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Can you Ditch the Car to help ease traffic congestion in Ipswich town centre?

PUBLISHED: 07:26 03 April 2017 | UPDATED: 07:26 03 April 2017

The 'Ditch the Car' campaign has been launched by the Ipswich Star and received widespread backing. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The 'Ditch the Car' campaign has been launched by the Ipswich Star and received widespread backing. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The Ipswich Star today launches a new campaign urging people to ‘Ditch the Car’ and find a new way to get to work at least once a month.

The Ditch the Car campaign logoThe Ditch the Car campaign logo

We want both individuals and employers across the town to pledge to sign up to the initiative, which will ease growing rush hour traffic jams, improve health, wellbeing and productivity levels and reduce carbon emissions.

We are encouraging people to, when possible, walk or cycle to work, or make use of public transport, instead of driving.

In Suffolk, six in 10 adults are unhealthily overweight. Only four in 10 meet healthy levels of physical activity, costing the county an £14million every year.

Separate data has found 60% of Ipswich residents live within three miles of their workplace and 30% live around a mile away.

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer said: “The number of people using their car in our town has increased significantly in recent years, but at the same time the numbers of people walking, cycling or using buses has stayed broadly the same.

“We need to make it easy for people to leave their car at home. That means real-time information on your phone for the next bus, easy payment on the bus, more safe cycle routes and for better cycle facilities – including showers – at places of work.”

Dr Dan Poulter, Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP, also backed the campaign. He said: “We all know the added health benefits of increasing our levels of physical activity, but ditching the car will also help to ease congestion within Ipswich, in addition to improving air quality for everyone. I would encourage businesses to consider signing up to this worthwhile initiative.”

• Sign up today and make your pledge to Ditch the Car

Dr Chris Rufford, a Suffolk GP and governing body member of the NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “For many people the daily work routine is getting in their car, driving to work, sitting in front of a computer for eight hours and then driving home again. This pattern of behaviour is one of the major causes for the increasing levels of obesity.”

He recommended 30 minutes of exercise, five days a week.

Deborah Cadman, chief executive at Suffolk County Council, said: “We support this campaign and hope to see more people using different ways to get to and from work.”

Ipswich Star editor Brad Jones said: “This campaign is motivated by two things. The first is improving people’s health. Many of the people we’re targeting will be town centre workers who don’t need a car during the day. A regular 10, 20 or 30-minute walk or cycle into work would provide big health benefits.

“Secondly, we know the town centre’s roads struggle with capacity at peak times, and if more people ditched the car it would certainly help - plus it’s better for the environment.

“While we’re asking for people to pledge to do this once a month, we hope that it will eventually be more frequent than that – particularly with the warmer months ahead.

“Let’s be honest, we can all get a bit lazy at times and jump in the car when it’s not essential.

“But what better way to start the day than some fresh air and gentle exercise – great for the body and mind. And, you never know, you might just enjoy it!”

• Reporter Paul Geater has already made the switch and he believes leaving the car at home can cut stress as well as congestion. See more here

34 comments

  • 10 years ago the main issue for some people to consider in deciding to cycle or walk and not to use the car was climate change and those that would suffer the most pain from car use in Ipswich were in Africa. Now the pain has come home as car use is now known to be the main cause of small particulate matter in the air. 7 years ago Public Health England estimated in 2010 there were 63 attributable deaths of those age 25+ in Ipswich associated with Particulate Air Pollution. Since then the death rates have increased. In addition to the grief suffered by Ipswich folk by these unnecessary deaths there is the increasing cost to the health services and to the community through days when people are ill and cannot work. On the other side of the coin there seems to be an unwritten agreement that when people get a job thy can have a car and the brand of this car can be their main status symbol. Now, 'here's the rub', today it is now known that the car driver may suffer through their own future ill heath. No longer is the person who suffers a long way away in Africa or maybe a child suffering from asthma in Ipswich. The phrase 'the polluter pays' has a new bite to it. How much further suffering is required before more people use a bike than get bitten in this way by using their car? We all have choices to make about our next journey and on 4 May we are to make a choice at the local election. Fixing potholes, improving park & ride, public transport are election issues about which we set priorities in the way we vote.

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    Charles Croydon

    Friday, April 7, 2017

  • Good morning ! I am writing on behalf of Cycle Ipswich to say that we are fully in support of your #DitchtheCar campaign. Its a briliant idea ! . The congestion in Ipswich has become very bad in recent years, and there are severe health and wellbeing problems created by the congestion. If some people make the positive decision to move to an active and sustainable way of getting to work and school this will be brilliant. We just need a bit of work to enhance the walking and cycling experience. #cycleipswich https:www.facebook.comgroups124010864279496

    Report this comment

    Kevin Ablitt

    Wednesday, April 5, 2017

  • Yes Irene, I realised that after I had hit send.

    Report this comment

    Wendiwych

    Tuesday, April 4, 2017

  • Good on you Ipswich Star! A progressive idea to finally haul Ipswich into the 21st century. What a shame about the blinkered negative commenters on here. Completely pointless to blame the council or politicians. The problem is simple: TOO MANY CARS! It is the most basic fact of any urban area that more people walking, cycling or using public transport will ease congestion. It's also plain common sense. I sometimes drive in Ipswich but usually choose not to. I don't want to add to the congestion, which already blights the lives of those trying to simply walk or cycle around their neighbourhoods. I cycle to work, not because I'm a 'cycle mad individual' just because it's quicker and more convenient than driving (2 miles ish through town would take me longer in a car). I never get hot and sweaty (cycling for transport is not a sport any more than walking is). I wear normal clothes and I would enjoy the fresh air if it wasn't for all the cars I pass (mostly with one person in them) sitting in traffic queues! I simply cannot understand why people do it to themselves. We seem to still be attached to our cars to such an extent that we are in denial of all the many huge problems they cause us and other people. Obviously some people need a vehicle for work but the best thing we could do for ourselves and for the town is to choose not to use the car whenever possible. It's not rocket science!

    Report this comment

    Tommy

    Monday, April 3, 2017

  • Can i just say in response to wendywich that whatever size the bus is, legally you are only allowed one (1) wheelchair per journey. Therefore it is important that buggy users and wheelchair users can compromise.

    Report this comment

    Irene Wragg

    Monday, April 3, 2017

  • On yer bike star this is a pretty desperate campaign ! The least you can do is get Geater a rickshaw then he can pick up some of the "star staff" up on the way to work !

    Report this comment

    Macke

    Monday, April 3, 2017

  • I'd love to support the campaign. I will pledge to get on my bicycle and leave my car at home, if the council fill the potholes and make them safe enough to use with thin tyres found on a bicycle and very little suspension to absorb the deep ruts found on virtually every road. All I ask is that the council make the first move....simples

    Report this comment

    huxley

    Monday, April 3, 2017

  • Arghh this is unbearable, look the issue is as Suffolk Boy said, we have (not us -the stupid planners and backhand takers) have allowed to many houses and businesses to be built with no consideration as to how to accommodate the increase of cars on the road. It really is a case of head in the sand, its that simple!!! Solution: stop putting so many houses and businesses up in Ipswich that can not take the capacity

    Report this comment

    Dark Town

    Monday, April 3, 2017

  • Frankly we're fed up of Suffolk County Councillors and employees driving in to our town to tell us what to do! Perhaps Ms Cadman will ask the entire SCC cabinet, none of whom live in Ipswich, to leave their cars at the underfunded or closed park and ride stations, and also bring a bucket because SCC has refused to provide toilets at the Cattle Market bus station.

    Report this comment

    Mark Ling

    Monday, April 3, 2017

  • I have not driven a car for 4 years due to an illness and medication making me feel that my reactions are not as they should be. I use the buses regularly. I pay "£48 a month for the priviledge of grubby, old fashioned buses! Buses in other towns are much more modern (Watford for instance) Sadly, I can no longer walk into town but as others have said, I wouldn't feel safe anymore. Can someone please tell me why on the number 16 route, have they decided to use a small bus? This route covers Elderly and handicapped homes therefore wheelchairs need to board occasionally. There is just not room for more than one wheelchair so it hardly encourages people to use the buses. Why do people think it is ok to take up two seats on the bus? I recently had the audacity to ask a lady to move her shopping on a busy bus so I could sit down. You would have thought I had asked her to strip naked and run round the bus by the clicking and huffing and puffing and look I received! Unfortunately, most of the offenders are the ones that have free passes. Please be a bit more thoughtful. A Mamil (cyclist in Lycra for those that don't know) recently scratched the side of my husband's car as he undertook at the Stoke Street traffic lights. He looked round, stuck his two fingers up to my hubby and rode on. Obviously, not all cyclists are rude but sadly a lot are. Get rid of some of the traffic lights and the traffic will flow better. Surely, there is no need to have a set every 100 yards or so (Crown Street and Star Lane are two examples). Bus drivers in this town do an admirable job trying to keep to timetable. You will never stop people using their cars for many reasons. People should not judge. Not everyone can get about easily. Cars cost enough to run, so why doesn't Ipswich come out of the dark ages and into the modern day and accept that people now use cars and not horses and carts!

    Report this comment

    Wendiwych

    Monday, April 3, 2017

  • I've never owned a car; and thanks to disability, using public transport can be tricky at the best of times, so I walk everywhere. Then again, I live about ten minutes on foot from the town centre so it's not exactly a problem. Before moving to Ipswich I lived in a very rural part of Essex - two buses a day and the nearest train station was four miles away, so I guess I'm used to walking. For people commuting into town for work or shopping, especially if they live somewhere where public transport is non-existant, I can understand why travelling by car is necessary. But otherwise - and especially if you don't need to carry or buy anything heavy or cumbersome, and you're not physically disabled or elderly, and it's less than a couple of miles away, what's wrong with walking?

    Report this comment

    Northern Lass

    Monday, April 3, 2017

  • When all the completely and utterly hypocritical County Councillors cease using the Endeavour House multi-storey car park for free, then I may actually consider using public transport to commute to-and-fro from home to work and back again. It is, just, absolutely typical of our locally elected members politicians not to even practice exactly what they so often preach.

    Report this comment

    Caldene Boy

    Monday, April 3, 2017

  • Got to love the logic displayed by "Driven Roundabend". "Not more cycles and buses to clog up the already congested roads!" Because of course, a single bus carrying say, fifty people, takes up FAR more space on the road than fifty cars each carrying one person. And a hundred bikes needs SO MUCH MORE space than a hundred cars.

    Report this comment

    beerlover

    Monday, April 3, 2017

  • I gave up driving the 22 miles to Ipswich for work a couple of years ago and I have never been happier! Less stress (despite the rubbish rail service) and more exercise. I love it. Mind you, I purposefully chose to live somewhere on the train line to give me this choice. I probably would say different if I had to get a bus every day! And it has never done me any harm to walk to and from the station carrying a couple of bags of shopping. Works for me! If people like me who have a suitable alternative available to them decided to get out of their cars it would make the roads a better place for those who do not have the choice, whatever their reason.

    Report this comment

    sixfootaliw

    Monday, April 3, 2017

  • I get that Ipswich traffic has become so bad that there needs to be less cars on the road, but that is what roads are for, it can't have come as a surprise that they are going to be used more with a growing population. What I see in town are dirty busses that I just would not like to travel on in business clothes. With such a high crime rate i would be very doubtful about leaving my bicycle anywhere, even chained up, this also eliminates walking, if my good lady was working late I certainly wouldn't want her walking through town - it is just not safe enough. If you want less cars in town, can I suggest that you stop awarding housing contracts to your mates when no other facilities are in place to take the extra volume of traffic that they will generate? Can I suggest that some real progress is made on a bypass? Can I suggest that you should be asking the County Council why it has been allowed to get this bad with only cosmetic changes made, which have cost £21million and I certainly have not seen any improvements? More jobs for your mates? I imagine so. And can you please stop putting the blame on people that live here and are trying to go about their lives under the false belief that we are in 2017 and not 1930? We live modern lives in a modern age, Ipswich has badly let the tax paying people of Ipswich down on every front, it is time for them to take some blame and step up their game to a first world standard.

    Report this comment

    Suffolk Boy

    Monday, April 3, 2017

  • Thanks David White! You're comments are a worthwhile addition to the debate. On yer bike!

    Report this comment

    Man on a Bike

    Monday, April 3, 2017

  • @ Man on a bike. No need to be aggressive, you are just making yourself look pathetic!

    Report this comment

    David White

    Monday, April 3, 2017

  • I had a lovely walk to work this morning. Pretty much the same as I have done for the last 17 years. Before that, when I worked further away, I cycled to work. I gave up my petrol addiction twenty years ago and I've never looked back.

    Report this comment

    Jimbo

    Monday, April 3, 2017

  • Buses do need to be made more attractive. As mentioned smartcontactless payments, online loading of passes, real time bus tracking available via app. The Ipswich Buses "smart cards" in use at the moment are nowhere near that level of tech, and the RTPI screens are frequently broken to say nothing of numerous buses which don't seem to have tracking installed, so the so called Real Time Passenger Information is actually an electronic timetable in those circumstances.

    Report this comment

    K Mcc

    Monday, April 3, 2017

  • If want people to use public transport make it free to use, oh silly me that would never do will it, if I may suggest BRING BACK TRAMS!

    Report this comment

    clowe

    Monday, April 3, 2017

  • This has just descended into folk whinging about how soft they are. An hour to walk two miles? Not wanting to walk because you might have a tin a beans to carry home? What have you all become? Do none of you stop and ask yourself "why am I so pathetic"?

    Report this comment

    Man on a Bike

    Monday, April 3, 2017

  • That poll is an absolute joke too, if you do not support the campaign you cannot answer any of the others questions if you are not going to support it. Propaganda at its finest.

    Report this comment

    McLean

    Monday, April 3, 2017

  • More proof that the Star is totally out of step with the people of Ipswich. Why don't you campaign against Travel Ipswich, the real cause of the traffic problems in the town. SCC wasted well over £20m bringing the town to a halt and strangling it, why don't you hold them to account? A good start would be to put the roundabout back in at Civic Drive. The Star getting it totally wrong as usual and putting the fault at the people of Ipswich for driving their cars. Your paper is a joke.

    Report this comment

    McLean

    Monday, April 3, 2017

  • In the ideal Ipswich Star world then I’m sure we would all love to walk along the pleasant tree lined avenues of Ipswich, in the sunshine, listening to the birds singing, to arrive at our offices feeling all refreshed and eager to start a new day! The reality is so far removed though, a walk into and out of town centre for most is an awful trudge along the broken, dog mess strewn footpaths, its noisy, breathing in fumes most of the way, always subject to variable weather and on the way back, for most, involving a good climb uphill. I’ve done it plenty of times, really just for the exercise, it has no other benefits or any merits whatsoever over the car journey. My route is 2 miles, but it takes me 40 minutes, So that’s 1hr 20 minutes out of my day. Given I usually drive in before 8.00am and leave after 6.00pm. which takes 20 minutes in total, walking takes up another whole hour out of my day. I choose to live in the town, I choose to work in the town, partly because it does not involve extra time from my day commuting. I am not about to give up an hour every day. And having walked in all bright and cheerful in the morning you face the prospect after a hard tiring day, of the 40 minute trudge home, mostly up hill, it can then be raining, and you really don’t feel like it at all, nor have the energy left for it. In such circumstance the bus is then an option, tried that, it’s then late whenever I use it, and far from direct for me, and it can takes even longer than the 40mins. Plus, I suspect a lot of people in the town centre are car users, so have to drive in, (I am, hence walking is rare) or may well do a bit of daily shopping in the town, and not want to carry that home, or like most are just not up to it after a long hard day at work. I suspect that those that can and will already are walking, and the rest simply can’t realistically do it for many reasons. And why should I help keep the roads clear for all those who come in from out of town? Surely encouraging and promoting the Park and Ride, (or park and walk) is just, if not more important to congestion reduction. Oh to be a Star journalist and to walk into work, have a nice relaxing day in the office, and still have the energy left at the end to stroll home again afterwards. If only…

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    M Prime

    Monday, April 3, 2017

  • Oh! Pur-leeease! Not more cycles and buses to clog up the already congested roads! Remove most of the traffic lights and replace them with mini roundabouts and the traffic would flow much better. If cycling is to be encouraged then can the police please get cyclists to stick to the law and rules of the road, and actually stop at red traffic lights, and stop squeezing passed to 'overtake' on the left? The roads in Ipswich are far too narrow to accommodate cyclists safely, most of whom fail to show lights or even wear reflective clothing at night. And the only hand signals they give, (the non Highway Code sort), are after a motorist has used their horn at them for some safety misdemeanor.

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    Driven Roundabend

    Monday, April 3, 2017

  • I am sorry Star you are being used as a political mouth piece of Suffolk CC. You should be campaigning to reverse Transport 21st Century rubbish first and foremost. I note none of the rural living councilors star employee's or MP suggest the problem is the 1,000 of cars comming in from Hadleigh, Felixstowe etc etc. Let's ban cars from outside the town why should i put up with the pollution and queues for those living an idyllic village lifestyle they chose where to live they should have to put up with consequences. The biggest problems are all at the entry points to Ipswich so they are the biggest problem. They use gallons more petrol than i do, they create tons more pollution than i do, but because we in Ipswich don't count as far as the Star, Suffolk cc, Our one and a quarter MP's we can walk or cycle and turn up at work, wet, cold, sweety, dirty and late. This paper should campaign for what is important, putting back the roundabout in civic drive, having an angle grinder party with the traffic lights and within a few days this town would not have a traffic problem.

    Report this comment

    The Ginge

    Monday, April 3, 2017

  • facts

    Monday, April 3, 2017

  • Stop the illegal parking on the town end of Norwich Road, remove those ridiculous crossings at the same location within yards of each other and the traffic would flow much better; what is the point of getting a bus when it doesn't go where and when you want. I can walk but not far before getting pain, i love walking when i can and i do walk lunchtimes, so please you anti-car fanatics, stop going on and on!

    Report this comment

    bonser

    Monday, April 3, 2017

  • It's obviously not aimed at you, Bonser! You think everyone in a car gets pain when they walk? People are too lazy.

    Report this comment

    Man on a Bike

    Monday, April 3, 2017

  • Brilliant idea. The amount of driving going on in the town does need to change, however I suspect it won't be a big success unless there's some investment in cycle routes and public transport. Cycling can be a dangerous activity in parts of the town, and bus routes and times could do with a review. Contactless payments on busses would be good too. People also need to be a bit less lazy. I know a number of people who drive into town to work even though they live well within cheap bus, cycle or walking distance.

    Report this comment

    ShimmyMcGee

    Monday, April 3, 2017

  • Stop the illegal parking on the town end of Norwich Road, remove those ridiculous crossings at the same location within yards of each other and the traffic would flow much better; what is the point of getting a bus when it doesn't go where and when you want. I can walk but not far before getting pain, i love walking when i can and i do walk lunchtimes, so please you anti-car fanatics, stop going on and on!

    Report this comment

    bonser

    Monday, April 3, 2017

  • Nice idea but people are too lazy for this to gain any momentum. We need a town centre congestion charge for this to be taken seriously.

    Report this comment

    Man on a Bike

    Monday, April 3, 2017

  • "ditch the star " campaign more like .I recently went to buy a second hand car for my son at the old park and ride site , bury road , where the council( whichever one) closed the park and ride and replaced it with a car sales . I understand that Ben Gummer was behind the closure of the park and ride sites in the town and stated they were now a redundant option ? Changed his mind again ? so who is right here ? The star , The council , Gummer , droopy Geater . I think this is probably a council campaign spearheaded by the droopy Geater as it has made a huge mess of travel Ipswich . Ps .hope the car sales advertising in the town read this article and react accordingly .

    Report this comment

    Macke

    Monday, April 3, 2017

  • I cycle to work every day, 6 mile round trip but unfortunately the cycling routes in Ipswich are a huge poorly maintained cluster f***

    Report this comment

    albert

    Monday, April 3, 2017

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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