Truro traffic problems
A traffic improvement scheme which has resulted in gridlock on roads in Truro was working “too well” according to Cornwall Council. The massive Trafalgar roundabout scheme – with an initial budget of £2.25 million – has introduced a third lane and was designed to “improve traffic flow and access for pedestrians and cyclists”.
The West Briton asked Cornwall Council if it was now happy with the impact of the Trafalgar roundabout scheme on traffic in the city. A council spokesman said: “Upon initial commissioning Trafalgar was operating too well for A39 traffic flows and, through a period of signal adjustments, the opposing junction flows have been balanced, in combination with road marking changes to improve lane discipline.
“Traffic flows on Morlaix Avenue will always be heavy in the morning because traffic is accessing the same destinations. Trafalgar is performing better than anticipated and is expected to provide at least a 10 per cent capacity benefit through the junction overall.” The spokesman said the traffic was being made worse by the South West Water and Wales and West Utilities works on the other side of the city that have closed roads.
Comment The Trafalgar roundabout and associated road ‘improvements’ always suffered from a fundamental flaw – namely that unless the underlying causes of congestion are removed, modifying the road system will only delay higher congestion levels for a limited period of time.
Truro has a magnetic pull on shoppers and workers drawing in people from adjacent areas. At the same time the city is expanding and as everyone knows there are plans for even more housing, retail etc. All of these proposals will generate more traffic. Tinkering at Trafalgar will not sort it out.
What is to be done? A sustainable planning policy which planned for lower levels of development would be a major step forward. This would need to be allied to reducing current traffic levels in and around Truro. Priority must be given to enhancing and improving public transport together with measures to restrict car use. The alternative is more congestion and a decline in the quality of life of Truro residents.