It required an application to the Local Ombudman to gain access to this document for just a few hours. It could not be borrowed or copied. Four other documents referred to in the traffic study could not be inspected as they are classified as commercial property. The original traffic study was withdrawn and re-submitted which asserted the addition of 600 dwellings to a congested road would have little impact. However, the current version avoid quoting the sources.
The relevance of the Fulford Road Corridor study to the Germany Beck proposed development.
This report, completed in September 1999, was not specifically looking at the possible impact of the Germany Beck proposal on the traffic on Fulford Road. However, in a short section, it makes several relevant comments and some predictions. All of the report's comments point to problems the extra traffic will produce.
The planning application however, makes the claim that increased traffic problems should "not be regarded as a ban to development". This report challenges that statement.
Indeed the Report's states in its conclusions:
"The Fulford Road Corridor has continued to experience significant traffic growth over the recent years, resulting in increasingly severe congestion, deteriorating conditions for pedestrians and cyclists, disruption to bus services and further degradation of environmental conditions. Developments underway and planned will generate additional demand for movements to and along the corridor, increasing the need to develop a strategy…….." (14.2)
The report looks briefly at the likely impact of the development and states:
"Given the nature of the development (Germany Beck), predicted traffic generations are substantially higher in the PM peak period…… expected to increase by some 260 VPH (22%). South of Heslington Lane (i.e. near the proposed junction) they are predicted to increase by over 320 VPH (20%). "(4..3.4)
It goes on to suggest that the flow along Heslington Lane will increase by 250 VPH (35%) as a result of the proposed development.
The report also notes that:
"Increases in traffic flows of the order predicted will have a significant impact on cyclists and pedestrians in the corridor and on the reliability of bus services" (4.3.8) The report confirms "that bus services along Fulford Road Corridor are subject to considerable delay and disruption due to congestion." (4.4.13)
Far from supporting the idea of an extra junction, the report looks at the benefits of closing the junction of Hesington Lane and Fulford Road. Their modelling suggests that closure of Heslington Lane, despite an overall increase in vehicle mileage, mainly along the A64, "a net environmental gain would be expected." (6.5.3) This closure was not implemented but it is difficult not to conclude that the advice in this report was to reduce, rather than increase the number of junctions and traffic joining Fulford Road.
In the light of these expert opinions, it is hard to understand how the outline planning proposal can claim that adding the volume of traffic expected to Fulford Road will not cause very significant problems to existing commuters, public transport users, cyclists, pedestrians and the environment. The expert evidence indicates that it would be a disaster.
1. VPH = Vehicles per hour
2. The figures in brackets are the references in the report from Colin Buchanan Partners. (This has not been published but can be inspected if you pester the City Coucil)
3. The brackets in the quotations and in italics have been added for clarity.
4. The traffic flow forecasts were produced in the MVA report which has not been seen.
5. The figures were surveyed in October 1998 during which various schemes have been introduced to improve the flow especially for buses, bikes and pedestrians.
6. Since the survey, traffic volumes have continued to grow but no recent surveys have been located
7. There were no survey points or queue analysis south of the Heslington Lane junction so some analysis in the report for the southern part of the corridor is based on times taken by buses. These figures lead them to note "… the lowest speeds are recorded south of Heslington Lane." (4.4.14)
Charles Jones - 15 Jan 2002