Making a big mistake.

We’ve been featuring Queen Square of late, and the work going on there as part of the Clean Air Zone infrastructure that has to be in place before such a zone can be implemented.

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I said the work was due to be completed by the end of August but thought the CAZ won’t be up and running until next year.

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In the meantime, John Branstone writes:

‘Sorry to say I think B&NES are making a huge mistake here and will create permanent stationary traffic at multiple sets of lights around Queen Sq & Gay St (tailing back into George St, Charlotte St and Chapel Row), forever ruining the air quality, rather than improving it.

I’m not a traffic expert, just a cycling commuter who passes through the square twice per day. I wrote my ideas to Highways 2-3 years ago. My suggestions in short:

  • E & S sides of square closed to traffic and opened up for pedestrian use or e.g. hut-based cafes.
  • Old King St sealed off; John St & Old King St accessible only for very minimal delivery traffic at limited times from the Quiet St area.
  • Everything that comes down Gay St follows the road (no traffic lights) right onto N side (2 way).
    • Traffic heading for Charles St turns left down W side (one way) and Chapel Row (one way).
    • Everything heading westwards continues onto Charlotte St and Upper Bristol Rd.
  • Everything going N on Charles St turns left into Monmouth Place.
    • Everything heading for George St turns right into Charlotte St and through the N side of Queen Square.
    • Else westwards on Upper Bristol Rd.

While you’re about it, you could make the Charles St left turn into Monmouth Place the priority route, with traffic from Monmouth St and Chapel Row on a Give Way, doing away with further lights and further stationary traffic.

When I made this suggestion to Highways, they told me it was unworkable, on the basis that northbound traffic on Charles St could not be forced to turn left into Monmouth Place, as the turning is too narrow. Yet this is the exact (temporary) arrangement that has been in place for the last 6 months with no ill effects. It’s very odd.

These are just my thoughts. I will be happy to be proven wrong, but if Queen Square becomes a permanent traffic jam, I hope they will have a rethink.

All the best and keep up the good work!”