Data presented to support decision to continue trial
Published on 22nd January 2019
At last night’s busy council meeting (21 January), councillors discussed the latest data around the Boots Corner temporary closure.
Traffic flows and public transport data were just some of the main topics, and feedback from Stagecoach showing a positive 4% increase in local bus use against a declining national figure of 2% means 5,000 more people each week are now using a bus.
Gloucestershire County Council traffic findings
Gloucestershire County Council (the highways authority) presented a range of key findings and recommended improvements following their extensive data analysis from the trial so far. This addressed some of the main themes coming through comments from residents and the business community to date, with key findings showing that 70% of car journeys in Cheltenham are under 2km which is equivalent to a 20 minute walk.
Themes included access for businesses on Clarence Parade, blue badge parking on Pittville Street and concerns surrounding other road networks, with increased journey time.
Councillor Andrew McKinlay, cabinet member for development and safety said: ‘’Last night’s council meeting offered councillors and the public an opportunity to review feedback and data gathered to date.
‘’The data presented by the county has enabled us to see the positive impacts of the trial closure on the surrounding network. Whilst we recognise that there has been an increase in traffic in some areas, this was expected and the agreed extension to the trial means that we can now make targeted adjustments to help improve traffic flow where there have been some pressure points, and this would be supported with further monitoring.’’
Across the 27 sites that have been monitored the vast majority have had traffic flows that are broadly in line with what the transport modelling work predicted. There are 7 sites where traffic growth has been higher than expected and these are:
- Clarence Square
- All Saint’s Road
- St. George’s Street
- St. James’ Square
- Montpellier Spa Road
- Rodney Road
- Winchcombe Street South.
Councillor McKinlay continued: ‘’The data shows there has been some increases in traffic as expected, however this is from a relatively small baseline. Revisions to the trial, reflecting feedback, will come into effect in the spring. Clarence Parade/Clarence Street will be removed from the restrictions and additional blue badge bay locations have been identified in Winchcombe Street. Options for traffic calming on Rodney Road and wider directional signage will also be introduced.’’
Shortly, the county will be providing visuals and maps to reflect the trial changes.
Encouraging data from Stagecoach
One of the aims of the transport plan is to encourage more sustainable transport methods. Managing director for Stagecoach West, Rupert Cox presented to full council with data showing a marked increase in bus passenger journey numbers since the trial began.
If the trend of passenger numbers continues to increase, there will be opportunities in the future for further investment in local bus services.
Passenger journey numbers in Cheltenham have increased by 5,000 per week.
This is a 4% growth against a national picture of 2% decline.
Mr Cox added that another benefit noted by local residents is that Cheltenham bus punctuality is up to 93.1% from 91.5% with over 50,000 miles in the borough covered by bus every week.
Benefits of phase 4 to the high street
There has been an 85% drop in traffic at Boots Corner which is a reduction of 800 vehicles per hour and footfall and cycle movements have significantly increased.
The data presented at council complements figures reported by The Brewery Quarter recently - which is now more than 90% full - with a reported increase in visitor numbers of 15% compared to last year. This supports one of the aims of the transport plan; to increase visitor numbers and boost the local economy.
Philip Martin, managing director of Martin Commercial properties which manages the Brewery Quarter said: ‘‘It is really encouraging that in the current period of economic uncertainty, high profile businesses are still being attracted to Cheltenham. The Brewery Quarter is going from strength to strength and our occupancy is at a record high. Cineworld is currently making a multimillion pound investment into its offer and we are about to welcome two new fantastic office occupiers, whose workforce will bring positive benefits to the town centre economy. The recent closure of Boots Corner to through traffic has connected the town in a positive way and helped The Brewery Quarter achieve record footfall figures over the last year.’’
Share your views
To date, there has been 376 formal representations through the county’s online survey. Residents are encouraged to share their feedback at www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/ctp-phase4
For press enquiries contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Improving the environment, traffic management and boosting the local economy is at the heart of the Cheltenham Transport Plan (CTP), the borough council’s vision for a better town centre.
Encouraging people to consider other modes of travel supports government policy and also supports the county council’s transport plan objectives.
For more information about the transport plan, visit www.cheltenham.gov.uk/transport-plan