Ipswich Unemployed Action.

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Ipswich Fit for 21st Century: Lack of Infrastructure

Ipswich Fit for 21st Century: Lack of Infrastructure

The argument regarding the £25m bid recently won for Ipswich as part of a multibillion Central Government package for transport infrastructure goes on and no mention of Tesco Plc contributing to the plans. Part 1 of Ipswich Unemployed Action’s feature on Ipswich Fit for the 21st Century looks further into the lack of infrastructure and therefore raises big questions and criticisms of the proposed plans.

Main Roads

The main target for the Council was improving transport to ease congestion. I can via this simple current sentence tell you a better option to have picked rather than this “high tech” nonsense – that is a northern bypass! Yes, at current there are two ways to get across town…

Drive through the town (various routes but generally all congested)
Drive on the A14 over the Orwell Bridge.

If you can displace the traffic from town roads which are heavily relied on by public transport on to purpose built roads designed for fast high capacity roads, this would be the only real congestion reducing solution. Of course, our great Orwell Bridge rather often gets shut due to high winds or an “accident” which means this traffic is forced to go through the town. This would be prevented with a northern bypass!

As we live in a town with zoned industrial areas and residential areas, it is likely that for example many workers of Boss Hall, Hadleigh Road, Farthing Road and Whitehouse Industrial Estates actually live in East Ipswich or workers of Ransomes Europark live in West Ipswich.

Lack of Public Transport infrastructure

I could write a book on this entire Ipswich lacking infrastructure issue, however, I will keep it brief.

I have attached two pictures. The first is my very quickly made mock-up of the area just above of the Railway Station on an aerial map and the second is taken from the plans of a proposed shuttle bus route. As that is called Figure 2, the former will be known as Figure 1.

Most tourism will come from the Railway Station, although National Express also run coaches to Old Cattle Market and bus services from outside the area also serve the town centre.

See Figure 1. I have noted the top 5 locations South of the Town Centre which are:
1) The football ground
2) The cinema
3) The council buildings
4) Rest of Cardinal Park , and
5) The Crown Court

The red line and badly drawn arrows show where the buses main traffic route is. Although buses also go both left of the station and right. A free shuttle service passes by the council buildings and turns left into Princes Street. Buses do divert through Cardinal Park at certain times but for the purposes of general everyday tourism these are ignored as buses going from the town centre aren’t helping tourists coming from the other way. Tourists will not be limited to the WTO definition of a 24hr hour requirement so will include people coming from outside the town even for a few hours stay.

It is quickly apparent that no bus services from the train station actually go to any of these potential tourist hotspots!

Granted that some are not too far walking distance away from a bus stop such as that near the fire station but paying a premium for such a short distance (such as one bus stop away) is poor value and pointless. Good job the council has planned for crossings at JX1 and JX2 (above the labels) which were rather recently remodelled with new bricks. Strangely, they never realised the importance of installing proper crossings at such time!!!

There is a proposed additional free(?) bus shuttle service, however, as the route map clearly shows this also misses ALL these potential tourist hotspots, randomly leaves you near a fire station, stops opposite the Willis Building (for those who want to walk half the journey into town!), doesn’t stop again until outside the car park behind the “Woolworths” building, and then ends with a stop at the college before heading back to the Railway Station!

So a good concept completely wasted! Stops near the town and college the only two valuable stops which isn’t really worthy of its own route in all seriousness.

Destroying Public Transport

The only problem is this will hike up bus fares!! People for example, will get off near the rail station and get the free shuttle from the railway station into town. At current for some route 13 users, if the shuttle service was in operation, they would save 80p. Do the same to get back… that is £1.60 lost by Ipswich Buses which is almost half lost revenue. Something to do with a £1 fare. I don’t use buses so please correct me if I am wrong!

A better shuttle route for tourism

So I had to design my own route! Figure 3 shows the route with aerial view.

Find “2”. This is the first stop where the bus departs the Railway Station. (I know you are all thinking where is “1”! The point-to-point line is known as 1… so pinpoints began at 2. Come on be fair, Microsoft is an American company!

The shuttle bus goes over the bridge, passes the fire station via the bus lane, heads down Portman Road.

Stops at “3”. Continues by turning left into Sir Alf Ramsey Way past the Sir Alf Ramsey statue and the Sir Bobby Robson stand, past the training ground towards the left and the recreation ground to the right, turns into Constantine Road and continues down it turning on to Russell Road.

Stops at “4” outside the council buildings in “Ipswich Village” (also brief walking distance to the Crown Court). The shuttle bus continues past the Ipswich Crown Court and continues by going straight (past the lights) for Cardinal Park.

Stops at “5”: an undersubscribed purpose built bus stop which doesn’t see enough use for the effort involved. People can get off the bus to go to the cinema or for the rest of Cardinal Park. The shuttle bus continues straight ahead until turning left before following the road turning right at the lights (yes it is a roundabout right now!) going past the landmark Willis building. The shuttle bus continues up Princes Street and passes the “Giles Circus” without making a stop (although if required it could be added for the Corn Exchange when events are on). it continues to stop “6”.

Stops at “6” outside the Buttermarket Shopping Centre for three main purposes which are 1) being the central south stop of the town centre area of the Bus loop 2) allow people to easily access the Shopping Centre and close by shops and 3) allow people to access the Old Cattle Market bus station as an interchange point (i.e. via train to Ipswich, then getting a bus or coach to their final destination). Continues to the next bus stop.

Stops at “7” just a little further up the road (could be omitted) and continues to towards the College. The route could be extended to travel up to the extended bus loop serving Majors Corner (east access to the town) and Tower Ramparts (access to the Tower Ramparts Shopping Centre, Crown Pools and Christchurch Park) before turning back heading for Woodbridge Road to get to the college. This would delay those going to the college quite a bit, would be better as an “B” route alternative, however, this wouldn’t be viable as would damage the commercial interest of the bus operators.

Stops at “8”: the college. Continues to head back to the Railway Station (“2”) to continue the route again.

This route is “better” than the proposed shuttle route as it actually showcases the majority of “gems” (tourism hotspots) that Ipswich actually has. It also serves for the popular destinations. Also shows about redevelopment of Ipswich along many places of its route.

During football matches Portman Road will be shut. The shuttle bus isn’t designed for this purpose but as a way of connecting the council buildings and court up to a bus route. Sending a bus down Russell Way westbound is likely to cause problems with buses using the route the opposite way and also doesn’t have a bus stop and shelter (whereas the eastbound side already has). The Portman Road stop allows people to get off for the ITFC shop but mainly is designed as a “scenic route” and the bus can make a stop opposite the fire station should the route be closed when in operation before turning right towards the Cinema.

With Cambridge and Norwich (although Cities not really comparable to Ipswich but regularly is compared) not having a free shuttle service to achieve a similar effect. It will be a desirable feature that will encourage shops to take over empty units. It won’t happen overnight. It will be more of a 5 year plan and will cost millions to administer the scheme for such purpose.

The Images

Written by Universal Jobmatch

November 2, 2010 at 9:41 am

4 Responses

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  1. […] Ipswich Fit for 21st Century: Lack of Infrastructure […]

  2. Latest news: They want to build a NEW bus station in Tacket Street which will eventually *replace* the existing two… that are subject to being “improved” as the big part of a £25m bid.

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to spend such money on incorporating the 2 bus stations into one? With the existing sites adequate while the new one is being built with services gradually moving to the new bus station once built?

    Work Programme

    March 6, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    • Given how long they took to complete a simple job like Giles Circus you mean……

      Andrew Coates

      March 7, 2011 at 3:36 pm

      • …and all the insurance claims and court cases of people tripping up there!! hehe

        Work Programme

        March 7, 2011 at 5:02 pm

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