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Here beginneth my epistle

 

"Whilst recently visiting Istanbul I used the Tram system for travelling around the area.  Since then it occurred to me that Hereford could possibly impliment a similar system without too much disruption and a fraction of the cost of putting in a road without using prime agricultural land. The route would use the Great Western Railway line which is used at the moment by pedestrians and cyclists.  (give brief route details and what power is used to run it)The beauty of this system is that cyclists and pedestrians can still use the route safely.  The GWR crosses the river so the tram would lift a lot of the motor conjestion from the peak time hot spots.  Since returning home I have posted my thoughts on Hereford Voice(an open to everybody forum site discussing local topics that matter to people and Facebook (give links)  and have been absolutely overwhelmend by the response that has been received.  People are very supportive of the idea with much constructive advice.  I am hoping to gain even more support and constructive ideas through the publication of this letter.  Naturally there is a long way before the tram system is up and running but all good ideas have to start at the beginning."

 

There I've made start I won't be offended if you don't use it/if you amend it in anyway but it's something to work on.

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I have for a long time campaigned to have the traffic lights on the southern routes into Hereford to be turned off becuase from evidence obtained in various formats it has been proved that the traffic

These trams come in lots of shapes and sizes;            

Perhaps a good place to Start would be ask Bulmers, who still own their bit of rail, to give permission for an exhibition of possible trams! May be a mad idea but if we are able to show the public wh

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Here beginneth my epistle

 

"Whilst recently visiting Istanbul I used the Tram system for travelling around the area.  Since then it occurred to me that Hereford could possibly impliment a similar system without too much disruption and a fraction of the cost of putting in a road without using prime agricultural land. The route would use the Great Western Railway line which is used at the moment by pedestrians and cyclists.  (give brief route details and what power is used to run it)The beauty of this system is that cyclists and pedestrians can still use the route safely.  The GWR crosses the river so the tram would lift a lot of the motor conjestion from the peak time hot spots.  Since returning home I have posted my thoughts on Hereford Voice(an open to everybody forum site discussing local topics that matter to people and Facebook (give links)  and have been absolutely overwhelmend by the response that has been received.  People are very supportive of the idea with much constructive advice.  I am hoping to gain even more support and constructive ideas through the publication of this letter.  Naturally there is a long way before the tram system is up and running but all good ideas have to start at the beginning."

 

There I've made start I won't be offended if you don't use it/if you amend it in anyway but it's something to work on.

 

Thank you Denise that really good, I will take extracts from various sources but this is a s really good start for sure.

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I have had a sensible reply from Clive this morning regarding this letter that I wrote yesterday:

 

 

This was Clive's reply:

 

 

 

So anyone want to write a letter for me and post it on here and I will email it later today? I will try and put something together later but got a hectic day today, hence my request

Do you still want someone to do this?  You've got a better grip of the detail at the moment (as you know, I'm also currently wrestling with leaflets and policemen) so let me know broadly what detail you'd like included and  I'll get literary on its a*s

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Hi Amanda, This is the quick letter I drafted this morning, but I can always add to it...

 

Dear Clive,

 
Use Trams On The Great Western Way Hereford
 
As a Herefordian living in Redhill throughout my childhood, I remember the old railway track lines along the Great Western Way running from the very top of Newton Farm all the way down through Redhill, Hunderton, Barton to the Hereford train station. Many of these tracks are still there, hidden away, but if you look along the siding of Bulmers in Whitecross Road (near Aldi) and also below the bridge near to Widemarsh Common (Lads club) you can still see these old tracks that continue to the station.
 
Anyone travelling into Hereford using either the A465 Abergavenny Road or the A49 Ross Road will be familiar with endless queues of traffic that many of us have to endure daily, this is even worse at peak times and during the school run. Figures from surveys conducted suggest that 90% of Hereford’s traffic is local and in the absense of a much needed bypass, I have often pondered on what could be done to relieve some of this traffic and how to take some of the pressure from these main roads. After a lot of thought, I suggested to our members on the Hereford Voice website possibly turning the 'Great Western Way' into a road, but then after several debates we came up with an even better idea, which is to use this route for a tram system! Back and forth still allowing room for pedestrains and cyclists at the same time. 
 
Whilst recently visiting Istanbul I used the tram system for travelling around the area. Since then it occurred to me that Hereford could possibly implement a similar system along the GWW without too much disruption and a fraction of the cost of putting in a road without using prime agricultural land. Trams are also very green, eco friendly and silent as they are powered by electricity, so there would be little noise pollution. The beauty of this system is that cyclists and pedestrians can still use the route safely as there is plenty of room. The GWR crosses the river so the tram would lift a lot of the motor congestion from the peak time hot spots. Since returning home I have published my thoughts on Hereford Voice and our Facebook page and I have been absolutely overwhelmed by the huge positive responses that have been received. 
 
I am now informed that Mr Albert Heijn (Left Bank) I beleive once offered some years ago to fully fund such a project but from my undersatnding the HC refused the idea.

As most of the traffic, according the the Highways Agency is 90% for local trips back and forth surely this is an option worth considering, especially as we already have much of the old railway line infrastructure in place, obviously some work to bring it up to date would be necessary.
 
So far, many local people are very supportive of this suggestion and in highlighting this idea, I am hoping to gain even more support through the publication of this letter. Naturally there is a long way before the tram system could even be up and running but all good ideas have to start somewhere. If you would like to read all the comments including those from local councillors please visit our website at www.herefordvoice.co.uk

 

I am hoping some some of the people who have already submitted some really positive comments on our Facebook Page and the comments from our members on HV will also echo those comments with replies to the HT the week following the publication of my letter.

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Just completed an interview on the phone for Free Radio.

 

FreeRadio.jpg

 

The story about the trams is in the diary for breakfast news bulletins on Monday morning, so you'll hear the clips at 6, 7 and 8am if someone can record it that would be great!

 

 

 
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:Looks good to go so the more individual letters in support the better.  Just one thing, are you sure the local trips figure is correct?  I would be surprised if it was as high as 90%.  It's usually more like 60-70% of network movements within a core area. 

 

I have questioned that myself, but I am sure those were the numbers, maybe John Harrington may know?

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I just came across this header for a job at the Council - with such "speedy links to any major city" surely we need a speedy system in the City!  

 

"Herefordshire Council is not just about fantastic work challenges but also about the quality of life we offer our employees, thanks to our beautiful location. Nestled on the edge of the Brecon Beacons and with speedy transport links that will take you to any major city in the UK"

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Quality of life for whom? 

There's nothing like being on foot to get a feel for your ward.  Yesterday I was in Newtown Road and Edgar Street and it occurred to me again what bleak thoroughfares we have created from our urban streets. Julian's father grew up in Newtown Road and remembers the bustle: the children playing, the coming and going and the women scrubbing the doorsteps.  Now  all sign of human interaction and neighbourliness are gone and the little houses have become grubby and neglected as their occupants have retreated from the impatience and latent hostility outside their front doors - this is a well documented phenomenon.    The noise was deafening and it took a full ten minutes to cross Edgar Street.  

 

These spaces should be places of community but instead they have been completely surrendered to traffic.   At the southern end of Edgar Street, the fine Regency town houses present an echo of past splendour that should still be characterising Hereford's urban centre but they are dilapidated and crumbling and no business with premises fronting a busy road stands a chance.  I realised that this is where we put our poor and they go because they have no choice.

 

Meanwhile, in Moor Street and other residential streets off Edgar Street, I started getting feedback about parking problems.  It seems that, in spite of the much trumpeted 600+ spaces in the Old Market Development, shoppers choose, instead, to park in Moorfields to avoid the charge. 

 

It really doesn't have to be like this.   I've seen the alternatives for myself and I really hope people will trust me on this one.   Along with Colin's "lights Out" and light rapid transit initiative, we must improve cycling infrastructure for local journeys and we must have the courage to take road space from traffic and reallocate it to cyclists - "build it and they will come".    Traffic is not only a problem for local residents and those of us sitting in congestion: it is degrading and impoverishing the local economy by making Hereford unattractive and driving out anyone with the money to make the inner city area thrive.  

 

Following the attempt to prevent the felling of the lime trees in Edgar Street,  some of us met the HIghways Agency to discuss remodelling the A49.  I am more convinced than ever that reducing the A49 to one lane and making cycle lanes in each direction is a crucial  first step to recivilising the city and recreating commununity and prosperity. The Highways Agency has funds for properly engineered cycling infrastructure on appropriate trunk roads and there is no reason why we should not have some of it.  

 

Colin I really hope you can support me on this.   It will be controversial, and to us in Britain it will seem counter-intuitive,  but I know it can work.     

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Quality of life for whom? 

 

There's nothing like being on foot to get a feel for your ward.  Yesterday I was in Newtown Road and Edgar Street and it occurred to me again what bleak thoroughfares we have created from our urban streets. Julian's father grew up in Newtown Road and remembers the bustle: the children playing, the coming and going and the women scrubbing the doorsteps.  Now  all sign of human interaction and neighbourliness are gone and the little houses have become grubby and neglected as their occupants have retreated from the impatience and latent hostility outside their front doors - this is a well documented phenomenon.    The noise was deafening and it took a full ten minutes to cross Edgar Street.  

 

These spaces should be places of community but instead they have been completely surrendered to traffic.   At the southern end of Edgar Street, the fine Regency town houses present an echo of past splendour that should still be characterising Hereford's urban centre but they are dilapidated and crumbling and no business with premises fronting a busy road stands a chance.  I realised that this is where we put our poor and they go because they have no choice.

 

Meanwhile, in Moor Street and other residential streets off Edgar Street, I started getting feedback about parking problems.  It seems that, in spite of the much trumpeted 600+ spaces in the Old Market Development, shoppers choose, instead, to park in Moorfields to avoid the charge. 

 

It really doesn't have to be like this.   I've seen the alternatives for myself and I really hope people will trust me on this one.   Along with Colin's "lights Out" and light rapid transit initiative, we must improve cycling infrastructure for local journeys and we must have the courage to take road space from traffic and reallocate it to cyclists - "build it and they will come".    Traffic is not only a problem for local residents and those of us sitting in congestion: it is degrading and impoverishing the local economy by making Hereford unattractive and driving out anyone with the money to make the inner city area thrive.  

 

Following the attempt to prevent the felling of the lime trees in Edgar Street,  some of us met the HIghways Agency to discuss remodelling the A49.  I am more convinced than ever that reducing the A49 to one lane and making cycle lanes in each direction is a crucial  first step to recivilising the city and recreating commununity and prosperity. The Highways Agency has funds for properly engineered cycling infrastructure on appropriate trunk roads and there is no reason why we should not have some of it.  

 

Colin I really hope you can support me on this.   It will be controversial, and to us in Britain it will seem counter-intuitive,  but I know it can work.     

 

Hmm, I am all for promoting cycling but until we have alternative river crossings, I think reducing the A49 to one lane would not be good, hence this topic (which I want to get back too) on the use of Trams along the GWW, this would take a substantial amount of local traffic off these contested roads, maybe then we can look at implementing cycle lanes but right now I cannot see how this would work efficiently for all the road users. We need another river crossing! 

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Amanda I can feel your heart and soul in this.  My daughter lives in Moor Street and parking is getting more difficult. Hereford is a very unfriendly city for cyclists. We can change some local habits but through traffic is still being directed along  the A49.  What are your feelings on the "Relief" road/bypass?

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Hmm, I am all for promoting cycling but until we have alternative river crossings, I think reducing the A49 to one lane would not be good, hence this topic (which I want to get back too) on the use of Trams along the GWW, this would take a substantial amount of local traffic off these contested roads, maybe then we can look at implementing cycle lanes but right now I cannot see how this would work efficiently for all the road users. We need another river crossing! 

 

I agree with Colin, until such times as we have another river crossing cycle lanes would in my opinion make the situation worse, reducing two lanes into one lane will just make the queues even longer. This tram suggestion is the best idea I have heard for many years and the council should embrace this now! Good interview on Free Radio this morning, they have been playing bits all morning. 

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Heard it Colin great stuff

Hi Amanda...Very much hear what your saying and agree though it would not help the problems we have until such time as we have a bypass.

GreenKnights transport wish list in order of a timeline would be:

1. Cancel Southern Relief Road nonsense with immediate affect.

2. Drive the idea of a tram system North/South which would bring so many benefits to city particularly in view of University and links to rail & hospital and coach station.

3. Start the process of seeking out a Eastern Bypass route taking traffic away from city centre at the Northern approaches around North side of Homer and South around Rotherwas with a beautiful raised platform bridge crossing Rivers Lugg & Wye. This bypass would support better links to our Ledbury / Worcester roads.

4. If all above is achieved then we should finally be able to remove dualling and lights within our city centre improving quality of life and reducing air pollution. We would have cycleways everywhere perhaps even horse and cart taxi/ tourist players even the Countryside Alliance could ride through town.

5. To be honest Small & Park and ride locations could also be found off new bypass.

6. Finally a folly really but if we can't get our secret Philanthropists money to invest in said bypass I would love to see the reinstatement of the canal system to Gloucester because this would open open even more green tourism. One things for sure we won't get short of retired folks and the way the world is going more people are likely to holiday at home!

 

There you go my transport wish list.

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Colin and Mick, I understand the scepticism but if the tram and lights out initiatives are pursued in isolation, they will fail.   In order to persuade people out of cars, you have to make the right choices the easy choices and that means complete integration between modes - a piecemeal solution will not work.

 

Part of the A49 is already one lane in each direction and there is no justification for having a dual carriageway through the heart of the city, particularly as we already know (and you have confirmed above) that the majority of traffic movements are local. Take out the local traffic and redesign the road to slow and control what is left and immediately you have a much less intimidating and hostile street environment that encourages footfall and cycling and speeds up bus journeys. 

 

Mike, we have to remember that the A49 itself was built as a bypass.  All urban and peri urban roads have built in obsolescence and the seeds of their own failure and a further river crossing would be throwing good money after bad, although I would want to look at the network data and modelling parameters before ruling it out. Generally speaking, because of the trajectory we have been on since the Sixties and are still on in this country, road building has not and never can solve our transport problems.   Increasing capacity in already congested networks merely encourages more and longer car journeys, increases car dependence and liberates demand that has been suppressed by congestion.  These are not my opinions; they are facts of transport planning life.   At best it's a palliative and we do not have the money to waste on deckchair re-arrangement.

 

I've never had occasion to go to Mooriflelds before and yesterday and Saturday were the first occasions on which I have really explored and got to know the area.   I was struck by the interesting network of streets with their characterful little houses but, again, dominated by parked cars because the residents are both perpetrators and victims of the problem ; one resident told me his neighbours used the car to drive into town! 

 

We really have to step out of our comfort zones on this issue and stop thinking of cycling as the preserve of children or lycra clad eccentrics.   For urban journeys of less than five miles it is the obvious and grown up mode of transport and the tram initiative depends on it for its success.   Cyclists may want to use the tram for part of the journey but will not do so if the rest of the network is as dangerous and hostile as it is at the moment. 

 

If I am elected, I would like to organise the streets in my ward into community sub-groups to get people in touch with each other and help them to communicate with me.   This could be as informal as an evening in the pub once a quarter, with easy access to me the rest of the time for specific problems.   For some time, I have been thinking of organising a number of public meetings, with "slides" and presentations of my study trips to the Netherlands.  I realise I am going to have trouble selling an alternative vision to the stale old "predict and provide" approach we've been fed for decades by politicians who don't understand transport planning and, in some cases,  don't really want to understand. 

 

Honestly, we can't go on as we are. 

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Greenknight - Newbury's bypass has not solved the problem, Batheaston's bypass has not solved the problem and  the truth is, wherever you put it, a bypass would not solve the problem for Hereford either,  particularly now that we have around 800 new homes planned for the city centre with no thought for how these people are going to travel around. 

 

You are right about one thing, though:  for people visiting Hereford,  Park & RIde can play a part and this should be another tool in our armoury for reducing traffic movement on the core and peripheral network. 

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Mike, Moorfields would make a perfect "Home Zone".  Google the images for Home Zone or "Woonerf" . I would have LIght Rapid Transit throughout the city, not just up and down one route.   It's far less expensive than road building and people love trams/guided buses  and would use them if it's cheap and convenient to do so. 

 

When I did my transport Masters, my dissertation was on a local bus service.  Interestingly, my random sample cited frequency/ punctuality, comfort and convenience above cost in their statistically significant answers about their priorities for public transport and factors that influenced their decisions to use it.  In other words cost is not the principal driver of modal choice: this is why people will allocate more and more of their income in order to continue to drive and the reason congestion/ parking charges will not, in themselves, deter car use. 

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Greenknight - Newbury's bypass has not solved the problem, Batheaston's bypass has not solved the problem and the truth is, wherever you put it, a bypass would not solve the problem for Hereford either, particularly now that we have around 800 new homes planned for the city centre with no thought for how these people are going to travel around.

 

You are right about one thing, though: for people visiting Hereford, Park & RIde can play a part and this should be another tool in our armoury for reducing traffic movement on the core and peripheral network.

 

Well Newbury bypass solved a problem for me because I am usually on it at least once a week! Thousands of cars use it every day though it's probably not local traffic. If it was not there then it would be through Newbury itself and I remember those days before the bypass...not for me thank you. There seems to be a concept that most people in Herefordshire work in Herefordshire well sadly this is a myth and I suggest one takes a look at the roads heading out eastwards in the morning or down south to the A40 or A4137. I have friends now who would prefer to drive across the M50 and up the M5 for the M42 and the like rather than struggle up the A road towards Worcester and then the sorry A4440 which as a single lane was always going to be overwhelmed. Yes they are now dealing with certain aspects of it but the stricture in the road still lies with the Carrington Bridge.

 

I agree that during half term the roads locally behave better thanks to no college or school run however whatever is happening locally the national road system needs major investment because the motorway network is now saturated both by working traffic and increasing levels of young retired and holidaying at home types. For this reason many haulage firms and motorway avoiders are coming off piste so to speak....and what better way of driving south from the North West ..yep an old Roman Road which basically runs in a straight line from Shrewsbury to Ross. Great scenery different pace the good old A49 just one bloody bottleneck Hereford. I love this place but sometimes we do live in a bubble. Outside factors do have an impact on our lives here in Herefordshire so let's build a bypass allow those who want to pass by just do that and let those who want to embrace our lifestyle enter after all that's what I and thousands of other motorists do when I head to Winchester.

 

I love Herefordshire but there are few employment opportunities with a decent salary to match so it's the roads for me and I'm sadly not alone.

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I have friends now who would prefer to drive across the M50 and up the M5 for the M42 and the like rather than struggle up the A road towards Worcester and then the sorry A4440 which as a single lane was always going to be overwhelmed. Yes they are now dealing with certain aspects of it but the stricture in the road still lies with the Carrington Bridge.

 

I drive across the country in my capacity as National Manager and I totally agree with your comments greenknght above. I would much prefer to drive across Haywood Lane, then to Ross-On-Wye and along the M50 anyway rather than the nightmare of driving on the A roads.

 

Okay folks can we get back to the topic of Trams as we are going off topic now. I can create a separate topic for the other traffic discussions if required. 

 

Anyone else hear the Free Radio interview this morning?

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Greenknight, on the subject of being "off piste", and at the risk of annoying Colin,  I would accept a lot of that but the fact remains that we cannot tarmac our way out of traffic jams and logic dictates that if we can't accommodate traffic growth then we have to start reducing it.  The Newbury bypass has not solved the problem for the people of Newbury and that was the rationale behind it and how it was packaged, not for increasing capacity on the strategic inter urban highway by stealth, although many of us saw that hidden agenda. 

 

I agree with you about movements in and out of the CIty and County but surely that is all the more reason to free up road space for journeys that have to be made by car?    I am not suggesting that the car will not continue to have a place in any integrated network.  Of course it will but we need to start by targetting achievable objectives.  

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