August 03, 2007

Campus Expansion

I’ve just sent this off to Coventry Council’s planning office. The closing date for the consultation is end of office hours today.

Dear Mr. Reid

University of Warwick. Campus Expansion. Ref: 54044

The proposed expansion of teaching and research at Warwick University is to be welcomed. What is unwelcome is the proposed 9% increase in car parking. Although this is a smaller proportion than the proposed increase in staff numbers, it will nevertheless mean that the university will have 7% more parking than recommended by the Government’s Planning Policy Guidance 13 (University of Warwick Main Campus Masterplan Transport Assessment June 2007). Traffic levels are expected to increase by 12%.

The roads around the university are already blocked at peak periods. Road development in the greenbelt between Kenilworth and Coventry is undesirable, as is the contribution of this additional traffic to global greenhouse gas emissions and to congestion elsewhere.

Necessity is the mother of invention. Surely if the university were not allowed any more car parking, staff and students would find ways of doing their business which didn’t involve such wanton use of scarce resources as single occupancy car travel. Not only are there the alternative transport options of walking, cycling, car sharing and bus use, but in this age of advanced telecommunications many of the tasks performed by administrators, researchers and students can be easily performed off campus. Perhaps lectures and seminars could also be performed in “virtual reality”.

Yours sincerely

George Riches

The University of Warwick Main Campus Masterplan Transport Assessment can be found here

- 2 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Scott Redding

    Whilst my wife works on campus, I was only able to read the “flood risk assessment” portion of the documents on display in University House the last time I picked her up. Did the plans call for any improvements in cycle infrastructure? By the way, what are your thoughts about the Hearsall Common bike lane/bus lane plans?

    08 Aug 2007, 15:20

  2. From the Transport Assessment

    10.3.2 Proposals to Improve Provision for Pedestrians and Cyclists

    For movement within the University, the great majority of trips will continue to be made on foot or by bicycle and this will also be true for the more local trips off-campus. It is therefore essential that a strong on-site footway/cycleway network with connections to external routes is further developed.

    In respect of pedestrian movements a comprehensive network of footways exists on Central Campus East with links to the Westwood and Gibbet Hill sites. In addition Library Road will become a high quality pedestrian friendly environment available for cyclists which in the longer term can be shared with the Bus Rapid Transit route. A proposed network of footways and cycleways is shown for Central Campus. See Drawing No. 6. This network compliments the proposed improved crossings on Gibbet Hill Road.

    With regard to cycleways a good start has been made with the creation of cycleways linking Central Campus to Westwood, Gibbet Hill and the Cannon Park Shopping Centre. These links will be developed to create a new footways/cycleway network that is carefully integrated with the landscape within the Central Campus West and will connect the residential, social and academic facilities across both Central Campus West and East to create a comprehensive network.

    The University supports the development of the National Cycle Network route to Kenilworth which is being promoted by Sustrans and has agreed in principle to a permissive route across University land. The University will also make a financial contribution to the development of this route.

    Cycle parking provision sufficient to meet demand will continue to be provided at individual destination buildings and the University will provide cycle parking at new residential accommodation at the rate of 1 space per 4 student beds.

    The University will give considerations to the management of pedestrian/cycle/vehicle conflicts on the internal highway network and provide appropriate measures to enhance sustainable transport provision and create a high quality transport environment that meets the future needs of the University.

    The University’s aspirations in this respect are evidenced by the approach adopted in developing the shared use link from University Road to University House and on to Millburn Hill Road.

    The University is committed to providing student residential accommodation on or close to the Campus so that trips can be made by foot or bike. To this end the Masterplan will increase the proportion of students resident on Campus.

    The University will work with outside businesses with the aim of having a cycle repair centre located on Campus.

    I’m of the opinion that the provision of cycle specific civil engineering infrastructure on its own doesn’t have a large impact on the level of cycle use. I think what’s more critical is the relative convenience of cycle travel compared to the alternatives.

    I haven’t seen the details of the Hearsall Common bike lane/bus lane. I’m not on the mailing list. The bus gates on Binley Road (outbound just before the Hipswell Highway junction) and on The Butts (just before the Albany Road junction) are not very cycle friendly.

    08 Aug 2007, 21:43

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