Presentations to Vale Scrutiny Committee 14 Sept 2017

Rod Harrod’s Presentation

Good evening. I’m Rod Harrod.

You have before you three options from ARCADIS Consulting which are proposed for further investigation in Stage 2 of this WelTAG Study.

Some may wonder why the Multi-Modal option doesn’t include a by-pass. That’s simple!  Because ARCADIS claim at Page 19 of their report it would

combine to create a high cost option and may potentially detract from the rail investment elements of the package by improving car journey times.

In other words, without the by-pass this option would not improve journey times or reduce congestion through Dinas Powys.  But wasn’t that the objective?

In any case, the extra passenger benefit from rail investment would be constrained for Dinas Powys stations by inadequate platform lengths and little land available for car parking.

Fact: 78% of commuters in Dinas Powys use a car, van or motorcycle to get to work.  Just 22% combined use bus, train, cycle or walk.

Of Course non-car travel options are desirable. But that doesn’t mean they’ll magically work regardless of increasing traffic congestion.  Build 4,000 homes at Barry Waterfront, 450 in Dinas Powys and over 1,500 in adjoining settlements without improving the highway infrastructure and something has to give.

That’s what’s happening on the A4055 right now.  Not in five, ten or 20 years time, but now, on a daily basis.  By-passes have been built around every other settlement on the Vale’s strategic highway corridors, except Dinas Powys.

A by-pass would benefit residents throughout the Vale. A by-pass could easily include park and ride facilities, cycle paths and walkways.  But the report doesn’t examine these possibilities.  It could also improve access between communities along its path.  Instead, individual options have been lumped together to form an ineffective Multi-Modal. The By-Pass is left to stand – and potentially fail – on its own.  Was this intended?

Finally, Page 19 of the report also refers to a single route for the southern part of a by-pass.  But alternative routes are possible and may offer greater benefits if considered at the outset of Stage 2.

In summation the Do-Minimum is no solution. The Multi-Modal would be ineffective unless traffic congestion is first reduced and yes, the by-pass could be improved by adding sustainable elements like a park and ride facility, cycle-tracks and walkways.

Surely the objective is to find a long term solution to the problem for the public rather than pandering to any provider or niche interest.

Roger Pattenden’s Presentation

Good evening.  I’m Roger Pattenden.

I don’t see how the three options shortlisted in Arcadis’ report can be compared.  They really are unequal.  Only the by-pass could significantly reduce traffic congestion and improve vehicle journey times including for buses.  Without a by-pass, there’s insufficient long-term economic, employment, social and environmental benefit.

The majority of respondents at a public consultation on 13th March stressed the need for a by-pass and requested weight and speed restrictions on the A4055 through Dinas Powys.  They drew attention to the Juggernauts and HGVs that pollute and endanger the lives of children at the local Junior School on this road.  But Arcadis haven’t noted that such restrictions aren’t possible while the road remains an ‘A’ Road.  However, a by-pass could become the ‘A’ road, turning the Cardiff Road through Dinas Powys into a ‘B’ Road with restrictions.

The report doesn’t mention other road infrastructure works around Wales that have been justified.  Schemes like the Newtown By-pass, the Caernarfon to Bontnewydd By-pass, the new stretch of A4232 to Cardiff docks and the planned 4km Five Mile Lane near Barry.

Arcadis refer to a Review Group, created by officials to oversee and guide the study work.  It currently includes representatives of rail, bus, cycling and walking interests who clearly support their own modes of travel.  But 78% of local commuters who travel by car or van are not yet represented on the Group.

It’s accepted that any option must include increasing the capacity of the critical Merrie Harrier junction which is otherwise predicted to become 400% over capacity by 2026.

Another proposal I hope will be considered and evaluated in Stage 2 is safety improvements on the route through Dinas Powys old village along Pen-y-Turnpike to Leckwith.  Two weeks ago, there was a three car pile-up on this narrow road, along which a daily rat-run has developed.

I fear that the current short-list for Stage 2 may not allow investigation of combinations of a by-pass with sustainable travel improvements.

To identify the most effective solutions to the present transport problems from which the preferred option for Stage 3 could be chosen, maybe it would be possible for the Committee to request Cabinet to review the scope of Stage 2 to cover investigation of the various proposals and combinations mentioned.

I hope what I’ve said will be of help to the Committee.

Cllr Rob Crowley’s Presentation

Good evening fellow Councillors.

I’d like to express concern at the way the options in this report have been scored to reach the shortlist under scrutiny tonight.

Each of the long list of options is scored against 5 objectives using a scoring system that goes from largely beneficial down to largely adverse.  But the scores applied to all options except the by-pass seem to be optimistically good and are perhaps based more on hope than hard fact.  Conversely, scores for the by-pass option appear pessimistic.

For example, the enhanced bus services option is rated as slightly-to-moderately good.  But this is at odds with statements also within the ARCADIS document that journey times will be dependent on the limitations of the existing road network. They say an investment step change for infrastructure is required to allow better journey times.  Presumably that means a by-pass?  If buses are stuck in traffic jams how can this option be rated as good?

Another major variable is the way the report deals in the scoring with the by-pass and the multi-modal options both of which would include an improved capacity Merrie Harrier junction.  The multi modal option receives a high score for economic growth but the by-pass option gets a lower score despite it offering less traffic congestion.

If you wish, I could read similar examples for the other options or you can read them on this sheet.  (See comments below) Which would you prefer?

This inconsistent scoring of the options could give the reader a false view of the relative merits of each option.  In particular, it could appear that the multi-modal option, which could not significantly reduce traffic congestion, is better than the by-pass option which could improve journey times and reduce pollution from stop-start traffic.

For the economic, environmental, social and business future of the Eastern Vale, different combinations of proposals must surely be properly considered in Stage 2.

Colleagues, it’s time to grasp this nettle and sort this problem out, not just for the immediate future but for our children, grandchildren and generations to come.  I’m sorry, but anyone who thinks otherwise is deluding themselves and their electorate.

Comments on the scoring of individual options in Arcadis’ Stage 1 Report

  • First, the Do-Minimum Option. Page 7 says this option would result in ‘Deterioration of the Cardiff Road corridor …. increased journey time and anticipate worsening of highway junction capacity.’ Our Council’s own HIA lists all main junctions in the corridor in the top 10 of the Vale’s over-capacity junctions in 2012 and predicts worse by 2026.  But Arcadis rate this option as only slightly adverse.
  • For Enhanced Rail Services, page 9 says that Dinas Powys station platforms have ‘insufficient length to accommodate additional carriages’. So a limit on train capacity and park and ride problems at the stations would restrict increased train usage.  Nevertheless, Arcadis rate this option as slightly or moderately beneficial.
  • For Enhanced Bus Services, I have mentioned how the report rates this option as slightly or moderately beneficial and yet statements in it admit that the benefits can’t be realised while there is bad traffic congestion.
  • For On-Line Highway Improvements, page 14 says that ‘modifications to key local junctions’ will ‘improve capacity and traffic flow’ and would ‘improve upon existing journey times’. But how could this work on the Cardiff Road when the currently over-capacity junction at the Murch Road traffic lights, is constrained on all sides by existing buildings and a Junior School?  Surprisingly, this option is scored as slightly to moderately beneficial against connectivity and economic growth objectives.
  • The Multi-Modal option is a collection of individual options except the by-pass. But the scores for each of its components seem over optimistic and the same applies when they are combined.  For economic growth, no individual component scores better than slightly beneficial.  But somehow their combination into the multi-modal option makes the score jump to largely beneficial with the claim that it would improve journey times even though traffic congestion has not been significantly reduced.

Community Cllr Edward Jenkins also addressed the Committee.

He explained that, before retirement, he’d headed one of the largest transport companies in Wales.  The company had grown from its original base as Hills Transport of Dinas Powys and he’s lived in the village all his life.  This put him in an informed position on the traffic situation in the village.  He also now lives in Mill Road and witnesses the daily increasing rat-run of traffic through the old village, using the route through Penny-Turnpike to Leckwith, to avoid the grid lock on the A4055 Cardiff to Barry Road.

Cllr Jenkins added that he’d met with a local architect who showed him numerous plans and documents drawn up for a by-pass under discussion between the 2000 and 2008 period.  The grouping involved in these discussions included former Penarth and Cardiff South MP Alun Michael, Jane Hutt A.M. and a group of representatives of senior local authority Officers together with people from Persimmon Construction.


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