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Hugh Bryant of Grafton Lane, Hereford says why we do not need city bypass
8:00am Wednesday 22nd August 2012 in Letters
SO many people protest about the state of traffic congestion in Hereford and then jump to the conclusion that a bypass is the only solution.
The public would do well to carefully consider whether a bypass will actually resolve Hereford’s traffic problems. In fact it will actually make them worse.
How can this be? Simply put, the bypass can only be funded if thousands of new houses are built with a levy of more than £25,000 on each house.
But the number of new houses required to pay for the road will be lived in by people who drive cars and there are generally at least two cars per household.
By the council’s own figures, this will result in the average journey through the city actually taking a little longer than it does already.
The fact is that the planned relief road will do nothing to relieve traffic congestion in Hereford because it has another purpose, that is to be a service road for large edge-of-city housing developments.
There is no guarantee that adequate additional infrastructure such as extra hospital beds and schools will be provided for all this extra housing. And where is the money going to come from to increase the capacity of utilities such as water and sewage services, which are already operating at their maximum?
Lorry drivers going to and from central and north Wales may well be only too glad to avail themselves of a shortcut around Hereford, but the bypass would do nothing to help the people of Hereford get around the city more quickly and easily.
There are plenty of lower cost ways in which the traffic problems of the city could effectively be addressed.
What about a park and rail scheme from Pontrilas ? If an alternative to on-street parking in Belmont Road could be found then there could be three lanes, with two lanes being used for incoming traffic in the morning and switching to two lanes for the outgoing traffic in the evening as has been successfully done in Cardiff.
We all know that congestion is much less in the school holidays, so seriously looking at how to provide dependable and affordable school bus transport that people would be happy to allow children to use, instead of driving them individually into the city, could make an enormous difference.
Local businesses and organisations could be encouraged to introduce flexible working hours to reduce the rush hour.
Making cycling a safe option by providing an integrated cycle path network into the city would encourage a lot more people to use this form of getting about. Could the lights at the Asda roundabout be adjusted to synchronise traffic flow better? There are many ways in which joined up and creative thinking could improve the traffic flow in the city without spending vast amounts of public money, destroying more of our beautiful countryside and blighting existing villages.
A second river crossing may be needed but that doesn’t mean we need a bypass.
HUGH BRYANT, Grafton Lane, Hereford.