The Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure has proactively provided several traffic reduction solutions for the potential Pointues Rocques development, in a new approach to improving travel infrastructure in the island.
A new housing development at Pointues Rocques has been simmering away for years. Most recently an application was turned down by the Development and Planning Authority because of traffic concerns.
A revised application has now been submitted and it includes a briefing note from E&I outlining a series of opportunities for reducing congestion and promoting active travel.
It includes options to turn the Robergerie and Rue des Pointues Rocques into prohibited streets, diverting bus routes along Route St Clair, introducing safe walking routes to the Bridge and supporting a mobility plan.
E&I said it will support the introduction of these measures if the planning application is successful.
Pictured: One of the options for a potential prohibited streets system.
The President of E&I, Deputy Lindsay de Sausmarez, explains this new approach to large developments:
“Transport is always one of the flashpoints when it comes to planning applications for new housing developments, and understandably so: any increase in vehicle density, especially in areas that already struggle with the volume of traffic using its road network and the tensions that creates in terms of safety, the viability of other options, noise and air quality, is going to exacerbate existing issues for residents,” she said.
“Given our pressing need for housing, though, this is a gordian knot we urgently need to cut. We need to find ways not just to reduce the negative traffic impact of new housing developments but to actually improve travel options and the safety and efficiency of the system for everyone, current and future residents alike.
“That is why we are taking a new approach. The planning system is limited (for good reason) in terms of what it can require developers to do to improve the surrounding transport network, but as a result, traffic impacts from successive developments have accumulated over the past few decades.”
Pictured: Deputy de Sausmarez said: “As the committee with the mandate for housing, infrastructure and transport, we are taking a bigger picture approach to joining up these dots.”
Deputy de Sausmarez continued: “We do not want to interfere with the DPA’s role with respect to planning applications and therefore have not sought to influence their decision either way, but we have written to them to explain that if the Pointues Rocques application is approved we intend to consider various measures to improve road safety and transport options for everyone in that area.”
The development has drawn support and criticism from both sides of the political spectrum, including from Deputy Carl Meerveld who says he has been “seriously concerned” with the traffic impact of Pointues Rocques for years.
“What is now being suggested by E&I to reduce car usage and traffic in those areas, while interesting concepts, unfortunately don’t address the fundamental issue that is: many families have two vehicles,” he said.
Pictured: Deputy Meerveld said: “I am one of the deputies who has been seriously concerned about the traffic implications of the Pointues Rocque development since it was first proposed.”
While agreeing that an overarching approach to developing traffic infrastructure is important, he said these issues all boil down to a lack of political oversight.
“This all goes back to my biggest regret as a deputy… I, as well as all deputies, were presented with the IDP (Island Development Plan) to approve.
“This was something that had been 15 years in the making, and we were told that many of the amendments submitted could not be considered without having to throw out the whole plan and start again.
“What I didn’t realise at the time was that I was effectively writing the deputies out of the planning process, and we would have no more influence than any individual member of the public – we created a tick box plan whereby big chunks of the island were zoned for development without detailed consideration of the impact on the infrastructure of the island.”
The Pointues Rocques development will go before the DPA for consideration again later this year.
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