In Somerset, as in other areas of the country, we are experiencing the effects of increased traffic, which has risen approximately 50% over the last ten years. The problems of congestion, road safety, pollution and a general deterioration in road and environmental conditions are a direct result of motor vehicles.
Building more capacity into the road network by providing alternative routes is not a long-term solution to the traffic problem. Transport policies are shifting towards strategies that focus on managing the demand for the existing road space.
A transport strategy for Glastonbury has been developed which aims to enhance the viability and vitality of the town and improve conditions for the local community.
The Strategy concentrates on alternatives to the car and sets objectives for improving the environment of those who live, visit, work and shop in the town. It also proposes a hierarchy of modes of movement about the town, with walking at the top and private cars at the bottom. The Strategy includes a cycle network, which takes cyclists off road where necessary, or onto streets that carry relatively low flows of traffic. A signing review is proposed to encourage visitor traffic away from the town centre. Seasonal traffic restrictions are proposed to restrict car parking around the Tor and near the High Street, leaving it a safer and more pleasant place to five, visit, work and shop. Lorries will be given clear directions as to the times and routes for deliveries.
It is now recognized that the two issues of land use and transport are interrelated. The aim of the Glastonbury Study has been to evolve a strategy that integrates and balances these two important issues.
A transport plan for Glastonbury
In December 1998, Somerset County Council and its partner WS Atkins South West started work in partnership with Mendip District Council, Glastonbury town council and other agencies, by forming a Steering Group for a Transport Study of Glastonbury.
In January 1999, a “brainstorm” event was held at the Town Hall, with representatives of interested parties informing the Steering Group of transport issues and possible solutions in and wound the town. In February 1999 a similar event was held at St John’s Centre, inviting the general public to inform the Steering Group of their concerns and possible solutions. This report considers the issues and solutions, including others that have been identified, in order to form a Transport Strategy.
This document sets out the objectives of the study. These objectives have been formed according to Somerset County Council policies generated by the Kyoto international agreement on pollution, and the government initiative towards a sustainable transport system. It is important that the solutions not only address the identified issues and problems, but also help to deliver the objectives.
A programme of Town and Corridor Studies started in 1994. This programme identified towns and transport corridors within the County for which it was necessary to formulate the policies and strategies of land-use and transport development to the year 2011.
The Transport Policies and Programme document, that has laid the County’s case for funding in front of the government in the past, has now been superseded. Its successor will rely on Transport Plans to indicate to the government our intentions for transport expenditure within the County in the years to come.
This Town Study promotes the transport policies and strategies as set out in the County’s key policy documents (County Structure Plan, the Public Transport Plan, County Cycling strategy). This will enable the district and county councils to stand together at the Local Plan Inquiry in the knowledge that the plans on show for Glastonbury reflect current government transport policy and have been formulated with benefit of public involvement and consultation.
The policies contained within the Structure Plan Review are:
- To co-ordinate land-use and transport policies to reduce the need to travel and the distances travelled
- to identify measures which will reduce the impact of transport on the environment
- to promote an integrated and balanced transport system
- to aid the efficient functioning of the economy through improvements to the transport system
- to enable people to gain access to the services that they need
- to promote the safe transport of people and goods.
These policies and their implementation underpin the rationale of this Town Study.
The Glastonbury Town Study has tried to:
- identify how we can reduce car dependency
- identify how we can reduce the need to travel by car, both the number and length of journeys
- improve people’s awareness of a more sustainable lifestyle
- show how a modal shift from the car, to walking, cycling, bus and train, can be achieved
- take into account the needs of those without a car
- take into account access for people with disabilities; and
- identify the relationship between transport conditions and the local economy.
Setting the scene
The population of Glastonbury rose by 15% between 1981 and 1991 to 7,747 according to the national census, which showed approximately a third of the population was in employment and 50% of those worked outside the town.
The 1991 census shows that only 20% of the population chose to drive to work, therefore it can be assumed that the remaining traffic in Glastonbury is made up of tourists, deliveries and local trips of necessity. It is this traffic, mainly seasonal, that the strategy will tackle.
We aim to encourage people to walk for their short trips. To accomplish this, we will have to make our existing roads and streets as safe and as pleasant to use as we possibly can, as well as provide new pedestrian walkways. ...
For journeys that are too far to walk, cycling offers the best alternative transport for shift away from motor car travel. It combines an environmentally clean mode of travel with the personal health benefits of regular exercise. It is substantially quicker than walking, and may well be quicker than the car in the face of traffic congestion at peak times.
Other topics in the report: Buses, rail, parking, cars, coaches, service vehicles, HGVs and freight, traffic calming, traffic reduction, air quality, new development, funding.