct route out should serves Meadows Way east (with all the new housing planned for Crocus Street) and the Cattle Market (putting the market on the map in a very powerful way, serving the County football Ground and meeting the potential for more housing around the market); – the less direct rout would have stops at Bridgeway Shopping Centre, near to Trent Bridge Island (bringing County Hall, Trent Bridge cricket ground and the City Ground) much nearer to the network and on meadow lane (serving the County Ground, the Cattle Market and new housing). The target is to have the services running in 2028 or 2029. A previous route reaching 2 destinations beyond West Bridgford both failed business cases some 20 years ago because the population densities to support the tram services were not high enough (West Bridgford does become quite spread out) and the tram savings are not high enough.
A range of transport improvements for Nottingham and Derby has been announced by government. The Meadows needs these packages cos we need relief from the heavy traffic on and poor air from London Road. But the most direct benefit will be the capacity for better and more frequent customer information to our bus stops.
The closure of Clifton Bridge was debated in three parts at full council – 1. how to provide more capacity for transport in the future; 2. whether to support bus lanes or just open them to all traffic; 3. how Highways England should support the council and the Police when coping with the consequent problems.
CQ1: “fourth bridge across the Trent is … a sensible approach” – the Clifton Independents. My supplementary questions – Can the Portfolio Holder recognise that the grief suffered by the people of The Meadows goes beyond delays in journey time, and extends to inability to make journeys at all and increased air pollution. Does the Portfolio Holder share my frustration that the world of common sense does not count the tram bridge as a crossing, nor the footbridge as a crossing, nor the 2 rail bridges (albeit recognising they are both outside of the conurbation? Isn’t the real insight to the future to recognise how cars are the most damaging form of transport carrying people and that what The Meadows needs is relief from people commuting by car? Isn’t it evident that what The Meadows, the east of the city, West Bridgford and parts of the county needs is an attractive public transport alternative, and isn’t it evident that the tram has demonstrated modal switch, especially by reaching park and ride sites serving trunk roads, and and isn’t it evident that Nottingham needs a new tram line to service the Racecourse Part & Ride, and if the perhaps the county would be face up to it, a park and ride to serve the A52 east of West Bridgford? Does the Portfolio Holder share my heartbreak that in all of the chaos we have created with our railway network, more railway train services with extra park and rite sites does not even seem to be being explored?
CQ2: “opening bus lanes to all traffic” [Gotta say that “opening bus lanes to all traffic” is in fact closing all bus lanes – cos they’re no longer for buses.] My supplementary questions – When Chair of Transport Committee, I once witnessed a lorry parked on Maid Marian Way during the morning rush hour jamming the city and 2,000 people getting off their buses early, and walking down the hill into town along Mansfield Road? Doesn’t any request to close the bus lanes fail to understand how the bus network make this city tick? Does the Portfolio Holder share my frustration at the “common sense” shared on social media over a lane closure during this last weekend to enable around 500 more bedrooms for students, is both disproportionate and ignores how providing places to live in the city centre relieves the traffic network elsewhere, including on Clifton Bridge? Does the Portfolio Holder recognise that once again, it is the radical nature of Nottingham Labour Party, grounded in good planning and transport policies, that will have to carry the burden of defending the city against the panic and the jibber that the easy pitch on social media can represent?
CQ9 “Highways England should be providing funding to the Council for short-term measures” My supplementary questions – Can I congratulate the Portfolio Holder for the range of proposals put forward for relieving congestion during the loss of traffic lanes across the bridge. Will the Portfolio Holder congratulate the highway officers who recognised that to free our buses and trams up and to bring relief to the residents of Meadows Way, they needed to close the western chord of Crocus Street to traffic and that they needed the Police to stop through traffic from using the western half of Meadows Way and Sheriffs Way as it runs through the New Meadows? However counter-intuitive closing roads to traffic at the times of a bridge failure may have seemed!! Will the Portfolio Holder accept my thanks to our staff, and to the staff of the Police Service and to others who helped the public during the closures. In a time of pressure on finances for services, especially tackling drug dealing in our neighbourhoods, isn’t it a shame that time and money for tackling those problems has been lost? I believe Highways England should contribute to the relief of the problems they have brought.
Unlikely to consult for resident parking permits to cover the streets OMTRA serves. Do want to explore permits for the Mundella Road area and for Mundella Court. (Public meeting planned for 17th since cancelled.)
Road and pavement surfaces can be OK to use, yet damage to the top surface can invite water to break up the structure below. You’d always want to do more works than seems to be necessary. Area committee capital funds are limited and also needed for funding of parking permit schemes. The worst road in The Meadows is Ainsworth Drive, and it was about to be re-surfaced when it became clear that construction of the new houses would mean any new surface would be damaged. The north end of Osier Road has been re-surfaced recently.
Current suggestions being explored for area capital funding are –
Road and pavement repairs: – pavement re-surfacing on Wilford Grove; – road re-surfacing on Wilford Grove, but not the replacement of speed cushions which are expensive and are the only form of speed calming that NCT will work with; – parts of Collymore Road; and nearby parts of Bathley Street; – parts of Wilford Crescent East, around Bathley Street and down to Felton Road; parts of Wilford Crescent West near Hobart Close.
Parking permits: – consultation for parking permits for Mundella Road and Holgate Road east, but not for streets west of Wilford Grove; – parking permits for Mundella Court cos of football parking; – parking permits for NCH managed home zone parking on Manifold, Houseman and Kelso / Lothmore; or the whole of the New Meadows.
Safety measures: – many of the safety measures to be explored are part of wider concerns, including promoting walking and cycling, that funding from across the city are more appropriate for.
As for why maintain roads, – even roads are most valued by the greener forms of transport – walking, cycling and riding in buses; – potholes can be most unpleasant for nearby residents, through noise and arguably vibration; – preventing potholes getting into the wearing pouring and the base of roads is better value for money. It’s not just about users of cars.
“The closure of the A52 at Clifton Bridge for Highways England work is funnelling an extra 15,000 southbound vehicles a day over Nottingham’s remaining two bridges, latest figures show. “The incident has also led to a rise in the number of people opting to use the tram – with a 21% increase in journeys from the Park & Ride sites at Clifton and Toton. “Analysis of traffic flows by Nottingham City Council show that the average daily flow of southbound traffic over Lady Bay Bridge and Trent Bridge – heading in the same direction as the closed lanes on the A52 – increased from 36,000 vehicles before the closure to 52,000 after, or 44%. The biggest increase on a single day came on Sunday 9th February, with a rise of 77% more vehicles than usual.”
The City Council has already acted to stop cars getting in the way of trams, NCT Greens & Navys, and other public transport. Traffic access east through Crocus Street from Sheriff’s Way has been banned. And when it was needed, through traffic wasn’t allowed to block the trams running along Meadows Way. Trams are stilled frustrated from time to time towards Gregory Street by traffic using Lenton Lane. Trent Bridge and Trent Bridge Island often jam in peak hours anyway. What makes flows southbound during peak times struggle more is poor weather, a sporting event, or if there is an event in the city centre – typically at the Ice Arena.
What more can be done? It needs financial support, but a temporary park & ride site at Wilford Lane could help more people switch to the tram. If Clifton South Park & ride site was to fill, a temporary extension could be sought. More can be done with signage and being explicit with traffic mgmt. with extra yellow boxes.
More challenging ideas – If just one lane southbound on Clifton Bridge brought such relief, what about allocating one of the lanes – when they come back – to mass transport and freight? Advice I’m getting is Clifton Bridge flows are too complicated to make the idea viable. What impact could giving a south bound lane on Trent Bridge to buses and freight make? Again, advice I’m getting is flows south of the bridge are complicated and advantage gained would not be significant. Also, the installation of anti terrorist measures on the bridge restrict lane widths.
Meanwhile, progress on the introduction of electric buses from Belarus using capacitor technology continues, but it is slow.
A Facebook friend shared a graphic saying we didn’t realise the problems brought by electric cars in 3 hour traffic jams – their batteries run flat and how do you rescue them when they do? Kinda made sense to me. Although my car once broke down cos I was unaware that the radiator fan was not working until in a jam. – As best as they can tell, City Highway officers tell me they are unaware electric cars breaking down during recent episodes, but they were aware of cars running out of petrol. – Not so much as case not proved, as why be emphatic and doom-laden without checking what actually happens?
It is a shame that Clifton Bridge is not going to be back to full capacity until the end of the year, although there are plans to get 3 lanes working each way earlier than that – we just don’t have a date. – One tweeter asked Lilian Greenwood MP whether Workplace Parking Levy could pay for extra “temporary” mass transport services to relieve the burden. – It is actually a good idea, in that the bigger firms’ workers who generate a lot of traffic are actually the best to organise a bigger response to mitigate traffic. BUT, to get WPL through, we had to commit to certain levels of price for the WPL and there is no flexibility to do significantly more, since the beyond money spend on capital sums for tam and rail, the rest is already spent on buses and travel planning. – Meantime, I hope Highways England can explore ways of support modal shift in the forthcoming months.