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 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.
The Nottingham Post asked did we “need a fourth bridge over the Trent?” They announced a result of 93% in favour. Yes, the day after we found the worst of the jams has been relieved by opening just one of the lanes going south. – No doubt those polled will express their concern too about single-use plastic (cos they’ve seen the David Attenborough programmes), and about climate change, and about providing better alternatives. But the newspaper didn’t suggest any alternatives. – We should respond to this last crisis by saying if we expand capacity for cars, commuters who use the car will decide than they can live further away and daily worsen our air quality and [undermine] our ambition to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases – So instead, let’s – – support plans to build more homes nearer to where people work and learn; building on what’s already in the Local Plan; – direct more gov’t resources to tackling the challenges to encouraging city living, including perceptions of schools serving the most deprived children; – relieve traffic levels through West Bridgford by offering a tram service from the A52 east of West Bridgford; – offer a new park & ride from the A46 / A52 junction near Bingham, through a frequent train service enabled with new points east of Bingham to allow a quick turnaround. – And next time we get sanctimonious comments like “if only people had heeded the warnings”, ask them if they took time to stand up for the climate when the Nottingham Post campaigned for another road bridge.
Notes – 1. of course, it’s only the fourth if you ignore the 2 bridges used for the tram, and for walking and cycling; the railway bridge some way to the east is also under recognised and under valued.
Went to see the afternoon peak traffic jamming The Meadows, and it wasn’t there. Just one lane south on Clifton Bridge, and the marshalling organised to maximise flow over the one lane, relieved The Meadows. (Despite stories of marshalling traffic on Mansfield Road, I’d never imagined the one lane could make such a difference.) Yep, the typical jam from London Road to Trent Bridge was still there. (And I imagine there was some extra challenges on the ring road too.) But I had time on my hands, so got a haircut and took pictures of the new crocuses instead (and submitted 3 requested for small actions on St.Saviour’s Gardens).
So if we’re to achieve carbon neutrality, we have to learn from what this episode has told us. And that is – we need better mass transport solutions serving the city centre from the east of West Bridgford.
The Meadows has been hit hard by traffic trying to cross the River Trent in the afternoon rush hour using Trent Bridge. Trying to make up for the loss of 5 lanes on a trunk road, London Road cannot cope and traffic is spreading across The Meadows jamming the alternative routes to Trent Bridge Island, and wrecking the reliability of the buses and the trams.
Specific public transport problems in The Meadows are – – traffic blocking Meadows Way West hitting first the Toton service, and then the Clifton service at its egress from Queens Drive; – the Navy 48 being turned into a clockwise circular service and Robin Hood way outbound no longer being served; – The Green 11 having to be redirected once Wilford Grove is jammed; – other NCT greens being delayed by traffic cutting across from Crocus Street and then jamming Meadows Way East.
No reason to suppose that Highways England have not found a very serious problem with the newer of the 2 Clifton bridges and that repairs could take weeks. It’s possible that one south bound lane might be released on Wednesday. That gives 3 north and 1 south instead of 4 & 4. This apparently does not constitute an emergency but it is certainly very grave. The only transport hope is to prioritise buses and trams so that they can take the burden; and hope others can use trains.. Meanwhile, perhaps others can walk or cycle instead, or work from home.
Looking ahead, significant plans to provides thousands of homes (in the city centre, going out east and south towards the river and near university campuses) nearer to where people work and learn are built and at various stages of development. If we had the imagination and the drive, oh and the finance, we could extend the tram east toward the Racecourse park & ride and beyond; and the railways could provide more suburban train services, with a park & ride service from Bingham (Saxondale).