Buckinghamshire County Council Transport Cabinet Member, Mark Shaw, has welcomed responses to a consultation on Aylesbury’s Transport Strategy.
250 responses from residents and businesses were generated by the consultation which closed earlier in January 2017. The consultation gave the opportunity to comment on issues that would improve transport connections, make it easier to get around town and to new growth areas, reduce congestion and traffic levels, and make roads safer.
The transport strategy, which feeds into the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan, helps set the scene for the successful development of the town over the next 15 years.
‘That’s precisely what it is – a scene setter, a helicopter view, and not a detailed plan,‘ said Mark. ‘I welcome all the responses, which really do challenge our ideas, concepts and direction, and that’s entirely right.‘
‘The strategy’s long-term aim is to reduce traffic in the town centre and make life easier for everyone travelling around Aylesbury,‘ he said, ‘whether that’s walking, on a bike, by bus or in a car.‘
‘This is why we’ve envisaged new link roads, it’s why we’re continuing to develop the idea of bus-only lanes and the park-and-ride concept, it’s why we want to encourage cycling and walking,‘ said Mark.
‘We want Aylesbury to be a great place for getting around by all modes of transport. We’re all guilty of jumping in the car, expecting the roads to be an absolute clearway, and then complain when we hit congestion – not appreciating that we are part of that problem!
We need a change in our attitude to travel, and this high level blueprint will help us do this – and encourage us to be healthier as well.‘
Mark said he was encouraged by how, in recent years, Aylesbury had embraced travel alternatives. In the ten years to 2016 the annual number of bus journeys had increased by 15% from just over 1.2 million to nearly 1.4m, the number of routes had risen from seven to ten and in the past three years cycle counters showed journeys by bike had increased by around 10%.
And, he said, the future – with East West Rail’s opening up of Aylesbury’s railway cul-de-sac to the north- further encouraged the desired change in travel attitudes.
‘This really does confirm the vision for a developing town where new estates can breathe, where residents are within easy reach of a bus, or can choose to walk or cycle safely,‘ said Mark.
‘We don’t have all the answers here and now – and residents wouldn’t expect us to make knee-jerk decisions based on wild assumptions and selective research.
The consultation has given us time to look, listen and learn. We’ve analysed all of the responses and we’ve drafted some amendments that we now need to check with our expert advisers.
I believe this demonstrates sound thinking, considerate planning, and an openness to residents’ feedback,‘ said Mark.