27/01/2011

Dereham Road (Norwich) Bus Rapid Transport Scheme Proposals

Proposals that will help to bring a new type of high quality, faster and more reliable bus service to Norwich are being published for public comment by Norfolk County Council and Norwich City Council.

The two councils are working in partnership to improve public transport across the city. They have consulted on, and gained support for, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) for up to six routes in Norwich. BRT is a new approach to bus travel that delivers a high quality bus service.

Members of the public are invited to comment on plans for the first steps in providing a faster, more frequent and reliable bus service along Dereham Road. Introducing BRT requires a range of improvements to existing infrastructure (including roads, junctions, bus stops and shelters etc)timetables and vehicles to ensure a better service that will encourage more people to travel by bus. At the same time, the opportunity will be taken to improve pedestrian crossing points and facilities for cyclists.

Norwich does not currently have any BRT services but they have been introduced in other parts of the country successfully. Dereham Road has been selected as one of six routes identified in the Norwich area transportation strategy (NATS) and funding of up to £1.5m for this first phase has been made available by the Greater Norwich Development Partnership.

The Dereham Road corridor has been identified as one of the first to benefit from BRT improvements because of the high frequency of buses - up to 20 an hour at peak times. The corridor serves residential and employment areas at Longwater, Lodge Farm, West Costessey (Queens Hills) and Bowthorpe, and these areas will help deliver the projected growth for Norwich. Development in many of these areas is already underway or committed.

Several improvements are proposed on Dereham Road, including:

~ Improvements at the junction of Dereham Road with Old Palace Road and Heigham Road to enable the junction to operate more efficiently and improve journey times for all modes of transport. This is achieved by introducing a right turn ban 'except for cycles' from Dereham Road into these side streets and will also allow an 'all-red' stage of the traffic signals, providing improved pedestrian crossing facilities across the whole junction. It will also improve safety at the junction.

~ The efficiency of the junction of Dereham Road with Grapes Hill will be improved by allowing only cycles to exit onto the junction from St Benedicts Street. This reduces the need to provide so much time to this phase of the lights and the right turning traffic from Dereham Road can be given more green light time and journey time for all modes on Dereham Road will be improved. Cyclists from St Benedict's Street would still be able to travel westbound, with their own set of traffic lights.

~ Additional traffic signals at the Dereham Road junction with Bar Road and Grapes Hill to allow buses, taxis and pedal cycles to bypass the queues to reach the junctions ahead of other traffic.

~ Where possible, cycle lanes and cycle waiting areas (at junctions) have been proposed.

~ A new 24-hour bus lane from a point just east of Douro Place to the Barn Road junction, providing benefits to buses, cyclists and taxis. A full time bus lane is safer as cyclists do not have to contend with general traffic. Part time lanes tend to lead to increased vehicle speeds and overtaking. Introducing this lane will also encourage people to use public transport and to cycle more by making journeys faster, safer and with fewer delays.

~ Conversion of the existing bus lane running from near Gurney Road to the outer ring road, from part time to 24-hour use, 7 days a week.

~ Introduction of high quality bus stops and shelters incorporating features such as real time information displays.

~ A no entry restriction at the southern end of Goldsmith Street, from Dereham Road, to prevent possible rat-running along the road.

~ An extension of the 30mph speed limit, just west of the Norwich Road junction, by approximately 70 metres further from the city.

There are several ways to comment on these proposals:

By web:
www.norfolk.gov.uk

By email:
norwich.transport@norfolk.gov.uk

By phone:
0344 800 8020

By post:
Dereham Road BRT Consultation
Norfolk County Council
County Hall
Martineau Lane
NORWICH
NR1 2SG

The public consultation runs until 7th February 2011.

Responses will be summarised and reported to the Norwich Highways Agency Committee in the Spring of 2011. The Committee will then decide how to proceed with the scheme.

(source of information - NCC Website www.norfolk.gov.uk)