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Drivers in Ipswich need to help reduce congestion now instead of waiting for Northern bypass

PUBLISHED: 10:47 19 January 2017

Traffic congestion in Ipswich is set to get worse unless we change our way of getting to work.

Traffic congestion in Ipswich is set to get worse unless we change our way of getting to work.

Archant

Suffolk County Council’s publication of possible routes for a northern by-pass for Ipswich does take the project forward – but there is a very long way to go before any new road is built, writes Paul Geater.

Without wishing to go through all the arguments again, it is still very much a question of IF the road is built rather than WHEN.

And if it does come about it will be in 15 years or more. People might not like that but in a democratic world, and with a project that provokes strong feelings on both sides of the argument, that is a fact of life.

In the meantime things need to happen much sooner if traffic congestion in and around Ipswich is to be eased.

The good news is, of course, that work on the Upper Orwell Crossing is going ahead. And that is expected to ease congestion in the town centre much more than the northern by-pass would.

But the real story about congestion in Ipswich is contained in the report’s statistics.

Between 2001 and 2011 the number of people driving to work in Ipswich increased from just over 28,000 to nearly 37,000.

That is a phenomenal increase and goes a long way to explain the increased congestion at peak times.

There is no way that the road network is ever going to expand fast enough to cope with a rise of about 30% every ten years.

We have to look at other ways of getting about – otherwise increasing numbers of people will spend hours sitting in stationary cars just fuming at their lack of progress.

At the same time the figures show that 62% of people in work in Ipswich live within 5km (three miles) of their workplace. Of these, 29% live within 2km (just over a mile).

I’m sorry to sound like a stuck record, but how many of those people don’t need their car at work but still drive in every day?

I know some people think that “the council” or “the government” should automatically provide them with enough asphalt to drive everywhere unimpeded whenever they want – but really we do need to get a reality check.

The human body was designed to be used to walk a reasonable distance and most people are capable of doing that.

When the days get longer I might even get out my bike for my 3km journey to work – it will be quicker than my 25-minute walk.

I realise most people cannot or will not want to take any heed of this. They will still get in their car for the shortest of journeys. They will find all kinds of excuses not to consider alternative ways of travelling even short distances in town.

But please don’t then spend your time whingeing because everyone else is doing the same thing and creating the road congestion that so irritates you.

Ipswich is growing and that is great – but a growing town does require grown-up solutions to the problems it creates. And more roads is never going to be the silver bullet some may want.

Council tax bills need to reflect the real world of 2017

When Suffolk County Council’s Tory group published its election manifesto in 2013, I always felt its pledge to freeze council tax bills for the next four years was a hostage to fortune.

They’ve almost got away with it as it happens – but I sincerely hope that when Colin Noble and Co sit down to work out their platform for the 2017 elections they don’t come up with another stunt like this.

If they do the voters might just see through them – if they bother to read the manifesto at all!

As it is, the government’s decision to allow councils to raise an extra precept to pay for social care has got the county Tories out of jail.

Had it not been for that they would have either had to break their council tax freeze pledge – or allow social care spending to be even more perilous than it has become.

Because the pledge has forced the Tories at Endeavour House to fail to recognise the political facts of life understood by Tory administrations in Suffolk’s other councils who have all put up council tax bills over recent years.

Quite how Forest Heath councillor Mr Noble, Mid Suffolk councillor (and county deputy leader) Jane Storey and for that matter Waveney councillor (and former leader) Mark Bee square their county freeze with their district increase I don’t know.

I just hope they don’t think that’s a pledge worth repeating.

27 comments

  • Que sera sera.

    Report this comment

    Ander P

    Saturday, January 21, 2017

  • Presumably Deeber does not try to cross Ipswich at times other than school run times. If you think school runs cause congestion please explain the jams at certain points in the town at other times during the day, or maybe I've missed something and school times are all staggered now?

    Report this comment

    Mr Grumpy

    Friday, January 20, 2017

  • Mr Geater, if you had your way and folks all use bicycles to jam the place up are you then going to be lecturing we should leave our bicyles at home because of the congestion especially those who move into appartments built on the former site of Archant where you once scribbled from. Or is it only other developers who should not build in Ipswich?

    Report this comment

    Peter Turtill

    Friday, January 20, 2017

  • Some very good comments.. macke and mclean.. lots of prestige garages that advertise in the star are now thinking the same , ditch the car and walk that helps them sell cars doesnt it Mr Geater.

    Report this comment

    deeber

    Friday, January 20, 2017

  • Agree that most of the sense is in the comments Totally fed up with the crass comments by the Star that it's all our fault and we should do something to put it right I, for one, will not leave my car at home if I need to get somewhere Busses no longer pass my way, I understand because only pensioners with bus passes used the service - I thought that's what a public bus service was there to provide - transport. The infrastructure in Ipswich is woefully inadequate About time the councils did something, not just tell us to sort it ourselves

    Report this comment

    neilf

    Friday, January 20, 2017

  • As usual more common sense has been provided on the comments section than the main article. Allowing so much to be built in Ipswich without providing greater infrastructure on the roads has caused all the problems. GilbertGeorge is very much correct here. Also 'Ipswich is growing and that is great' is simply a stupid comment. Why would Ipswich growing be great? Over the years getting bigger has diluted everything that was once good about the town. However as always encouraging people to walk is no bad thing, especially children walking to schools.

    Report this comment

    Dark Town

    Friday, January 20, 2017

  • Truth is a bitter pill to swallow, wouldn't you say moderators?

    Report this comment

    Dalesman

    Friday, January 20, 2017

  • An insight into the bias and leanings of the Evening Star. SCC have wasted over £20m recently on the ridiculous failure Travel Ipswich. Yet now it's complete and traffic has ground to a halt the Star blame drivers!! Keep sucking up those politicians Geater.

    Report this comment

    McLean

    Friday, January 20, 2017

  • I would like to point out that even if you walk ,you are stuffed in this town.You could walk to the hospital in the past when it was in town centre. The same for many shops,but now they form a ring around the town there is only one option the car.

    Report this comment

    Bob Flood

    Friday, January 20, 2017

  • Oh dear Mr Ipswich you really are bias towards the Gummers . Why are you picking on the humble car owner who goes to a garage buys a car to get about only to be told by you leave that at home and walk ! I'm totally fed up the likes of you , Ben Gummer and SCC telling us what to do ! As pointed out by many it's up to the councils to sort the problem not ban the car ! Insufficient investment in roads and that disastrous decision by John Gummer not to build a northern bypass has cost Ipswich dearly and the cost to business must run into the hundreds of millions . Stop preaching Mr Geater you are doing more damage than good , keep your opinions to yourself .A very disgruntled Ipswich star reader !

    Report this comment

    Macke

    Friday, January 20, 2017

  • The problem has a clear solution. People shouldn't be allowed to have kids and thus the population will decline so congestion is no longer an issue. Exporting this concept to tackling climate change worldwide, the human race will be extinct however at least that Northern Bypass wouldn't need to be built across the countryside that no future generations would get to see it other than a handful of old grumpy NIMBYs waiting around to die of old age.

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    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Thursday, January 19, 2017

  • OK so maybe artistic licence, shall we say 2,000 in Westerfield, Tudehham and Henley ? The point is these commuter villages utterly depend on Ipswich for jobs, travel via train, schooling and shops be it in the town or at Copdock, Asda etc. But they are part of Ipswich as are Rushmere St Andrew, Kesgrave and Martlesham as the report on the Northern Bypass makes clear. As to the comments regarding schools. 90% of the people who do the school run then rush to work, hence why people drive. You can not deliver 2 children at 8:45am, get to work for 9am, work to 3pm and collect children at 3:15pm. You have to drive. So unless you are suggesting we sack 30% of the workforce if you have children, walking 40mins to work either means you loose 80mins pay or you let kids be left in the playground for that 1hr and 20mins. So the fact is we will expand to the north of the town in the future, we will create more jobs and have more people using Ipswich rail station to commute. You can not change geography so if you want to live in a quite village move out beyond Otley were the next shops is 7 or 10 miles away not 5 mins around the corner to a mega superstore in your car. You can not drive in to Ipswich and then moan about the people living in Ipswich using there cars.

    Report this comment

    The Ginge

    Thursday, January 19, 2017

  • School runs cause more town congestion than anything else. Gummer wants to place an additional school in the town centre itself how dumb is that ..really ! If the county council want to make a difference it should place resident parking zones over a large radius near schools not just move the problem 50 yds away onto main roads causing unnecessary CONGESTION .We have to change the habits of parents and make them walk their kids too school or offer free school buses . Ipswich runs much better when the kids are off , we also have to build a northern bypass whether villages like it or not it's now essential .! .

    Report this comment

    deeber

    Thursday, January 19, 2017

  • I ride my bike when I can. Norwich road, valley road and Colchester road have good cycle routes.

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    Ipswich resident

    Thursday, January 19, 2017

  • It is important that comments on important topics are based in the real world. Whether I agree or disagree with the Northern bypass, I do know that more than 200 people live in the villages north of Ipswich. It is unhelpful and quite frankly embarrassing to suggest otherwise.

    Report this comment

    Visionary

    Thursday, January 19, 2017

  • So we now know that Mr Ipswich Town and the MP for Whitton, Whitehouse, The Crofts, The Dales and Bramford rd & Bramford Lane would like you all to suffer years of traffic fumes and pollution so that his other more important constituents who live more than 5km or really outside of Town can drive their 4x4's in to town whilst you spend 30 or 40mins Walking in the baking heat or freezing rain, because you live in Ipswich and therefore don't deserve to have heating, sit in the dry or have air conditioning. Here's an idea, everybody in the whole country has to live within 5kms of where they work or telecommute. It would stop pollution and congestion overnight, instead of over 15,000 cars a day coming in to Ipswich from outside of it. If you make everybody walk or cycle or take the bus or train I will too, but since I only use £15 a week in diesel to commute to work and not the £80 of someone living in one of these idyllic villages with no internet or phone coverage (yes thats you, move to a town and get fibre optic broadband instead of expecting us to subsidize your internet access with our taxes) so they can have a job. So we now know that 200 people are the only people Dan Poulter represents in Villages touching Ipswich to the North of the Town not the thousands who will have to continue to suffer the misery of Villagers using Ipswich as a rat run. So the 200 hold up the development of the area for the 250,000 that's democracy apparently, I call it the rich view stick two fingers up to the rest of us. But then I live in a 3 bed semi and really am not that important am I Dan.

    Report this comment

    The Ginge

    Thursday, January 19, 2017

  • Mr Geater you are less popular than mick McCarthy ! Get over your negative stance towards the northern bypass and remove your head from Gummers ****. The northern bypass will take unnecessary traffic AWAY from Ipswich not through it you doughnut . Why should it take fifteen years to have a bypass other towns have done it in two or three years . Mr brad jones why are you continuing with this clown and his old outdated views you are suppose to be for a northern bypass .

    Report this comment

    deeber

    Thursday, January 19, 2017

  • Rope Walk + Eagle Street. There needs to be serious consideration by SCC to re-open Rope Walk to ease congestion through St Helens Street. The most effective solution is for Rope Walk to become "Bus-only" between St Helens Street and Grimwade Street, allowing inbound buses to use Rope Walk, Eagle Street, Tacket Street etc and removing the St Helens Street bus lane for free flowing, 2 lane traffic. A cheap option here for relief until the WDC is complete.

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    DP

    Thursday, January 19, 2017

  • My family and I live in Claydon which is around 6 miles to the centre of Ipswich. I work in London so have to be at the train station early in the morning. There used to be buses in the morning to get me to the station, however, these have all been cut. The earliest bus now gets me to the station at 07:30 which is too late or there is an earlier bus into the Town Centre. I wouldn't mind walking from there to the train station but that would still only get me there for 07:20 which is too late. Even then I couldn't then get a bus home as the last one is at 18:30 whereas we used to have buses up to 23:50 which were pretty busy. My daughter then goes into work in Ipswich for 9am. But there are no buses from Claydon from 08:09 to 09:15. That's correct - the buses have been cut during morning rush hour meaning you can't get to Ipswich for 9am. She therefore has to use a car. My wife then goes into Ipswich for 11am. Although she can use a Bus, she then can't get a bus back as once again the last bus is now so early. And finally, my other daughter goes to Suffolk One. She was using the college bus but this was costing us £200 per term which is dearer than an adults period bus ticket. Therefore, she now drives as well. Overall, that is 8 extra car journeys just for my house. This is nothing to do with laziness just that there is no other alternative. If you multiply that across all the homes built around Claydon and Great Blakenham it gives you thousands of extra car journeys per day. I subscribe to a Suffolk Car Share scheme and give a lift to another Claydon resident as she can't get into work early as she has no buses either. I personally don't want to use my car for these trips but have no choice. There needs to be a serious investment in buses inclouding new routes, earlier buses and later buses. Oh, and at the weekend I used to get the Park and Ride from Bury Road but that closed so I have to drive at the weekend as well.

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    John Holloway

    Thursday, January 19, 2017

  • I'm sorry but this article trivialises the issues of the Northern Bypass which are about far more than a few people sitting in longer queues on their way to work. I would have thought our local paper would get fully behind the ambitions of what I suspect are the majority of its readers to back and campaign for rapid progress towards a bypass. Instead we get this rehash of the "you should all walk to work" plea and we get called whingers yet again. Well that's it for me, I will not be called a winger anymore by this paper that I pay for 5 days a week, but no more. Good work Mr G, you have just lost another loyal (30 years plus) reader.

    Report this comment

    M Prime

    Thursday, January 19, 2017

  • I agree with the previous comments that they are granting permission to businesses to expand employment and residential accommodation in the town without any consideration of the road network capacity. Personally I gave up on driving the 22 miles into work months ago due to the traffic. It was taking me longer to drive the last 2 miles than it took to do the previous 20! I am lucky that rail and foot is a viable combination for me. But to expect more people to rely on public transport we need a better public transport system. I only have one train an hour available to me, and I have to flex my working hours to fit around it. The only other option is the bus, and that would take multiple busses and even more time than it would take me to drive in on days when every main route into town is being dug up at the same time!

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    sixfootaliw

    Thursday, January 19, 2017

  • What a load of rubbish. Does this reporter really think that people LIKE sitting in their cars in traffic jams instead of walking 200 metres. The reason there are more cars is because the population grows, more houses are built and there are more multiple car families. The road system needs to expand to cope. There is gridlock every rush hour from people going to work! And this idea that a crossing over the dock is going to ease the nose-to-tail traffic on Valley Road for example is absolute tosh. If the Valley Road traffic that is heading westbound for the A14 or eastbound for the A12 could just pop up a link road to a Northern Bypass, the traffic would be eased immediately. The Star is supposed to be campaigning for a new Northern Bypass for the will of the people and taking reluctant councillors to task and i now I read all this irrelevant bleating about a few people not walking, it makes me so mad.

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    Ted Maul

    Thursday, January 19, 2017

  • You can start by reducing the number of cabs and taxis in the town, one company has over 200, 200?? The drivers even states there is NO need for that many, that's one idea

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    an idea

    Thursday, January 19, 2017

  • @GilbertGeorge - spot on. Take Grange Farm. Designed with a relief road for which money was forthcoming from the developers but that road wasn't built leaving the huge new town to cope with what it had. Cycle provision? Put up a few shared usage signs on paths that simply aren't designed for mixed traffic, or paint a line down the middle of pavement, and hope for the best. Public transport? Well I thought the 66 was pretty good when I first moved. But the service has gradually been reduced and has, in my experience, become really unreliable. Biggest joke was building a dedicated busway and then not having enough buses on the fleet to use it! In my opinion there are some fairly basic reason why people don't use alternatives to the car. Maybe Geater and Poulter should look to improve the alternatives before blaming us for not using them? As for the Upper Orwell Crossing, I actually used my car in the rush hour to try to get into Ipswich this week, first time in years. can't see how you'd get down Wherstead Road to use the WDC in the first place!

    Report this comment

    paul e.

    Thursday, January 19, 2017

  • It's not the public who have run down public transport and given planning permission for thousands of new houses without putting the appropriate infrastructure in place. As usual this out of touch writer passing the blame on to people who have not caused the problem. Nothing more than a lapdog and a mouthpiece for local politicians and various unelected (lack of) vision groups.

    Report this comment

    McLean

    Thursday, January 19, 2017

  • This report doesn't seem to mention the extent to which public transport has reduced over the 10 years. If reducing car travel is such a good idea why do the council provide extensive car parks for employees and councilors? Do they operate under different rules to those that pay their wages? What happens to leadership by example? We keep on hearing about the dead horse that is the upper Orwell crossing. Has anyone worked out how this part time crossing will work? Surely there is a need to establish if there is any chance of it doing anything useful before wasting any more money? This council has a record of wasting money on schemes that don't work or never get finished, travel Ipswich and the electronic bus timetable, and then quietly forgetting them and hoping nobody notices.

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    amsterdam81

    Thursday, January 19, 2017

  • So in ten years the number of people driving to work has increased by effectively a third or 33% - I suspect the report failed to mention the number of homes of multiple occupancy that are now in the town, the number of commercial premises that have been converted to residential, the number of high capacity office blocks which have sprung up, the addition of a university, the introduction of retail parks, the expansion and indeed creation of entire new housing developments, expansion of docks with high-rise developments - i could go on BUT the motorist is not the only one to blame here. If you allow permission for all of these developments then you have to have the network infrastructure in place to support them and clearly that is not the case. In the case of multiple occupancy buildings it used to be the case you simply add a bicycle rack to the planning permission and that got around the lack of parking but of course when four tenants turn up all with cars this is not an issue as you have a bike rack for them. The same can be said for schools, where new developments have been allowed and developers have placed money into a pot as required for transport, education and public spaces this money which has been set aside has failed to be used for that purpose - who knows where it is. To blame people for using the roads is a joke it is a problem of the council's making through lack of investment - quick enough to see the revenue stream through increased number of council tax bills raised but slow to put their hands into their reserves to repair roads, build necessary schools and find new solutions to our traffic woes.

    Report this comment

    GilbertGeorge

    Thursday, January 19, 2017

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

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