Back in the late 1990s the Council consulted local people on their priorities for Derby, including transport in the city centre. The result was “Connecting Derby” a bold vision to remove through traffic from the city centre to make it a more pleasant place to shop – and improve access for public transport users, cyclists and pedestrians. As the vision started to become reality the project also got funding from the Government to complete the long-awaited inner ring road.
What do Derby people think of the result? As far as I know no one has asked, but only 2 months after the final road changes and with a few niggles still being ironed out, it may be too early for many people to say. However this is not stopping the Conservatives on the City Council from promoting significant backward steps which would allow through traffic to return to the centre.
The current arrangements allows cars to access the city centre streets in small loops from the inner ring road – sort of dipping in to the centre, and out again. This allows people to access parking, pick up shopping, and so on, without making the city centre streets attractive to people trying to get ahead of queues on the ring road – or just ‘cut through’.
Changes being proposed in the Cheapside/Wardwick area would allow through traffic to again cut through. Particularly at busy times more traffic would result in delays to buses – discouraging people from using public transport, and setting up a vicious circle of less sustainable transport choices.
This is crazy at a time when it’s clear that fuel prices are going to remain high, and there is increasing evidence that we are living unsustainably. Given that the expected cost of these changes is £90,000, it is also surprising thing to do at a time of cuts and economies.
Is there real evidence that many people are concerned about the lack of access and would welcome a town centre again full of traffic? Do people want a poorer deal for those choosing to access the city centre by bus, on foot or by cycle?
Unless people’s priorities have changed radically since the 1990s – and indeed since consultation for the renewal of the Local Transport Plan last year – then the the Conservatives could be in for a nasty shock next May.
If you want to object, then write to Derby City Council or contact your local councillor.