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Aylesbury road network 'lacks resilience' says action group

TRAFFIC QUE aylesbury bicester road

2:02pm 11th January 2017
(Updated 4:10pm 11th January 2017)

The traffic chaos experienced in and around Aylesbury this morning is going to get worse, according to the Hampden Fields Action Group.

Phil Yerby from the group says the main problem is a lack of resilience in the roads.

"A ring road around Aylesbury is not going to solve this problem because I guarantee you 95% of people in the traffic this morning were originating somewhere outside or on the edge of Aylesbury, and they want to get into the centre or the other side of the town.

So even if they went around a ring road, at some point they have to come in. And that's where the lack of resilience in the network is a big issue.

This is going to get worse because the traffic will increase as we build more houses, and resilience of the roads will get weaker and weaker.

The only way to solve this problem is to have fewer houses around Aylesbury.

If we don't act we will have complete economic stagnation, as no-one will want to sit in those traffic jams, businesses will move and people will want to come into Aylesbury. This is a serious problem."

Traffic Map 11 Jan 2

The roads at 8:50am this morning. Image from Google Maps.

We approached AVDC and Bucks County Council about the traffic issues in Aylesbury this morning and they provided us with the following statements.

Aylesbury Vale District Council

Cllr Carole Paternoster, AVDC Cabinet Member for Growth Strategy said:

“Unfortunately issues such as burst water mains can happen and are out of our control but we’re working with Bucks County Council, the local highways authority, to ensure transport links in and around Aylesbury are appropriate now and in the future.

The Aylesbury Transport Strategy is being created to better provide for the town’s transport needs. The housing Aylesbury is set to take as part of the draft local plan is committed with appropriate transport improvements incorporated, which will now benefit from our Garden Town status as we’ll have more funds to invest.

Planned link roads around Aylesbury will give drivers choice of entry into the town or let them avoid travelling through the town centre altogether. The Kingsbrook link road is partially complete and we’ve planned for more. Giving alternative routes for motorists frees up space on radial roads enabling improvement to public transport, cycling and walking options”.

Buckinghamshire County Council

Mark Shaw, Buckinghamshire County Council's Cabinet Member for Transport, said:

"Fortunately incidents like this morning’s that cause such widespread and frustrating delay happen very rarely.  When it does happen, we immediately work with the utility company responsible, in this case Thames Water, to ensure repairs are effected as quickly as possible. The road network in Aylesbury is sensitive to such incidents though, as alternative routes are often not readily available. Also, many junctions are operating at or close to capacity during peak hours, particularly at this time of the year when more people drive to work.  When an emergency repair requires a lane closure on the most sensitive parts of the network, there can be a domino effect on traffic with congestion quickly moving to a different part. When two or more incidents occur, this further affects any alternative routes. This morning’s issues were a combination of timing – at peak hour – and quantity – with two burst water mains on two major arteries coming into Aylesbury – perfect storm of traffic congestion.

“In these circumstances, the best we can do is try and let people know before they travel or use alternative routes where they can, but such is the nature of emergencies that motorists will often have set off on their journeys before we can get the information out, which is why we try to let people know with our electronic signs on the approaches to Aylesbury.  Where there are limited alternatives, all we can ask is that motorists understand the situation and try to remain patient as the gridlock can be made worse by frustrated driver behaviour, such as blocking roundabouts and junctions. We can also implement traffic management plans from our central control room to use key traffic signals to try and flush traffic out, away from the affected area. In such severe situations the effect of this is limited, but it was implemented this morning and did help in eventually clearing the gridlock."

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