Chapter Eleven: Transportation and Accessibility
Other links in the Interactive Local Plan:
11.1 Transport and traffic management are probably the most difficult and challenging issues facing the City. Norwich’s economic prosperity depends upon large numbers of people from the surrounding areas being able to get into the City Centre for work, for shopping and for leisure or tourist visits. The preferred form of transport for such journeys for most people would currently be the car. However, the City’s compact urban form, its mediaeval street pattern, the retailing success of the pedestrianised retail area, the need to protect residents from traffic intrusion, congestion and pollution, together with national transport policies, mean that alternative forms of transport need to be made at least as attractive as the car for many journeys. Norwich’s compact form provides considerable scope for this ‘modal shift’ towards sustainable forms of transport to be possible.
11.2 The City Council, in association with the County Council, transport providers, local business and local communities has been working to improve accessibility for everyone around the City, as well as wider accessibility to Norfolk, the rest of the UK and Europe. Over the last ten years, the Norwich southern bypass, and the Wymondham bypass have opened, as has the A14 route to the Midlands. The dualling of the Attleborough to Roudham Heath section of the A11 is now complete and there is now a commitment to dual the entire length of the A11 to Norwich. Improvements to rail services have also been made, including a twice hourly frequency of service to London. A direct rail service to Cambridge has commenced in autumn 2002.
11.3 There needs, therefore, to be a continued emphasis on making effective use of all of the transport infrastructure. This chapter sets out the ways in which new development will integrate with overall transport strategies for the Norwich Area. The aim is to provide for the needs of the City’s population and businesses and exert real pressure for change, as the demand for travel will continue to grow as the City’s prosperity increases. The Plan therefore needs to find solutions, which cater for the growth in demand without increasing congestion and pollution.
11.4 Transport is a major user of finite resources, particularly land and fossil fuels. Within a relatively dense urban area like Norwich, inefficient use of these precious resources has a negative impact. Improvements in technology in recent years have meant that there has been a real reduction in some atmospheric pollutants, but carbon dioxide (CO2) (which is the major greenhouse gas), levels of noise and the amount of land used for the movement and parking of vehicles continue to rise. Consequently the main Strategic Objective for Transport is to promote the well connected City (SOBJ6), but this needs to be matched by ensuring resources are used in a sustainable manner (SOBJ8).
11.5 If current trends continue, traffic levels in Norwich will increase by around 30% by 2016. The impact of this on the quality of life and the economy of the City would be significant. However, past rates of change do not limit what is achievable, because they reflect a time when the issue of greenhouse gases was not recognised. The changes in lifestyle resulting from more efficient and sustainable use of transport will have social benefits too, enabling the 30% of households without access to a car to enjoy much greater opportunity to access social, cultural and employment opportunities.
Main Issues Arising from Consultation
11.6 The consultation on the Issues in April 1999 threw up a wide range of matters relating to transportation. In addition these were followed up in consultation on the City Centre Transport Plan in Autumn 2000.
11.7 In responding on the issues, individuals and groups reflected a variety of concerns, both local and national. In listing those concerns here, we have highlighted those that have already been considered in the City Centre Transport Plan (CCTP). The main issues raised in the consultation were:
The National and Regional Context
11.8 In 1998, the Government published a white paper ‘A New Deal for Transport: Better for everyone’. This white paper has paved the way for significant changes in legislation and policy guidance. A number of ‘daughter documents’ have also been published, detailing changes in specific areas, including public transport, Trunk Roads and road user charging.
11.9 Planning Policy Guidance note 13 (PPG13) on Transport was published in March 2001, tying transport policy more closely with other national policy guidance. This PPG places particular emphasis on promoting developments which have minimal reliance on private motor transport and on encouraging walking, cycling and public transport in locations and for journeys where these are valid alternatives to the car. This leads to increased emphasis on urban regeneration and mixed-use development in government policy. This Plan closely follows the advice contained within the PPG.
11.10 The City’s significance as the regional capital means that high quality strategic links are vital. The relevant proposals in the government’s road trunk road improvement programme include the completion of the dualling of the A11 between Norwich and the A14 and enhancements to the A47, including some bypasses between Norwich and Peterborough. These enhanced strategic links will improve the attractiveness of the City, as a location for employment, services and leisure facilities, through enhanced accessibility.
11.11 Efficient road, public transport and cycle links to the County, together with air links the rest of the UK, Europe and beyond are essential to support and enhance the local economy and to counter perceptions of peripherality. Many of these strategic links are not under the control of the City Council, but the Council will continue to lobby and support other organisations to encourage speedy implementation. In particular the City Council will continue to support the early implementation of the strategic East-West rail link, improvements to the A11 and A47 (to the east and west of Norwich) and further development of Norwich Airport.
Norwich Airport Development
11.12 The airport has a particularly important role in the economy of the City as well as the Eastern Region, acting as a focus for significant employment expansion, and providing international transport links. In ‘The Future of Aviation’, the government’s consultation document on air transport policy, it is clear that the government expects that regional airports will have an increasing role in providing for the growth of air transport demand. In 1999 a study of airports in the South and East of England commenced. The outcome of the study sets the long term context for the future role and development of Norwich Airport. A brief or Area Action Plan will be prepared in order to reflect the government policy for the long-term development of the Airport. Since part of the Airport is in Broadland District, this Brief (or plan) will need to be approved by both planning authorities. It is also expected that increasing emphasis will be placed on access to airports by all modes of transport. Ensuring that Norwich Airport is easily accessible to all will enable the airport to build on its role and, as services expand, the need for local people to travel further afield by surface modes to access other airports will reduce.
[Relates to Resource objectives: Air (i) and (ii); Other Natural Resources (i); Sustainable Accessibility (i); Quality of Life (i) and (iv); Diverse and Competitive Economy (i), (ii) and (iii); Labour Market Resources (ii)]
11.13 The future pattern of development of Norwich Airport will have significant land use implications. The operational needs of the Airport and needs for other related development will be assessed in preparing the Brief (or plan) for the longer-term development of the Airport. It is important to ensure that its future operational efficiency is safeguarded to allow for development that needs to be accommodated. The Airport boundary is therefore shown on the Proposals Map and the land within it is reserved for that purpose together with such other development as is necessary to the Airport’s function. It is within this operational area (together with the equivalent area in Broadland) that the Airport is permitted to exercise its rights under Part 18 of the to wn and Country Planning General Permitted Development Order (1995). If development for non-operational purposes is sought, in particular for uses which may be related to the airport function, but not strictly part of the operational requirements of the airport, then these will have to be considered in relation to the long-term needs and proposals for Airport development.
Relationship with other Local Policies
The Norwich Area Transport Strategy
11.14 The Norwich Area Transportation Strategy (NATS) was reviewed in 2004 and is a joint strategy with Norfolk County Council, in discussion with Broadland and South Norfolk District Councils. The Strategy provides the detailed policy background to transport within the Norwich Area and the framework for the transportation investment programme detailed in the Local Transport Plan and its principles are reflected in Structure Plan transport policies for the Norwich area. The strategy seeks to cater for growth in travel demand, whilst maintaining or improving the quality of the built environment and supporting the economic growth of the area by accommodating the growth in demand for trips by means other than the private car.
11.15 The Local Transport Plan details transportation improvements that are proposed by the City and County Councils together with a programme of implementation. Whilst much of the programme involves improvements to existing infrastructure, new development will present additional opportunities to provide new links to help to improve the pedestrian and cycling environments, public transport, and provide opportunities for new occupiers to take advantage of the more sustainable modes of transport. Improvements to the major road network (including junction improvements) to enhance vehicle accessibility are an important part of this balanced strategy.
11.16 The City Council will continue to support the aims of the adopted NATS and will promote the strategy through opportunities brought about by new development, the investment programme of the Local Transport Plan, and other opportunities as they arise. NATS and the Local Transport Plan give considerable emphasis to measures to promote a shift of modal choice from the car to walking, cycling and public transport. This will include a variety of methods, primarily aimed at improving the attractiveness of those alternative modes. As regards the implications for development proposals, policy TRA3 sets out the range of measures which may be appropriate to achieve a modal shift, according to different circumstances, while policies TRA10 and TRA11 deal with what funding will be expected to be contributed according tothe size and nature of particular proposals. The investment in facilities and the general environment for pedestrians, cyclists and bus users will assist these objectives. Policies TRA13, TRA14, TRA15, TRA16 and TRA19 provide more details of the measures to be taken under policy TRA3. In addition the general location of development should reflect these principles, wherever possible, not just by providing for such modes of travel, but by positively making it easy to use them. Thus developers should consider positive measures to make accessibility on foot or to bus stops as easy as possible.
Reducing the need to travel – Norfolk Structure Plan
11.17 The Norfolk Structure Plan seeks to encourage development within urban areas and the larger market towns as locations that offer the best balance between housing, jobs and services locally. The City Council supports this approach, but even within the urban area of Norwich, accessibility to various services varies considerably. The City Council will encourage higher density developments on sites, which have good access to a wide range of services and modes of transport. To help facilitate this, the Council anticipates that low levels of car parking will be provided on highly accessible sites and that developers, employers and residents will actively seek transport solutions to reduce the need both to own and to use private cars. A prime advantage of this approach is that it promotes access to the goods and services that people need, without the requirement for extensive travel.
11.18 Within the urban area, there are a number of locations that need to be accessible to large numbers of people. The City Centre provides a sub-regional focus for cultural and shopping activity, as well as being a major employment centre (see Chapters 5, 7 and 9), whilst the area around the University of East Anglia is becoming a major centre for education, technology, health and recreation. Norwich Airport is expected to expand its services, reducing the need to travel to international airports elsewhere in the country. Although outside the City Council boundary, new developments at Broadland Business Park also raise similar demands. Each of these locations will generate significant amounts of new journeys. These four centres in particular, therefore, need to be seen as major focal points for cycling and pedestrian routes from the most local areas, and for high quality public transport interchange facilities with fully integrated services from around the County under policy TRA16. This approach is fully consistent with PPG11, which states that “public transport accessibility criteria for sub-regionally significant levels or types of development” will be set out in development plans. Such an approach will make it much easier for businesses and organisations located in those areas to promote green transport solutions and the City Council will seek partnership arrangements to encourage such solutions.
11.19 The County Council has undertaken a study of the Southwest Sector of the Norwich area, to deal with the implications of development at UEA, Norwich Research Park and the new Norfolk and Norwich Hospital. It has developed measures to deal with the increasing volumes of traffic in the area, and new proposals for access to the Hospital and Research Park. The City Council will press for the County Council to carry out similar studies in relation to access to the Airport, once the national policies for airport development are clarified. The Council will work with organisations in these areas and in the City Centre to facilitate changes, which improve accessibility and enable modal choice.
New Development and Transport
11.20 No matter how well located, all developments have a transport impact, and it has been increasingly accepted in government guidance that the consequences of developments should be addressed by the development itself and not fall to the general taxpayer. For many years the City Council has required developers to pay the full cost of improvements to the highway network adjacent, as well as all works within the site, which are required as a direct consequence of the development itself. Examples include new road junctions, pedestrian crossings and links to the cycle network.
Designing New Development
11.21 Well located and designed developments, with appropriate links to local services and public transport can reduce overall levels of travel, where journeys to and from the site replace existing journeys which are less sustainable. In most cases, however, there will be additional journeys associated with development proposals and these have to be safely accommodated on the highway network. To minimise the impact, the City Council will look to developers to maximise the potential benefits from new pedestrian and cycle links through their sites, together with facilities for access to public transport.
11.22 It is part of the NATS strategy that increase in travel demand within the City should be met by means other than the private car, so that there is no increase in traffic levels within the City. It is, therefore, necessary to ensure that there is no net increase in vehicular traffic as a consequence of any new development. The City Council will, therefore, expect developers to look seriously at including off site works which promote walking, cycling and public transport use in their development proposals, as well as ensuring that vehicular access is safe and appropriate in design. Additionally they will be expected to contribute directly to the overall transport programme in the City in proportion to the scale and type of the development proposed (see policy TRA11).
11.23 Design and layout significantly affects the way that people respond to the environment around them. To minimise the adverse effects of new development it is important that they are designed with the needs of all users of the site in mind. In much of the City and within many new developments the street is not only there to provide opportunities for movement to and within the site, but is often the principle public space which provides a setting and general amenity for the development. With this in mind, the Council will encourage developers to adopt a ‘Streets for People’ approach, whereby appropriate levels of vehicular movement are accommodated but do not dominate. Developers will be expected to adopt this approach not only within the adoptable highway, but also within the public spaces that provide the setting for the development. It will be considered further in Supplementary Planning Guidance on design issues (see policy HBE 12).
Social Exclusion and Special Needs
11.24 Many sections of the community do not have full access to facilities owing to a lack of personal mobility. This is true of many people within the City who do not have access to a car, and additionally, those whose mobility is restricted by disability, as a consequence of old age, or the need to carry heavy shopping or use a pushchair. For these groups, the opportunity to walk and cycle is limited, and public transport can be inaccessible. There is still a need to take particular account of the needs of those who are, or would be excluded from activities or services that are taken for granted by most people, and this is a key element of the NATS strategy. In addition public transport accessibility will be promoted through the concessionary bus fares scheme.
Parking Provision in New Development
11.25 Proper provision for necessary vehicle movement and parking will be required. The Council will ensure that adequate space is available for vehicles to manoeuvre safely and at an appropriate speed. In accordance with the guidance in PPG13 and Structure Plan policies T3 and N10, maximum parking standards are contained in the schedule to Appendix 4. In addition, to ensure that full provision for cycle parking is available to meet the targets for travel by bicycle minimum standards for cycle parking are also provided. To minimise private vehicle movement within the City, further reductions in the level of car parking may be permitted, where this is consistent with the location and accessibility of the site.
Provision for Servicing
11.26 Servicing is also an essential element of all developments, and service vehicles need space to wait, whilst undertaking necessary operations on the site. The precise requirements will obviously depend on the nature of the development, its scale and location, and the likely needs of the occupier.
Car Free Housing
11.27 Car free housing is designed to give residents a pleasant living environment, without intrusion from motor vehicles, except where these are needed for direct servicing of the estate. Living in a car free area is a positive lifestyle choice, and does not mean that residents’ cars are parked on the periphery of the estate, or in nearby side streets. Car free developments have the advantage that nearly all the space that would have been used for vehicle movement and parking can be used for a more productive purpose, to improve the quality of life of residents. Building ‘car free’ may also be the solution on some difficult brownfield sites, where restricted access would otherwise preventdevelopment. It is important to ensure that such an approach can be demonstrated and tested in order to encourage a range of developments of this type to come forward. The most accessible site for non-car users is the Bus Station site. Therefore policy CC10 requires car free development to be designed on that site (or to limit cars to car club users only).
11.28 Car clubs are relatively new to the UK, with only a few small schemes in operation (at summer 2004). Whether run by a non profit-making organisation, or as a commercial scheme, the club offers members a choice of well-maintained vehicles, which is much cheaper for many people than running a private car, and is more flexible too, as a chosen vehicle is more suited to a particular journey. Experience on the continent has shown that drivers who give up their cars in favour of a car club reduce the distance that they drive by 65%, as they will use other modes of transport more frequently. On the other hand, car clubs have the advantage that people who would not normally own a car can also obtain easy access to a vehicle, when needed. The setting up of car clubs within new developments will be encouraged as part of a wider strategy to reduce car dependency, and within existing residential areas where the local community is supportive. Following a successful bid to the European Union under the CIVITAS initiative, the Council is anticipating that a car club will soon be operational within Norwich. Developers will be encouraged to participate in the expansion of this scheme.
Design and Transport Requirements beyond Development Site Boundaries
11.29 The implications of new development on the highway system will clearly be important in assessing whether improvements need to be made. With much increased emphasis being placed on the need to ensure that new development is highly accessible to non-car based users, much needs to be done across the City to improve the facilities available. It is reasonable to expect new developments to contribute towards transport infrastructure improvements and be designed in such a way as to minimise the impact that they have on existing infrastructure and the environment. Policy TRA10 is concerned to ensure that adequate vehicular and non-vehicular access is achieved to development sites and relates to measures (which may be within or near the site) required to make the site physically accessible to all appropriate modes of transport. Policy TRA11 provides for contributions (either financial or in kind) towards enhancements beyond the development site. Other policies within this chapter (notably some sections of policies TRA3, TRA15, TRA16 and TRA25) give guidance as to how this contribution may be used in relation to off site works. In this context, the vehicle generation of any proposed development should be assessed and reduced as far as practicable, thus minimising the need for major highway works to be constructed.
11.30 All significant new developments throughout the City will therefore be expected to make some contribution to general transport improvements, and the additional revenue raised will be used to enhance the existing transport programme within the City and the Park and Ride programme. Payments will relate to the overall scale and type of development, and the trip generation of the site. This is so that developments are not subject to a perverse inducement to locate in less accessible locations and, where developments are able to locate in those less accessible areas, that they make additional contributions that help to counteract the additional car journeys that they would generate.
11.31 The Council recognises that any such contributions need to relate to the scale and type of development, in order that they are proportional, in that developers should only be expected to support that element of the overall transport programme that is needed to address the consequences of the development itself. Additionally, experience has shown that it is to the benefit of both the Council and the developer, if the scale of contributions expected is clear from the start and simple to calculate. Appendix 4 contains details of the threshold levels at which policy TRA11 will apply and Supplementary Planning Guidance is available, which sets out the details of how the policy will be applied and any contribution used. Negotiations relating to contributions towards transportation infrastructure will take account of the principles set out in Circular 1/97.
11.32 Travel Plans are a package of initiatives introduced by a business or organisation to reduce car use. They can incorporate measures to address different transport needs, including:
11.33 Travel Plans are an important element of an integrated transport policy. Providing alternatives to the car is only one element of a strategy, and cannot be successful unless individuals and organisations play their part in disseminating information, and encouraging change. Travel Plans have been shown to have significant benefits for employers and employees, reducing costs, and improving well being. All government departments are required to have Travel Plans, and both the City and the County Council have introduced them, along with other major employees within the City.
11.34 Such plans will also have a major part to play in accommodating the transport needs of new developments, and will, therefore, be an integral part of any development proposal with significant transport impact. In accordance with government policy, the City Council will expect all major new developments, and expansion of existing sites to be supported by a travel plan. This will include offices, factories, leisure uses, health and education. Housing developers will be expected to ensure that a choice of transport modes is available from their developments (under policy HOU7).
Improving Transport Infrastructure
11.35 A fully integrated transport system means that it is easy to choose the best form of transport for each part of a journey, and easy to make the transition between one form of transport and another. A simple example is the Park and Ride system, which integrates the use of private cars for the rural part of a journey with public transport within the urban area. Although this chapter looks at individual modes of transport in turn, a key element of transport policy is to ensure that it is easy to switch between different modes of transport. Such an approach works on many levels: ensuring that pedestrian access to local bus stops is of high quality, or that easy access is available between the bus or car and train and between rural and urban public transport services. Many facilities that make a fully integrated transport system a reality are not within the control of the Council, and it is important therefore that all local Councils, transport service providers, businesses and developers work together to bring about changes which will make such a system a reality.
11.36 An integrated transport system can only work effectively if all modes of transport have adequate resources, and in any case many journeys will continue to rely principally on a single form of transport. It is therefore important that, whichever mode of transport is chosen, facilities are adequately resourced and are of good quality. As the City is already largely built up, and land resources in particular are limited, it is important that the allocation of resources is balanced such that all road users have reasonable and safe access to the services they need. Particular priority needs to be given to modes of transport that have minimal effect on the local and global environment. In some locations this will mean changing the current balance to advantage one mode of transport over another.
Travel on Foot
11.37 Walking is the most common form of transport, and the pedestrian environment not only provides for travel on foot, it is also often a social environment. There are extensive pedestrian facilities across the City, but these could be of much better quality and, in some locations, desirable pedestrian links are missing which make a potentially short journey on foot a longer car journey instead. Pedestrians are also vulnerable, and the pedestrian environment is intruded upon by inappropriate use by other road users. Pavements are often used as car parking areas or cycle routes and walking close to high-speed traffic is uncomfortable. For all but the very shortest journeys, there is a need to cross roads, where there is significant potential for conflict with vehicular traffic. All these factors increase the perception that the pedestrian environment is unsafe. This discourages people from walking, thus increasing reliance on the car, or limiting people’s mobility.
11.38 The Council will also continue to support enforcement initiatives to reduce the inappropriate use of footways, as well as encouraging walking through the implementation of programmes such as ‘Safer and Healthier Routes to School’, and Travel Plans. The Council will also continue with its programmes of improving pedestrian crossing facilities, widening pavements, and extending the extent of pedestrian priority areas, as well as targeted ‘Transport Action Plans’ including traffic calming measures in residential areas.
Travel by Cycle
11.39 Cycling is a highly flexible form of transport for short to medium length journeys and, whilst significant improvements have been made in local areas, the cycling environment varies considerably across the City. As cycling is particularly appropriate for medium length journeys, it is important that a coherent network of cycle routes is available across the urban area, and beyond. This will help not only to promote cycling as a healthy, efficient and environmentally friendly form of transport, but also reduce conflict between cyclists and other road users. The Strategic Cycle Network provides the base for the remaining initiatives. This network includes a section of the national cycle network, which will be diverted from the current route via Bracondale to the east of the City Centre along the river to Whitlingham as opportunities occur. The strategic cycle network is shown on the Proposals Map, though some of it remains as proposed routes, where there is an intention to develop them in future but no route exists yet on the ground. The provision of such proposed sections will be achieved either as development brings forward the sites involved on the routes, or when money becomes available for such provision to enhance routes to serve development in the vicinity.
11.40 The strategic cycle network is not, however, the only improvement that the Council intends to promote. As a general principle, cycling should be accommodated on road, by the management of vehicle speed, and maximising safety. The Council is implementing a targeted approach to traffic management, and one of the primary aims of these schemes is to enhance the cycling environment across the City. Policy TRA25 covers the implications of this strategy for development.
11.41 The Council will also support initiatives, which encourage cycling as part of the solution to transport needs, such as ‘safe routes to school’, ‘Travel Plans’ and the use of bus lanes by cyclists.
Travel by Public Transport
11.42 Although many public transport facilities have improved in the City in recent years, there is still a great deal to be done to ensure that the public transport system is efficient, reliable, and frequent and that it offers an attractive alternative to the car. A quality public transport system is essential to the economy and environment of a modern City and to achieving the objectives of this Plan and, for a significant majority of people, improving public transport is a major priority. The City Council is not a provider of public transport services and the County Council has responsibility for their co-ordination. Nevertheless, through working in partnership with other organisations, and by progressing infrastructure improvements within the City, the Council does have a significant role to play. Issues relating to the redevelopment of the bus station site are specifically covered in Policy CC10.
11.43 The City Council will also support local rail partnerships to improve the rail services to the City and continue working with the County Council to encourage the improvement of public transport information and the implementation of Quality Bus Partnerships.
Light Rail Transit and other guided systems
11.44 The City Council recognises that there is considerable public support for the re-introduction of trams or a similar guided transit system. The Council would support moves to introduce a light rail transit system within the Norwich Area should realistic opportunities for funding appropriate feasibility studies and implementation become available. The viability of any Light Rail system will be reviewed through the Norwich Area Transportation Strategy and the Regional Transport Strategy could progress this issue further. It would be the County Council, as the Transport Authority who would take the lead in initiating and progressing any proposal. As there are no proposals at the current time, there is no opportunity to safeguard any land or routes for such a system, and there are therefore no policies contained within this plan.
Freight and Servicing Infrastructure
11.45 The movement of freight is essential to the economic well being of the City. Goods need to be moved in and out of the area, but this can have significant adverse effects, particularly in historic or residential areas. The flexibility of road based freight movement, and the need to service premises across the city will mean that road based freight services are likely to continue to dominate in the Norwich area. The City Council, in partnership with the County Council and the Road Freight industry will investigate the potential for Quality Freight Partnerships within the Norwich area.
11.46 This does not, of course, mean that alternatives, such as rail and water based freight movement, should not play a significant part. Development of the Port at Yarmouth may increase the potential for freight movement by river. There would be a need, however, for a new turning basin to be defined to the East of Carrow Bridge. Opportunities may arise at the Deal Ground site or at the former Power Station site, which are both close to the confluence of the Yare and Wensum Rivers.
11.47 Development of the Deal Ground site (see policy EMP9) provides for a rail freight transfer depot to be included, and this is expected to be additional to the existing facility at Riverside. It is also important that other opportunities to maximise the potential for road/rail transfer or direct rail delivery are recognised.
11.48 The opportunity for Quality Freight Partnerships in these areas will also be investigated in association with the County Council.
Travel by Car
11.49 Even with significantly improved pedestrian and cycle environments and public transport, travel by car will still be essential for many journeys. The overall aim of the transportation strategy is to reduce the amount of travel by car, with a consequential reduction in congestion, but this does not mean that facilities for car drivers cannot be improved in quality. Most roads within the City are not designed for high levels of traffic movement and many of those that are pass through residential areas. The Council believes, however, that most car journeys should be on those roads (the major road network) which are designed to take significant vehicular flows and which can provide a quality driving environment, whilst minimising the impact of traffic in other areas. In order to support this function, new access to the major road network will be restricted, wherever possible, and junction and other improvements on these routes will form part of wider transport infrastructure improvements.
11.50 Car drivers from beyond the City boundaries will also have the benefit of improving park and ride services. There are at present 6 park and ride sites – at the Airport, Postwick, Harford, Sprowston, Costessey and Cringleford (open March 2005). The remaining proposed site at, Trowse is programmed for development in the next 5 years. The Airport site, being the only one in the City boundary, is protected under this plan, although there have been suggestions that it may be moved to an alternative site to allow for further Airport parking to beprovided. The policy TRA19 takes account of this possibility. With increasing integration of public transport services, fewer drivers will need to enter the urban area, and the need for long stay parking, particularly within the City Centre will decrease. This will allow more effective use of existing parking areas, either for short/ medium stay use, or redevelopment. The Park and Ride programme is a priority for the Transport strategies outlined in NATS and the Local Transport Plan. This includes the development of further sites, and associated bus priority measures
11.51 Public long stay parking for City Centre uses will increasingly be met through provision at Park and Ride sites. Public off street spaces within the City Centre will not therefore be increased over 1995 levels (10,002 spaces including those committed at that date at Riverside and those at Brazengate, both now considered within the City Centre), whilst tariffs will increasingly favour short or medium stay use. Additional long stay parking provision will not be permitted within the centre, and new short or medium stay provision will only be permitted, even as part of development proposals, where this represents a rationalisation and replacement of existing provision. The policy TRA 21 derives directly from NATS assessments of transport strategy for the City Centre and will therefore be considered as part of the current review of NATS.
[Relates to Resource Objectives: Land Resources (ii); Air (i) and (ii); Other Natural Resources (i); Quality of Life (iii); Sustainable Accessibility (i); Identity (ii); Diverse and Competitive Economy (i)]
A Quality Environment for Drivers
11.52 Adequate information is important to reduce wasted journey time. Concentrating on principle routes for vehicular movement means that information on routes, and the availability of parking can be provided easily, and helps drivers make informed choices. Over the plan period, the Council anticipates that a variable message sign system (VMS) will be installed within the City Centre to provide information on the availability of parking spaces. In time, this will be extended to incorporate Park and Ride and other driver information.
11.53 The Council is also committed to ensuring that high quality car parking facilities are available, and will continue to promote enhancements to public car parks to ensure that they are safe, secure and pleasant to use with good information available for visitors. In partnership with other car park operators and the County Council, the City Council will seek to install variable message signing and information systems to help drivers make best use of facilities available and reduce wasted journey time. Any new public car parking facility will be expected to participate in the scheme
Provision for Alternative Fuels
11.54 Vehicles that use fuels, which have less impact on the environment than petrol and diesel, are likely to become increasingly common, as technology advances and such fuels becomes less expensive. The City Council is obviously not in a position to influence the introduction of such vehicles, but changes in public infrastructure may be required to enable them to be used.
Streets For People
Improving Transport and the Environment in the City Centre
11.55 Government policy now places much greater emphasis on the role of town centres, and the pressure of traffic on the City Centre of Norwich is likely to rise. It is therefore important that the City responds to this pressure, and that solutions are found to accommodate the need for increasing trips to and from the City centre, whilst maintaining and, preferably, enhancing the City’s unique character. The City and County Councils have prepared a strategy for the City centre, which has been subject to extensive public consultation and the Norwich Highways Agency Committee has now adopted the principles. The strategy is based on practical considerations of all transport users and extensive public research to ensure that the strategy reflects the desires and needs of the local population. It is needed not only to address the increasing pressure on the City centre, but also the decision not to progress with the completion of the Inner Ring Road. Further traffic management measures, which may include the exclusion of extraneous through traffic from the City centre, will be considered following implementation of the first five years of the programme
Improving Transport and the Environment in the Outer areas of Norwich
11.56 Since 1989, the City Council has had a programme of environmental improvement works in the outer area of the City, based on the principle of addressing transport needs and the consequences of vehicular traffic on an area-by-area basis. In common with many other transport projects, implementation of the schemes has not been as quick as was originally envisaged, but the concept has been popular and the demand for environmental traffic management schemes, particularly in residential areas, is high. The programme and approach is continually reviewed to take greater account of the needs and desires of local communities and the strategic needs of the population of the City as a whole.
11.57 Priorities for allocating resources to the transport action plans will be determined by the Council based on a weighting system, and will be kept under review. Where developer contributions are obtained, they will be used as part of an enhanced programme within that area, where the timing of the Action Plan allows. In circumstances where an Action Plan is unlikely to be implemented within a period of 5 years, agreed enhancements close to the site will implemented.
Controlled Parking Zones
11.58 With the completion of the City Centre Controlled Parking Zone in 2000-2001, the central parts of the City, including a high proportion of the inner suburbs now have up to date on street parking management, with the benefit of Residents Permit Parking in most areas (Figure 11.2 shows the areas covered at present, though this will be reviewed). The City Council has undertaken the enforcement of on street parking controls since February 2002 and this should ensure that existing on street provision benefits those who need it most, in particular local residents and businesses. Historically pressure on street facilities, particularly in or near the City centre, has been significantly in excess of the available supply and this has led to difficulties for businesses needing to service business premises and for residents who legitimately wish to park close to their homes.
11.59 The City Council will continue to review the extent and scope of the controlled parking zones within the urban area primarily considering the safety and mobility of all road users, taking account of the priorities of the Norwich Area Transportation Strategy, with remaining available on street kerbside space allocated according to the following hierarchy:
Paying for Transport Improvements
11.60 Developers will be expected to contribute towards the cost of transport infrastructure improvements within the City under policies TRA10 and TRA11. Further details are contained within the section of this chapter relating to new developments and in Appendix 4. Supplementary Planning Guidance has been produced and will be kept up to date. However, such contributions only form a part of the overall investment in transport infrastructure within the City.
11.61 The Local Transport Plan provides the major part of transport investment. By arrangement, the City Council submits bids to the County Council for transport infrastructure improvements, which are assessed in the light of the County’s own priorities, and anticipated levels of funding to produce the Local Transport Plan. It is this Local Transport Plan, produced by the County Council that acts as the basis for obtaining the majority of public funding for improvements within the City and elsewhere in the County.
11.62 Some funding is, however, achieved through charging for on street parking within the City Centre and the Council has taken over enforcement of parking controls from the Police. Income from either the charges or enforcement must be used as additional funding to improve transport within the Norwich area.
11.63 It is possible, through agreement and partnership with other agencies and organisations to achieve greater investment than can be achieved using only these resources. The Council will continue to work in partnership in this way to maximise the effectiveness of both public investment, and contributions received from developers.
Streetscape and Visual Quality
11.64 Streets and road within the City provide not only the means of moving from one place to another, but also form a large proportion of the public spaces within the City. Sensitive use of appropriate materials for the construction of these areas, careful lighting and signing, together with careful management, improves the quality of the public realm. The proposed Urban Design Guide will include details relating to these issues.
11.65 The range of materials, which can be used for the construction of roads, footways and pedestrian areas, has increased dramatically over recent years, but many of these new materials do not suit the special character of the City. A limited range of materials that is sufficiently flexible to reflect the individual character of specific streets and places will be used to ensure that the quality of the public realm can be maintained.
Signing and Lining
11.66 Traffic signs and lines on the carriageway have a significant impact on the street scene. The Council has to work within the law with respect to street signing, but much can, and has been done to minimise the intrusion of traffic signing.
11.67 Lighting can significantly affect the safety and appearance of transport infrastructure as well as being important for the quality of the built environment. Policy HBE16 covers these important issues and should be referred to by developers.