A draft plan has been developed to look at the key problems facing the local transport network, and to suggest possible improvements for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.
The South East Hertfordshire Growth and Transport Plan has been drawn up by the County Council along with district and borough councils, and is expected to go out for public consultation later in the month.
Hertford and surrounding towns and countryside face significant levels of proposed new housing and employment development, which will create extra cars on roads and people needing to access jobs, schools, shops and key services on foot, by bike and by public transport.
Over 1000 new homes are expected to be built in the town, including on sites at Sele Farm and the former gas works in Marshagate Drive.
The biggest challenges facing the area are road congestion, lack of cycle and pedestrian routes, and poor east-west public transport. All of these problems are expected to worsen with the predicted growth in homes and jobs.
Hertford suffers from significant traffic congestion, especially weekday morning and evening peak periods, and at other times. The A414 is also used as an alternative route to the M25 when the motorway is experiencing incidents and closures.
Much of the town’s traffic congestion and air quality issues are focused on the A414 corridor (and adjoining roads) which runs east-west through the middle of the town. It is impossible to avoid the A414 if travelling north-south across Hertford.
Unlocking all of the planned housing growth and delivering attractive sustainable travel alternatives to the car will in the long term require a strategic intervention. This could take the form of a bypass and/or a new public transport route. A strategic intervention will be complex and will therefore take longer to bring forward. This should not however deter efforts to introduce improvements to footways, cycle routes and bus services which can deliver positive change in the short term.
Many of the proposals put forward in these packages could be delivered in the shorter-term period, subject to more detailed development work, consultation with local people and funding being available.
A focus should be on improving routes through residential areas such as Bengeo to the stations and town centre easier to follow and more attractive for pedestrians and cyclists; providing additional cycle parking and reviewing car parking facilities.
Clearly if the A414 corridor continues to dominate the town, this could eventually constrain opportunities to fully transform Hertford into a sustainable travel town which delivers the objectives and policies of LTP4 to their fullest potential.
A strategic intervention which can remove traffic from the centre of Hertford will create opportunities to provide much improved facilities for pedestrians, cyclists and buses. For example, the dual carriageway could be reduced in size to a single carriageway road with priority lanes for buses, and pedestrian subways can be replaced with at-grade crossings.
:: South East Hertfordshire Growth and Transport Plan
The plan outlines a number of potential schemes both in Hertford and further afield. These include walking and cycling improvements, additional cycle parking and new routes, improvements to the Rush Green roundabout, and improved local bus services. The aim of many of the schemes is to shift people away from cars and on to sustainable travel.
Frequently mention of Intervention Category IC12 appears in the plan, which talks about: "Work[ing] with operators and local authorities to manage car parking provision at key locations ... through paid parking, parking limitations and other measures with the aim to shift people toward sustainable travel along the interaction. Key locations include car parks, stations, town centres, activity centres and large employment sites, such as Hertfordshire County Council".
Specific measures laid out in the plan include:
The plan also includes details about timescales and costs for the proposals.
A 12-week public consultation on the plan is expected to begin later in October with dates to be confirmed.
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