New group formed to try to beat the traffic jams

PUBLISHED: 19:10 01 October 2008 | UPDATED: 13:37 06 May 2010

YET another scheme aiming to improve traffic flow in the district could see cars being banned from St Albans city centre. It could also include a mini park-and-ride facility around the city and the implementation of Real Time Information designed to prov

YET another scheme aiming to improve traffic flow in the district could see cars being banned from St Albans city centre.

It could also include a mini park-and-ride facility around the city and the implementation of Real Time Information designed to provide up-to-the minute bus arrival and departure times to waiting passengers.

The proposals also involve the development of a pilot metro-style regular, reliable and reasonably-priced local bus service on a key access route into St Albans.

The proposals have been agreed by the newly-formed Quality Network Partnership which includes St Albans District Council, Herts County Council, the University of Herts, Oaklands College and the various local bus and train operators.

Cllr Mike Ellis, portfolio holder for the environment, said: "New legislation is about to make it easier for councils to work more closely with bus operators in particular for our mutual benefit."

The first stage of automatic vehicle location equipment should be installed on UNO and Arriva services in March 2009 and the new system could be in place across the entire district by 2010.

However a car ban in St Peter's Street could attract strong opposition from traders who incurred heavy losses as a result of its temporary closure to all traffic except buses and taxis during the safety scheme 18 months ago.

Cllr Ellis said taxis, buses and cyclists would still be allowed through the main street but it would be a much more attractive shopping centre for pedestrians.

He added: "I hope that traders would benefit from the improvement of the city centre and as for the argument that traffic would clog up elsewhere, statistics gathered during the closure prove there was no significant displacement."

He said it was too early to identify park-and-ride sites and agreed there had been problems in the past finding suitable sites when the idea had been put forward.

But he said Government funding was already in place to improve public transport links between St Albans City Station, Abbey Station and Hatfield Station.

He added: "This will mean that efforts will be to made to synchronise timings so that passengers can make connections more easily.

"I am very optimistic that we have a real chance to make things better at last.

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