Keith, Graham and Iain

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A34 improvements study moves closer

by Iain Roberts on 25 February, 2016

The A34 study Keith and the Lib Dems have been calling for is moving a step closer.

“We think we have agreement from Stockport, Cheshire East and TfGM for the study to go ahead.” said Keith. “It’s absolutely essential it does. With thousands of new homes being build and the planned Poynton Relief Road likely to add to the traffic coming down the A34, we will only find an answer to the traffic chaos by taking a proper look at the whole area.”

The Lib Dems have worked to improve the Kingsway junction over the last few years, making a number of improvements that have at least stopped traffic queues getting much worse, even though the number of cars has gone up by 20%.

“We live in a popular area with high employment. People need to get to work, to school and to the shops. We can’t wish those cars off the road, so we need to improve the transport network so we can all get to where we want to go without everything grinding to a halt.” Keith said.

An original study had been promised to former MP Mark Hunter and was planned to go ahead in the Summer, but after the General Election and with a new MP for Cheadle, Highways England changed their minds and ditched the study.

   25 Comments

25 Responses

  1. bob says:

    I clicked on the link to see the flood risk plan, but this link came up instead.

  2. Roy says:

    Iain you say that Lib Dems have worked to improve the Kingsway junction marking a number of improvements that have at least stopped the traffic queues getting much worse, “Where is this Kingsway Junction that your referring to” Its centainly not the Kingsway junction on the A34 at Cheadle l live on Gatley Road Cheadle and traffic is constantly crawling past my house from Cheadle High Street to the Kingway lights, No Doubt doing mine and my neighbours Health a Power of Good, you may have improved things for Gatley but not for Cheadle. We want a reduction in traffic fumes/pollution and a reduction in through traffic. Do you know the reasons behind the increase in traffic coming into Cheadle via Wilmslow road where has this been diverted from, is the the cones on the A34 that have not purpose but to cause congestion causing motorists to find alternative routes, whilst on the subject on cones/barriers could you explain the purpose of the plastic barriers in place over the M60 on Manchester Road. And also tell me what the ongoing costs are for these barriers (18 months and counting).

  3. Iain Roberts says:

    Hi Roy,

    As you say, the situation is not good enough and that’s exactly why we’re doing what we’re doing – working for a proper study that can look at traffic flows across the area and come up with answers to the questions you’re asking. We’re frustrated that our MP dropped the ball as this study was promised to happen last summer and didn’t. (As we say in the article, we don’t think things have improved!)

    The plastic barriers on Manchester road are in place because Highways England have taken an age to agree the modifications to the path over the motorway bridge. The Council doesn’t have the power to force them and can’t do it without their agreement. My understanding is that Highways England have finally made their minds up so this should be sorted in the near future.

  4. Roy says:

    Hi Iain thank for your prompt reply but what is the cost of these barriers and who is paying for them.
    I can’t see what purpose these barriers provide and as such I think it’s important to know the costs.

  5. Iain Roberts says:

    Hi Roy, no idea about the cost. They are part of the Cycle City Ambition Grant funding so the money will come from that government grant to improve cycle facilities around Greater Manchester. They are in place to ensure cyclists can safely pass along that section.

  6. Roy says:

    Hi Iain
    its good that the council are not being charged for these barriers but rather annoying that we all as tax payers are picking up the cost.
    On the subject on cycle tracks/routes does the council have any initiatives planned to encourage cyclists to you the new facilities created for them, because I’ve yet to see any cyclists use the new dedicated safe route from Wilmslow Road to Manchester Road avoiding the busy High Street, this morning at 9am I witnessed 3 separate cyclists riding in the road up Manchester Road into Cheadle totally ignoring the cycle track. Should you not encourage the large number of cycling clubs/groups that pass through Cheadle village to set an expample to other cyclists by using the not so New expensive cycle routes. I know you are a keen cyclist perhaps you could lead a guided ride along the new route, as the old saying goes” Use It Or Lose It”

  7. Iain Roberts says:

    Hi Roy – the routes are aimed at getting new people cycling rather than at the existing cyclists. We all – rightly – complain about long traffic queues and one way to tackle them is to get at least some people out of cars and onto bikes.

    I’ve certainly seen more cyclists using the new route and automated counters are going to be installed soon so we can accurately measure the increase.

    The biggest challenge is to promote the routes and promote cycling – something TfGM has responsibility for. A lot of people won’t realise that they can now do their commute on bike avoiding busy roads so promoting it all is a big part of making it a success.

  8. Roy says:

    Hi Iain
    Thank your for your response you are a very good politician who can answer questions without providing answers. I know you do a very good job in general but your record and the Lib Dems record regarding our local road infrastructure is dismal.

  9. Iain Roberts says:

    Hi Roy – what would you like to see on road infrastructure? The challenge we have is

    – traffic levels have risen
    – serious improvements need government money – there’s no way the council can fund a scheme costing hundreds of millions
    – successive governments have failed to come up with the cash. It’s only thanks to our former MP Mark Hunter fighting so hard for it that we’ve got the A6 to Manchester Airport relief road, which was first conceived in the 1930s.

  10. Alan Gent says:

    Unfortunately”improving the transport network” around here merely means building roads so
    more cars can make our lives even more of a misery. I suspect for less
    Money than the semms project is costing we could have had more and better PT links servicing the areas that would benefit the most.

  11. Roy says:

    Iain

    I acknowledge there is a funding problem and a shortage of road space but do you and your council members recognise this shortage.
    Traffic capacity has been reduced on the full length of the A6 from Hazel Grove into Manchester with the introduction of a bus lane, this has diverted traffic onto other local roads into Manchester. Bus lanes should only be considered where regular (10minute) bus timetables are proposed and such services must be cashless systems to ensure speedy transit. Bus lanes should not be parking areas for buses.
    Roads should not be reduced in usable width to accommodate cyclists.
    All new roads should be built with dedicated cycle tracks on both sides of the road.
    Cyclists should not be expected to cross roads simply to use a cycle track that when it comes to an end they them have to cross the road again to continue their journey.
    Improvements have to have real and lasting benefit for all.

    • Iain Roberts says:

      Hi Roy,

      I agree with most of your points – they are ones the Lib Dems have long been putting into action, or campaigning for where we lack the power to do it ourselves.

      – Stockport has few bus lanes, and most are along the A6 where buses run a lot more frequently than every 10 minutes. We have been campaigning for cashless payments (now an option on the buses, though not as fully-functional as we’d like, but smart cards are available for most passenger journeys).

      – We recognise the A6 needs more capacity, hence the A6 to Manchester Airport Relief Road and the study we’ve initiated to look at the A6 to M60 relief road.

      – We always aim to have the best possible cycle facilities. Of course, the reality is that anything we do has to exist with the current roads and be delivered with the money available, which means compromises must be made. We build cycle paths alongside all new roads and include cycle facilities in all major road improvement schemes.

      – As you say, improvements need to have a long-lasting benefit for everyone.

      Alan – although in some cases roads are the best option, it certainly isn’t the only one. I’ve mentioned the need to get more people cycling and active travel (cycling and walking) is important. We’re also working on the orbital tram/train route, improvements to stations across Stockport and re-regulated buses so we can have a better bus service. As I probably say more often than I should: we have a limited amount of space and there’s only so much tarmac you can put down – if we don’t get an effective public transport system working for the whole of Greater Manchester then our roads will grind to a halt and all the attempts to boost our economy will halt with them.

      • June Westley says:

        We really need more frequent public transport from Cheadle to Manchester. Every 30 minutes is not good enough, nor are the night time bus or train schedules.

  12. Pat says:

    Forgive me if I missed any information on the following:

    What, if any, plans are in place for traffic entering & leaving the Barnes Hospital site once houses & flats are occupied. I do hope another set of lights will not be installed at the junction on the A34 – Southbound traffic would end up backing up as far as Parrswood at rush hour. Not to mention Northbound traffic trying to get across the A34/Kingsway.

    • Iain Roberts says:

      Hi Pat, no problem – we put out the information when the planning application was agreed, but that was a while back. No new traffic lights – the proposals are for a wider “stopping area” between the lanes so cars can turn right in two goes – going to the middle and then turning right.

  13. Robert Cohen says:

    Hi Pat. The traffic will come through the South Park Estate, as do thousands of cars illegally all year.

    As for the A34 study. How much will this cost? And really, what’s the point? It seems very little can be done unless underpasses and flyovers can be built. This should have been thought through in the 1960’s…….

  14. Iain Roberts says:

    Robert – there are certainly things that can be done, so we need to look at it properly. Perhaps it should have been thought of in the 1960s, but that was a bit before my time and – to be fair – with very different levels of traffic.

    • Halifax says:

      Iain – don’t blame the 1960s, this is a result of more recent policies.

      The problem has been far too many houses developments that fed onto the A34, and no amount of ‘reviews’ will help. And you continue to support more housing developments knowing full well that we in Cheadle/Gatley suffer because of them

      As I have said before it is like reviewing how to put a quart into a pint pot.

      • Iain Roberts says:

        As I’ve said before, the housing is coming whether we support it or not – 4,000 houses in Cheshire East. Our challenge is to have that housing in the best place and work to get the transport infrastructure to cope with it – and a review can absolutely help with that! If I tried to oppose all housing instead of working to best deal with it, the result would be worse for you, worse for local residents and I wouldn’t be doing my job.

        • Halifax says:

          Iain – I fail to see how it can be worse, would they build even more developments if you opposed the proposed ones.

          As far as I can see the Council are just a ‘rubber stamp’ when it come to housing developments.

          The infrastructure can’t cope with them, so it would be clearly within your remit to oppose them and in the interests of your constituents.

          I can only assume that you have other interests other than those of your constituents.

  15. Tony Kaye says:

    Hi Iain
    It’s no good any of us looking back. What’s done is done. However the building of more and more houses, whether indeed by Cheshire East, needs to take into account the traffic for everyone, including the new residents. The Barnes Hospital development will be an additional nightmare just adding to an already massive problem. Traffic coming out of there, wanting to go northbound up the A34-how will they do it? As Robert Cohen said, many will clog up the South Park Road estate, and I’ve no doubt many will add to the other existing problem, turning right onto Gatley Road towards Gatley, then turning round using Torkington or Delamere, or doing a Uturn either at the lights on Kingsway (illegal) or in Gatley Road. I hope your traffic survey will observe this!
    The Kingsway /A560 junction cannot cope now so certainly can’t take more volume without creating havoc. I’m not in the blame game. We are where we are. The traffic study is important providing it measures the right things. Important to ask the right questions even if you get answers you don’t like, which you will. I hope Cheshire East and Stockport will work together on this and that Cheshire East won’t ignore it. Yes they’ll get the extra council tax revenue but they can’t just create problems for their neighbouring borough, surely?
    With regard to the A34/A560 junction, ultimately there can only be one solution, on my opinion – an underpass for the A34 traffic, to keep it flowing. This will then keep the A560 traffic flowing better. To facilitate this, there will have to be compulsory purchase of properties and this means it will be a massively expensive proposition but this money has to be found. No other tinkering is going to be effective.
    I’m appalled by the cycle lane nonsense on Wilmslow Road around Fallowfield/Rusholme/Didsbury. Does anyone truly believe that the number of cyclists is going to increase sufficiently to reduce the car and lorry traffic? Its political nonsense!
    It’s just adding to the problem not reducing it.
    I trust Stockport will not follow the pattern in the hope it will reduce traffic. Yes we need better public transport, I agree, and the train service from Gatley to Manchester is ludicrous. Yes we need the Metrolink. BUT we also need the road infrastructure to cope the number of cars is not going to diminish.
    Let’s get action QUICKLY as we all know what the problem is. No one seems to accept the inevitable solution. I hope we won’t be discussing this same problem in 5 years time.

    • Alan Gent says:

      Isn’t it obvious? No developer should be given planning permission to build houses unless they finance public transport options to totally mitigate any potential traffic increase.

  16. David Johnson says:

    I can add little to the comments about housing and resulting increase in traffic – not just on A34 & A560 but also in runs through estates close by. However, painting speed limit signs etc. is pointless unless enforced. As a regular walker & car driver I see and experience wing mirrors trying to polish themselves on my jacket elbows and (in my rear mirror) car boot stalkers racing up to my 20mph rides. Having just read Sue Derbyshires comments in the M.E.N. I know that existing residents of the area count for little in land use questions – only MONEY rules!

  17. Jb says:

    May we please have that platform built at Cheadle station site so that we can board the trains that currently run through between Manchester, Stockport, Altrincham and Chester.

    This would obviously reduce the traffic and parking problems in Cheadle.

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