For some islanders one of the irritations of local life is the traffic congestion faced mainly during the morning and afternoon rush hour. And the frustration isn’t over when you arrive by car into town. Even with thousands of public car parking spaces, it can be time consuming to find one free.
The vitality of a town comes from its pedestrians and not from its cars. Cars consume large amounts of space and radically change the landscape.
The States of Jersey Sustainable Travel Policy suggested a target of 15% reduction in peak hour traffic over the next five years starting from 2010. In addition to this the Jersey energy plan aimed for a 5% shift to sustainable modes of transport by 2020. This target is part of the wider energy plan aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
They have fallen woefully short of their 15% target.
I want to know why and what they are actively doing to rectify this. I believe that not enough is being done to find sustainable alternatives to reduce the number of cars on our roads. I will push for an urgent review of our bus service, increased safer routes for pedestrian and cyclists plus other environmentally, affordable and convenient modes of transport.
Here are some examples of how I believe this target can be achieved.
I currently sit on a Steering Group tackling the road safety and traffic congestion in the Havre Des Pas area, working alongside the Connetable of St Helier, Deputies and representatives from Growth, Housing and Environment (“GHE”). In a recent meeting I successfully agreed with GHE that a study would be undertaken (as part of a feasibility study taking place for the regeneration of Havre Des Pas) to ascertain the impact of traffic calming measures, such as pedestrian crossings and implementing 20mph. Considering that the area had been overlooked for so long, my consistent pressure seems to finally be bearing fruit.
But there are so many areas in District 3 and 4 that warrant and need the same level of attention and I pledge to fight for your safety on our roads. I need to understand and target the most problematic areas and this is where I ask for your help! Please do contact me to discuss where you are experiencing pedestrian, parking and traffic issues that impact on your life. Your voice must be heard and solutions found to make a difference in your area.
Liberty bus is owned by HCT Group. HCT are a social enterprise providing transport and community services and as the company is also a registered charity, their funding and resources are limited. As part of their ethos, HCT reinvested 37% of its annual profits into local community services in 2011. I am supportive of the aspirations of the Liberty bus service. However, when I asked a number of islanders if they use the bus service and if not, why not, the following issues were raised:
During morning and evening peak rush hour traffic, a small number of buses are overcrowded and unfortunately these buses simply don’t have the capacity to collect all passengers;
The lack of connectivity between services means islanders (and visitors) need to travel to Liberation Station in order to catch a further bus to reach their final destination.
Currently passengers have the option to pay cash £2.20 (adults) £1.10 (children) which if multiple journeys are required, is not a cost effective mode of transport.
I want to work with Liberty bus to improve their services for the benefit of the island and visitors. The services they provide are crucial to island life and it is essential that the government look to increase the support they need to deliver and improve these services. Some other possible solutions for discussion and supporting Liberty Bus are:
Explore ways of evolving the bus ticketing model similar to that of the London Oyster card where you are charged for the length of your journey, ensuring the cheapest tariff to encourage more people to utilise the bus service.
Liberty bus has been instrumental seeking improvements for people with access needs. All bus drivers are being trained to help people with disabilities and customer service. They are seeking to work with local charities and I would also support Liberty bus in this initiative utilising the many charitable mini buses to assist accessing the elderly and vulnerable. Pooling our resources and working together is key.
By supporting these services who support our community, we can achieve so much more.
Cycling and Walking
I recognise the island has an issue with its shared road space which effects everybody. We all have a responsibility to look out for each other and road safety education is important. I appreciate that cycling is not for everyone, but we should work towards, for those who choose to cycle, providing this as a more safe, accessible and affordable alternative mode of transport.
There is potential that cycling could provide lower congestion, better air quality, and vibrant, attractive places and communities.
To encourage this we must continue providing safe island wide cycle routes and increased pedestrian road safety measures (as mentioned above) where we can.
For many the issue of cycling is safety, affordability and accessibility. I believe we should explore the potential and cost effective feasibility of introducing the electric ‘City Bike’ scheme, which has been successfully installed in many cities and towns all over the UK and Europe. For more information about electric ‘City Bikes’ and how they could benefit our island, please click on the following links:
How could this be funded?
One possibility would be financially working collaboratively with private companies and the government, to see if this type of scheme is feasible for our island and attractive to tourism, whilst keeping within the Growth Housing and Environment allocated budget.
I want to work with islanders to find the best solution. So your feedback on such schemes would be gratefully appreciated.
It’s about your ideas and your voice being heard.