The council have submitted plans on changing Old Town’s road layout that will allow all buses from Wichelstowe to pass through directly to the Town Centre. Making it more convenient for the commuters.
There are actually a lot of proposals for the road layout that they are still studying which will work better. If the plan will proceed, the people of Old Town will soon see changes in the road layout and will have new traffic lights with priority for buses.
Council considers changes to Old Town road layout to improve bus travel
RESIDENTS of Old Town could soon see significant changes to their road layout, to allow buses from Wichelstowe to pass through faster on their way to the town centre.
The council has launched a consultation on the ‘Swindon to Wichelstowe bus rapid transit’ service and among the ideas floated are new traffic lights with priority for buses, the introduction of one way or bus only lanes on roads, or changes to existing lanes and roundabouts.
One option is to try out a design concept seen in other cities where the pavements and the road become one in the hope that the uncertainty of who can go where reduces vehicle speed.
The proposed route will run from the outlet centre and along Great Western Way before crossing Wootton Bassett Road and proceeding into the West and Middle Wichel developments.
It will then head past Waitrose, through East Wichel, across Croft Road to go past Nationwide then up Pipers Way towards Old Town and onto Regent Circus.
It is in Old Town that planners have identified the biggest risk of congestion and delay, hence the need to identify solutions to ease the movement of the buses through the area and onto the town centre with minimum delay.
There are currently three proposals in the early stages of consultation.
It is hoped that work will be started on the chosen proposal in 2017/18.
The first could see traffic lights, with priority for buses, introduced at either end of Wood Street, at the roundabout where the High Street meets Newport Street and where it meets Devizes Road.
Four new signalled junctions all within 200 metres of each other could be introduced.
The second option could see the layout of those same four junctions altered to include bus priority lanes – however at least two are single lanes in each direction so it would appear difficult to prioritise buses while also maintaining sufficient room for cars.
This option also looks at the possibility of removing the curbs along the High Street to create a ‘shared space’ where pedestrians, cyclists, cars and buses could all move amongst each other.
This contentious strategy of merging the street with the pavement has resulted in accident and speed reductions elsewhere.
The third proposal appears to suggest that some roads around Old Town could become one way, with the second lane being used as a dedicated bus corridor rather than for traffic moving in the other direction.
Alternatively, new bus gates could be used to close access off for cars at certain points around the road network.
The funding for the proposed changes would come from a budget allocated by the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s Local Growth Fund.
The team behind the project will be available between 3pm and 7pm at the Arts Centre cafe for the next two Tuesdays to answer questions and show off some drawings.
The consultation runs until October 14.