Time to blog?

I have been a bit quiet on the blogging front – life has been a bit hectic over the last week.


But tonight I wrote a couple of blog posts…

The reason is that I’m home and didn’t expect to be. I was supposed to go and cheer my PSL team on – who are playing at Chapel Allerton in Leeds. I was going to travel up with my son – so arranged to meet him at home for the hour and a half drive. Except that my 3 mile journey home wasn’t good – it took an hour. But that was fast at the side of his – it took him 2 hours to go from his office in town to The Park and then to try to get home. He averaged 2mph.

We gave up in the end.

I blogged here for a joke about giving up on travelling about in Nottingham – but it is no joke. Especially when you try to work, live and play in this city.

What made matters worse tonight was that in the 20 minutes it took me to travel on part of my route with a bus lane there were no buses. Just grid-locked cars. Isn’t it time that Nottingham suspended these bus lanes as they have done so in Liverpool – even if it is whilst all of this ‘infrastructure’ work goes on?


7 comments on “Time to blog?

  1. Tim you are right that the traffic has been unnecessarily terrible lately – the district heating main on Canal Street where on one occasion two lanes were taken out at rush hour was a particular triumph – but only a dinosaur would suggest the removal of the bus lanes – like it or not we have probably the best public transport outside London – if all of the people travelling on the buses were encouraged to get back in their cars (by you) the travelling time would quadruple – they travel on the buses as they are fast a reliable – partly because of the bus lanes

    Suggest you get your penny farthing out



    • Jim, it’s a shambles! District heating, the decimation of Aspley Lane (who allowed those fantastic trees to be slayed?), the tram mess (try getting out of NG2 at rush hour) and the A453. We love to say ‘open for business’ but we’re not – we’re actually ‘shut for business’. I reckon I add an hour to my day at the moment for these wonderful public transport systems – sadly I can’t do my job without my car.

      My suggestion about the bus lane is to improve traffic flow – at what point can it be acceptable to take two hours to do four miles? I have suggested it as a temporary measure whilst we do these works. Our roads are not designed to cope with the volume of traffic WHILST SHUTTING LANES AND DIGGING UP THE CITY.

      I would use my bike, but yesterday was Guildford, today was supposed to be Leeds, tomorrow Birmingham and Thursday Coventry. You will smile at my ‘international’ lifestyle – but on a bike I might need a few more days in the week.

      A dinosaur I may be – but we need to stop bleating about the ‘best public transport’ when we have the ‘very worst private transport’! Believe it or not it puts people off investing and working. And that it will all be wonderful one day isn’t particularly helpful.

      Love, as ever, Tim

  2. I’m with Jim Taylor on this one, sorry Tim.

    I understand your frustration, I have been in exactly the same situation, twice having to abandon evening rush hour journeys from the city centre to Derby for non-essential meetings. It seems the west side of the ring road is particularly congested. But those journeys were not recent and not associated with the current roadworks, and that is the point. In the same way as work expands to fill the time available, so traffic volumes will expand to fill the capacity available. And in a place like Nottingham there is not, and never will be, enough space to provide limitless capacity.

    Assuming self-regulation by congestion is not efficient, the only way to deal with the problem is to encourage people not to drive. The tools available include the ones you dislike so much, expensive car parking and high petrol prices, because it is only when it hits our pocket that we will take action. Other tools, all of which form an interdependent package, include land use policies that favour development in town centres, internet shopping, video conferencing, flexible working, and of course public transport. About 40% of commuters travel by public transport in the peak hours in Nottingham. And they do so only because overall public transport is more convenient than driving (given the value placed on the time and cost spent travelling and parking). If the bus lanes were lost, even temporarily, bus travel would be less convenient causing some to drive instead, filling back up the space released so you would see no benefit.

    You may have seen the recently published research that said Leicester was the 8th most congested place in the UK, Nottingham the 12th. So the problem is universal. The only tool we haven’t used, because of the obvious political ramifications, is road pricing. That would further inconvenience drivers and encourage more people out of their cars. Presumably people such as you would (reluctantly) be prepared to pay more for a less congested journey. In the meantime, transport is an glamorous ministerial posting, yet congestion a hot political topic, and we seem to be pulling the levers the wrong way – witness recent announcements about not being anti-car, suspending petrol price increases, talking about free parking in town centres, and the reluctance to subsidise public transport.

    Sorry for going on but this is my pet subject. Finally, you could get 333 A453s (£150m each) for the price of an HS2 (£50bn).

    • David, thanks for the comments and adding to the debate. I guess we are going to have to disagree.

      I can’t do my job with public transport. Nor can the people I employ here.

      We are now getting to the point in Nottingham where there is grid-lock and the current situation is getting worse not better. My point about the bus lane was that in the 25 minutes I sat in a single line of cars not one bus used the bus lane. How can that be? I am simply suggesting that whilst these works are ongoing we try SOMETHING to free up the City.

      What people don’t want to hear is that this is impacting on business. It is impacting on the attractiveness of the City to investors.

      We have to be grown up about making sure we don’t glibly and arrogantly say ‘it’ll be alright soon’. That doesn’t cut.

      I spend a lot of time in London – I use public transport all of the time – because they have public transport system that will get me to where I want to be. Nottingham doesn’t.

      Yes I would pay – but only because I have no option than to use my car for my job. But also remember I now do pay through the Workplace Parking Tax to provide a tram system which will be of no use to me or the majority of my staff or Directors. And that Tax is going up by an outrageous amount each year. It is also now a factor when companies look at Nottingham.

      There is no easy answer – but I am simply asking for some respite in the short term before we damage our City’s reputation. It used to be ‘gun crime’ – but it is fast becoming ‘gridlock’!

  3. I agree with much of what you say, and was careful not to suggest you could use public transport. But others can.

    I don’t know where you got stuck, but as bus lanes are only provided on the main arterial routes, where the buses generally run every 10 minutes, ironically I suspect you didn’t see one for 25 minutes because they too were stuck in traffic. In such a situation a bus passenger may well say that it would be better to be stuck in their car with heat, a radio and their own personal space than in a bus, and hence switch. So that is an argument for more bus lanes rather than fewer, so they can avoid the grid lock and not make the situation worse for those who have to use their cars.

    This isn’t a public transport issue anyway. There are many interdependent factors involved. You chose to locate your business in a place where car travel is the most convenient option. Eon went for the city centre. The A453 works delayed me by 30 minutes the other day, and yet I have been an advocate for improvements like many others.

    As you say, it is complex. But I don’t see congestion as a temporary problem, rather one that requires a long term strategy, because infrastructure takes time to deliver, and the bravery to stick with it despite bumps along the way.

    As you will know, investors consider much more than just the transport system when deciding where to locate. Nevertheless, perhaps they can take comfort that the City Council has a strategy, that Nottingham is better than Leicester, and I have never found it easy to drive around Derby either. I wouldn’t want to live in Milton Keynes just because it is easy to drive around!!

    Cheers ~ David

  4. Dear Mr. Garratt,

    Let me introduce myself: my name is Christian Vleugels and I am a Master’s student Industrial and applied Mathematics at the Eindhoven University of Technology. For my Master’s thesis I posed a mathematical model in order to prevent the highly undesirable phenomena called “gridlocks”. My question to you is now, is it possible for me to use the picture of a gridlock on this page in my thesis? It perfectly shows the situation which is extremely frustrating for drivers.

    Many thanks in advance,

    Christian Vleugels


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