Traffic Will Become a Big Issue
At the Ipswich Northern Fringe Community Steering Panel last night, Suffolk County Council presented information on traffic modelling and their traffic strategy for the Ipswich Northern Fringe. They expect the Northern Fringe development to result in a lot more delays across the Ipswich road network, not just Henley, Westerfield and Valley Roads. Their proposed solution is to aim to reduce car usage through public transport and encouraging walking & cycling. Also to replace the Westerfield Road roundabout with traffic lights and have traffic lights controlling the exit of traffic from the Northern Fringe.
Ipswich is due to get a state of the art computerised traffic management system and the intention is to link the above traffic lights into the scheme so that if the surrounding network is congested, cars wonít be able to leave the Northern Fringe site. We donít think this will be acceptable to the new residents and they will lobby for their removal, in a similar way to Grange Farm residents.
The Suffolk County Council model is using very old data based on the now defunct East of England Plan, which assumes significant jobs growth in Ipswich town. It would be nice if this were the case since we would all like to see Ipswich a more prosperous and vibrant town. They also think public transport could displace significant car journeys to places of work in the town. Unfortunately more recent information (all be it from 2009 - see page i of the executive Summary of the Haven Gateway Employment Land Review) shows jobs growth in Ipswich is likely be significantly less than expected. Since then matters have considerably worsened. Much higher number of residents of the new Northern Fringe site than forecast will have commute to more remote employment sites. This will result in a lot more East - West traffic and more rat runs than predicted.
As part of the Northern Fringe Master Planning process a Transport Working Group has been set up and an external consultancy, Vectos, appointed to advise on transport planning. Vectos favour 6 or 7 access points to the site via simple priority junctions rather than traffic lights including 3 on the Henley Road, 3-4 on Westerfield Road and possibly one onto Playford Road. The debate is currently ongoing and we will keep you informed.
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