Ipswich: Star traffic survey verdict - �25m scheme is a waste of money

It has been billed as the answer to every motorist’s prayers – a �25million cash injection to revolutionise Ipswich’s creaking transport network.

But the first results of our ground-breaking traffic survey will leave the architects behind the Ipswich Fit for the 21st Century programme in a cold sweat.

As the number of respondents breaks through the 1,000-mark, a staggering 90 per cent believe the state of traffic in Ipswich is worse than it was ten years ago.

Yet a massive 82pc claim the new scheme won’t be worth the money.

Part of the programme involves revamping the town’s two dilapidated bus stations in the hope of making public transport king of the highway.

But 82pc say the improvements would not make them more likely to catch a bus into town.

And neither did they issue a glowing verdict on the state of the pedestrian links around the town. Just over 60pc of respondents believe the changes will not make it easier to walk between the town and the Waterfront – an area in desperate need of more footfall.

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The controversial Duke Street roundabout re-design did not escape their wrath either, with nearly three-quarters claiming the work will not improve their journey into the town centre.

There are also plans to synchronize the town’s traffic lights as well as installing further ones in place of the Duke Street and Princes Street roundabouts.

But 72pc kicked this idea into the long grass, saying it would not improve their travel time into town.

One respondent, who did not wish to be named, already believes there are far too many in the first place.

She said: “I was amazed when I saw the Christmas illuminations were kept on 24/7 until I went to Specsavers and realised that the illuminations were in fact traffic lights.”

Tanya De Hoedt, Ipswich Borough Council’s portfolio holder for transport, said she was confident the scheme would be worth it.

She said: “It is the case that with certain surveys, when they are worded a certain way, people are more likely to be negative.

“That is partly human nature. People are more likely to complain when they are upset about something.

“Ultimately we have got small, narrow roads and there are only a certain amount of cars that can go on them.

“Unless people are advocating demolishing areas to make roads wider, we need to improve what we have got to make it more pleasant to use.”

The foundation of the new scheme was to encourage people to use alternative forms of transport to reduce the number of cars, she said.

“For as long as there is no motivation for people to get out of their cars, they will continue to use them.

“I’m not someone who will say we shouldn’t use cars, but if we can just make one journey a week on alternative transport, it will help.”

Of the Duke Street roundabout works, she said: “I travel through there every day and it’s a lot quicker.

“Memories can quickly fade. People don’t always remember what it was like up Bishop’s Hill before. It does back up, but it moves very quickly now.”

n Tell us your road nightmare stories. Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk