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Gary

Warrington's traffic issues - what are the solutions?

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Thought the council had invested in new software to allow them to divert traffic from bottle necks when there is heavy traffic.

 

How about proper ring road to take traffic away and stop it from having to go through the local road network when there is a problem on the motorways/bridges, or would that take up too much precious housing land?

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Unfortunately, the only answer IE less car use - more public transport use, is unacceptable to a majority; so it will get worse has more cars fill a finite space.

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Unfortunately, the only answer IE less car use - more public transport use, is unacceptable to a majority; so it will get worse has more cars fill a finite space.

 

Public transport has to be attractive to get people to use it. It has to be cheaper and more convenient than cars and in Warrington it is neither.

 

Also, there is a fundamental problem with the development of the town and the way the council flat out lies about certain things. The new road on Centre Park is a perfect example. Although the council keeps saying it's to improve traffic flow, it is clearly a way of accessing land for hundreds of houses and has little or nothing to do with traffic. If it was to do with traffic, it would be somewhere else. Basically the council is spending millions as a favour to developers and a way of increasing its income from council tax. It knows that is unacceptable so has to come up with some BS about traffic instead. 

 

Interesting to hear the comments from the Chamber of Commerce. Confirms what we all know.   

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Find myself in total agreement with Grey man,  this is a land grab and nothing to do with easing traffic congestion.

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Find myself in total agreement with Grey man,  this is a land grab and nothing to do with easing traffic congestion.

 

Of course you do :) To be honest, I'd have far more respect for them if they just came out and said it.

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I won't argue that public transport is preferable to private, because to most it isn't. But the problem of congestion in simply one of too many vehicles (people) using a finite space, which ultimately is due to population density; a problem faced by every City on the globe. One bus carrying around 50 people, takes 50 cars off the road and provides 50 car's worth of road space; thus reducing congestion. Of course there will be attempts to maximise the potential of existing road space, they're even talking about double decker M/way bridges nowadays; but it won't keep up with the numbers wanting to travel. Even where public transport is used, as in rail, we see over-crowding, due to a lack of capacity. So basically we're heading for grid lock at some point in the future, like it or not.

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In one respect much of our congestion is down to the garden city type developments of the last 50 years with industry & shopping consigned to their own enclaves far from residential areas. Couple that with deregulation of the buses which led to the end of good service & cheap fares & we are left with too many private cars on the roads.

 

This is a problem for developers,town planners & governments.

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Given that fuel prices have fallen recently and also given that bulk buying of fuel reduces the cost of that fuel a little bit more why is it that the cost of getting a bus in warrington has gone up and not down?

 

mind you i do wonder at the traffic planners in warrington. they take out teh island on winwick road with the promise that lights there will increase the traffic flow along it. then they put more lights in at the orford hub and a new junction with lights at the alban retail park both of which slow the traffic and create tailbacks during peak times. (17 sets of traffic lights along winwick road from the motorway island to central station).

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Given that fuel prices have fallen recently and also given that bulk buying of fuel reduces the cost of that fuel a little bit more why is it that the cost of getting a bus in warrington has gone up and not down?

 

It's because this is a badly run monopoly that is able to exploit its position to compensate for the incompetence of its management with price rises. You just have to benchmark fares against those of the services in other towns to see this. This is not helped by the fact it has six councillors as directors who have transferred their experience of kowtowing to incompetent and/or ethically compromised senior council employees to the management of Network Warrington. What this town needs at all levels are councillors who will rock the boat and jerk a lot of the unaccountable people who actually run the town out of their complacency. 

 

Damian Graham at Network Warrington is the perfect example of this. He clearly doesn't think that the publicly owned monopoly he heads up is accountable in any way to the people of the town. Meanwhile the councillors who sit on the board who are supposed to represent bus users (ie the people who voted them into office) just sit by and watch. Then we have the sight of the Mayor of Warrington issuing public statements telling people that it is their duty to support this basket case of a company and pay more to travel around the town than they would in their cars. And, of course, if you want to buy things from the different shops that they've dotted on retail parks all over the town, you have the option of a day ticket. 

 

The council really should change the town's motto to more closely reflect their attitude towards Warringtonians. I'd suggest something like 'Cough Up. Shut Up.'   

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Congestion isn't a new phenomena; it's down to lots of people occupying a finite space; whether it's road traffic, a football crowd etc. Yes you can facilitate improved movement by creating some degree of order out of the chaos, but more people = more chaos. Nothing new in this: ancient Rome had over a million citizens, all requiring food and supplies; the carts bringing in goods had to be confined to night time deliveries only, leaving the City pedestrian only in the daytime. Even in the last days of the horse and cart, congestion in London and other big cities was just as chaotic as it is now. Around 50 years ago, when cars were a relatively expensive luxury and most working people lived in terraced housing surrounding the factories where they walked to work, congestion wasn't thought of. But the factories have gone, most folk have cars, the terraced houses are still there, but folk have to travel some distance, many out of  Town to work. It's a no brainer to suggest that buses will relieve congestion, simply by reducing the number of cars on the road, provided people use them. But even this may not be enough, as in London where perhaps the best commuter system to date, the Tube, is groaning under the strain of sheer numbers of people, all wanting to move from A to B. :cry:

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I think ,in general regarding traffic congestion in the UK, that we are nearing the point of no return & the only solution is that there is no solution. Even widening motorways doesn't work because there is still only one exit lane per junction & the smart motorway idea of using the hard shoulder is a disaster waiting to happen.

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Given that fuel prices have fallen recently and also given that bulk buying of fuel reduces the cost of that fuel a little bit more why is it that the cost of getting a bus in warrington has gone up and not down?

 

mind you i do wonder at the traffic planners in warrington. they take out teh island on winwick road with the promise that lights there will increase the traffic flow along it. then they put more lights in at the orford hub and a new junction with lights at the alban retail park both of which slow the traffic and create tailbacks during peak times. (17 sets of traffic lights along winwick road from the motorway island to central station).

Most transport firms (from airlines to local bus companies) "hedge" against fuel price rises by bulk buying of fuel in advance. The last deal was before the recent slump in prices, which no-one predicted. And if cheaper fuel means people use their cars more, then that cuts bus journeys and revenue, and increases congestion.

 

I'm not sure how you count 17 sets of lights, though it's in double figures. Unless you want traffic on side roads and Alban never to get out onto or cross the A49, is there any alternative to traffic lights? So far as I know, everyone thinks the new lights replacing the Long Lane roundabout have improved things. And before the Cockhedge roundabout is raised: the perception is that the lights cause congestion, but (as oft repeated) the lights only come on when tailbacks have already built up (and then it would be chaos as without the lights drivers would block the roundabout).

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Fuel cost haver been dropping for ages,  what bright spark ordered years and years supply of fuel at the highest rate possible?  The cost of bus travel in this town is ridiculously high.  If there are 2 or more, going to town and back from most areas, it is cheaper by cab so a no brainer for most who actually pay and don't have a pass.  It sometimes seems that the bus company is trying to fail.  

 

As for the traffic in the town, I am so glad the road layouts and lights are working so well and that I never have to sit in queues on Winwick Road, Cromwell Ave, Liverpool Road, the whole of town centre, Chester Road, Wilderspool Causeway, Manchester Road, the whole of Birchwood et al.  When Omega becomes more developed the single carriageway in and out ,which already jams up, will lead to mayhem.  Add to that the bridge being tolled in Widnes and this side of the town will become a traffic nightmare.

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It's because this is a badly run monopoly that is able to exploit its position to compensate for the incompetence of its management with price rises. You just have to benchmark fares against those of the services in other towns to see this. This is not helped by the fact it has six councillors as directors who have transferred their experience of kowtowing to incompetent and/or ethically compromised senior council employees to the management of Network Warrington. What this town needs at all levels are councillors who will rock the boat and jerk a lot of the unaccountable people who actually run the town out of their complacency. 

 

Damian Graham at Network Warrington is the perfect example of this. He clearly doesn't think that the publicly owned monopoly he heads up is accountable in any way to the people of the town. Meanwhile the councillors who sit on the board who are supposed to represent bus users (ie the people who voted them into office) just sit by and watch. Then we have the sight of the Mayor of Warrington issuing public statements telling people that it is their duty to support this basket case of a company and pay more to travel around the town than they would in their cars. And, of course, if you want to buy things from the different shops that they've dotted on retail parks all over the town, you have the option of a day ticket. 

 

The council really should change the town's motto to more closely reflect their attitude towards Warringtonians. I'd suggest something like 'Cough Up. Shut Up.'   

I wasn't going to bother, but let's start with the legalities. The directors' legal duty is to the company, and make sure it's viable; if we try to "represent bus users", especially in our own wards, it's a conflict of interest! But the underlying philosophy at Network Warrington is of course  to run a comprehensive service for the benefit of the Warrington public, at a lower profit margin than the "big boys", who would only run where they can guarantee profits into double figures (and local authorities simply cannot now pick up the slack, with budget cuts to provision of noncommercial services).

 

As this is a thread about congestion, I'll not respond in more detail about the factors behind national and local drop in bus usage, but obviously out of town retail parks cut bus use, so do out of town offices (not now helped by the government allowing virtually any office to be converted to residential), and this is down to national planning guidance rather than local planning decisions.

 

If people used all the lanes available at traffic lights, that would help congestion - e.g. why do so many drivers use the nearside lane on Winwick Road northbound approaching Cromwell Avenue even when going straight on?

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Ah nothing wrong with the road network, it is people not using the roads properly.  Both lanes down Winwick Road get blocked, the straight on/left turn onto Cromwell naturally has more traffic as it is serving two exits at the lights, even when you get through the first set onto Cromwell there is then another set about 5 metres onto the road which back things up further.  Dave, what position do you hold at the Council?

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I'm not sure how you count 17 sets of lights, though it's in double figures. Unless you want traffic on side roads and Alban never to get out onto or cross the A49, is there any alternative to traffic lights? So far as I know, everyone thinks the new lights replacing the Long Lane roundabout have improved things. And before the Cockhedge roundabout is raised: the perception is that the lights cause congestion, but (as oft repeated) the lights only come on when tailbacks have already built up (and then it would be chaos as without the lights drivers would block the roundabout).

 

I'll say no more than "Westbrook Asda Traffic Lights"

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Actually, the 

 

I wasn't going to bother, but let's start with the legalities. The directors' legal duty is to the company, and make sure it's viable; if we try to "represent bus users", especially in our own wards, it's a conflict of interest! But the underlying philosophy at Network Warrington is of course  to run a comprehensive service for the benefit of the Warrington public, at a lower profit margin than the "big boys", who would only run where they can guarantee profits into double figures (and local authorities simply cannot now pick up the slack, with budget cuts to provision of noncommercial services).

 

As this is a thread about congestion, I'll not respond in more detail about the factors behind national and local drop in bus usage, but obviously out of town retail parks cut bus use, so do out of town offices (not now helped by the government allowing virtually any office to be converted to residential), and this is down to national planning guidance rather than local planning decisions.

 

If people used all the lanes available at traffic lights, that would help congestion - e.g. why do so many drivers use the nearside lane on Winwick Road northbound approaching Cromwell Avenue even when going straight on?

 

Actually, the viability of the business is just one of the responsibilities of directors. They also include holding management to account and accounting for the company's activities to stakeholders. And if a business was only viable on the basis of endless prices rises, there'd be no secret to management would there? And how do you explain why Warrington's fares are already so much higher than bus services in comparable towns? Also, please feel free to respond to PJ's point about buying fuel at the top of the market, for years in advance. Finally, can you shed any light on the behaviour of Damian Graham, one year going on holiday to avoid the fallout from a huge price rise, the next simply refusing to communicate with customers. On this last point, by the way, it is one of the responsibilities of the board to hold the management of the business to account. On that basis alone, the directors of the business are failing to meet their responsibilities, including the six councillors who appear to have little or no experience running a private sector business.    

 

By the way, you make a very good point about conflicts of interest in appointing councillors to help screw as much money as possible out of voters to prop up a failing business. Especially the town's least well off and most in need of support. Spot on, in fact. Thank you.

 

Finally, you also make a great point about the development of retail and business parks, although you're obviously wrong to suggest the council can do nothing about that. That is all in the 'core strategy' isn't it?   

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Finally, can you shed any light on the behaviour of Damian Graham, one year going on holiday to avoid the fallout from a huge price rise, the next simply refusing to communicate with customers. On this last point, by the way, it is one of the responsibilities of the board to hold the management of the business to account. On that basis alone, the directors of the business are failing to meet their responsibilities, including the six councillors who appear to have little or no experience running a private sector business.    

 

 

Anyone would think Mr. Graham had been promoted way beyond his abilities and may serve the company better by being a painter touching up the bodywork in the paint shop.

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Anyone would think Mr. Graham had been promoted way beyond his abilities and may serve the company better by being a painter touching up the bodywork in the paint shop.

 

At least nobody would mind if  he went on holiday at the exact same time this company abuses its monopoly position.

 

Bonus question for daveewood to ignore: Why do we need six councillors to all agree with whatever the hell the board of Network Warrington decide? People have no choice about which bus service to use, so what is the point of Warrington's taxpayers coughing up for six councillors to rubber stamp the decisions of Damian Graham shortly before he reaches for his flight tickets?  

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Isn't the board of directors the 'management' of Network Warrington?

Owned by WBC - "run for the benefit of the public" - with WBC Councillors as Directors.  A rather strange set up!

There's some potential for a clash of interests here, between the owners WBC (profit making) and the objectives (providing good public transport).  

As the Directors are also WBC Councillors (and are being paid by both WBC and Network Warrington) in the event of a clash of interest whichever 'side' they took would put them in conflict of interest!

No idea what these councillors actually get paid for their Director's duties but last year the money taken from Network Warrington for the Director's pension scheme was £35,319 !!!

I think Charity Status and members of the public as directors would be more appropriate.         

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Just looked on Companies house website, it says at present there are 11 Directors! - though there are only 10 names for present directors. (but Graham Damian is recorded twice, once as Secretary and again as a Director).

 

Graham Damian - Secretary

Brian Axcell - Director - Borough Councillor

Maureen Banner - Director

David Blainey - Director

William Brinksman - Director - Borough Councillor

John Burke - Director

Graham Damian - Director

Andrew Heaver - Director - Borough Councillor

Tony Higgins - Director - Borough Councillor

Pauline Nelson - Director - Borough Councillor

Steven Parish Director - Borough Councillor

 

The Borough Council have the majority and it appears there is no 'public input'.

So......WBC still both own and run it!

What was the point of registering it as a private company?

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