Friday, 2 December 2016

£9m plus cost of Cardiff congestion

Re. Traffic costs Cardiff £9m a year    SW Echo 30 Sept 6 
£9 million cost of congestion is just a part – an estimate only of the excessive work-time costs to delivery vans etc.  The costs of Cardiff’s traffic congestion are much wider and far larger.
Cardiff Bus managing director Alan Kreppel in 2002 put their congestion costs at £1 million a year: “Some peak hour services in Cardiff now average less than 10km/h” (ICE Wales Conference 2002).
Congestion is far worse in 2016, average peak hour speeds reduced and bus reliability worsened.  The costs to Cardiff Bus alone would at a guess be 4 or 5 times higher.  The value of bus passenger time, even on the standard of 25% of the value of working time, would add as much as the direct cost to Cardiff Bus, giving a total around £10 million a year.
Alan Kreppel’s castigation of “recalcitrant unitary authorities” was ignored and he was replaced by compliant managing directors. Cardiff Council denied congestion was a problem until a couple of years ago.
Now their LDP policy depends on a massive increase in bus-use plus 36% increase in traffic.  It doesn’t add up. The study Prof David Begg-The Impact of Congestion on Bus Passengers Digital- (June 2016) describes how “the potential benefit of the bus is stifled by traffic congestion”.  This is increasingly applies to Cardiff, where delayed services get cancelled and ridership is falling.  Traffic flows are dropping, they say, with traffic near standstill.
Little hope for  Phil Bale’s “livable city”!

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Cardiff Labour 'NEW' Bus station scam

Cardiff planed new bus station Gives false
impression of size actually 7 metres wide
just about 4 times wider than a bus shelter
Buildings labelled 'interchange' in Walesonline are those planned above the Bus stands, 17% of the huge area (430 000sq ft) said in the Echo to be 'bus station' is actually for car-parking and only 13% for the 'interchange' (while one third of that is for retail units).  There will be only 14 bus stands. 
The Bus-concourse pictured (Echo 14th Nov) is a view from the Saunders Rd/rail-station end, aimed to impress you with spaciousness from the wide initial section as in the Plan below. The shops further down reduce the concourse to 7-metres wide, 40% of the width (yet the picture shows 60%). No queues for boarding or people exiting buses, few seats. No wheelchairs or buggies and children. Passengers are supposed to wait watching the departure screen for the 'dynamic' allocation of a bus-stand. Like at Paddington, but here no seats while waiting. When your bus flashes up on the screen, you all rush down the narrow section, crossing streams of exiting people, and shoppers. If, like most, you enter at the Wood Stree end, there's no wider hallway and probably no screen, so you walk to full length through the crowds looking for your bus-stand. Rail station experience tells us is this cramped design is destined for conflict and chaos.
Central Square was formerly occupied by Central Bus Station, which comprised 34 bus stands and catered for circa 32 local, regional and national bus and coach services. 
Central Square Transport Interchange – Environmental Statement (November 2016)Appendix D1 Transport Assessment Main Report 
"Notwithstanding the proposed bus station, the site benefits from being within close proximity to a number of bus stops within 400m. This distance is recommended by the CIHT as the maximum distance to walk to a bus stop. 2.8.3 Table 2.2 below provides a summary of the bus services that use the stops within 400m of the site. When the proposed bus station does come forward, the public transport accessibility of the site will be greatly enhanced. Many of the services listed below would be likely to serve the new facility, with the remainder continuing to operate from stops within 400m of the proposed development. ...We might ask why is is ok to walk 400m to bus stop with luggage while car users have to walk only a few yards?  No consideration given to vulnerable bus users at night. 

The NEW UGLY  BUILDING which buries your bus station 
Air Pollution at dangerous levels 
'Without additional mitigation the air quality impacts associated with the operation of the proposed Interchange development have the potential to be significant with respect to annual mean NO2 concentrations.' 
Cardiff still has no Final air Quality Action plan.
Central Square Transport Interchange – Environmental Statement (November 2016)
'elevated concentrations of NO2 being monitored. It has been highlighted in recent reports that Cardiff Council are working towards producing a Final Air Quality Action Plan for Cardiff City Centre AQMA and by doing so will look to liaise with city operations and relevant parties in order to develop mitigation schemes'

The planning application is 16/02731/MJR 

Sunday, 13 November 2016

BBC Cardiff Parking scandal

Cardiff council bought the Wood Street NCP car park for £9 million, to guarantee parking places for the BBC development.  

The officers had no right to promise BBC 200-plus places in replacement parking above the new bus station. This will shortly come up for planning consent and whether the BBC should have priority is a planning matter.  

The BBC will have 83 parking places in the basement of the new building; most of their visitors and staff are well able to walk, cycle or use the bus, and should use general car parking like everyone else. No special case was made for the previous planning consent (**): if they have one, let's see it in the new planning application. 

Did the Royal Hotel whose guests used the NCP carpark, have a deal with NCP ?  Let them anyway make their case for a share of the replacement spaces, even if it upsets the Rightacres/BBC sweetheart deal.

** the old documents said
The BBC have an operating requirement for 300 parking spaces at the new location and the proposals show 83 basement spaces and a further 217 spaces allocated in the NCP car park.

We asked the planning officers (getting no response): Please supply documentary evidence that the “BBC have an operating requirement for 300 parking spaces at the new location” (8.93); also evidence that these parking spaces need to be sited closer to the offices than the walking distance said to be acceptable to access buses (400m)

Monday, 26 September 2016

Qs to the auditor on land-and-capital deal

to Janet McNicholas 
Wales Audit Office, 24 Cathedral Road, Cardiff, CF11 9LJ

Public Audit (Wales) Act 2004, S.22 and 32.  Cardiff City and County Council
Notice of Question on the Accounts

Questions about the accounts in respect of the loss of public land in Central Square and other interests owned by Cardiff Council, principally land used for the old Bus Station, which has in effect been exchanged for a much smaller area of land for a new bus station, but badly constrained, such that the new Bus Station will be unable to use the Saunders Road access and thus unable to function during ‘match day’ closures of Wood Street.
  • it appears the ‘joint developer’ deal signed by the Council with Rightacres was used to transfer the Bus Station land without recompense.
  • as part of the deal with the BBC, the Council or the ‘joint developer’ promised the BBC some 240-250 parking spaces in the NBC car park.
  • the Council bought the NBC car park for a price of about £9 million; was such a high price justified with a lease very few years left?
  • the BBC parking spaces, being part of the carpark asset, were transferred to the ‘joint developer’, possibly at zero recompense. 
  • the Council’s Major Projects Unit agreed that the parking spaces would be re-provided in an underground carpark after the NBC car park is demolished and the site combined with the Marland House site.
  • the site plans developed by Rightacres with the Major Projects Unit of the Council put the car park access from Saunders Road (alone) with Bus access only from Wood Street, contrary to the Council/Cabinet decision that there be access to the new Bus Station during match-day road closures (ie. access via Saunders Road).
  • the value of the Saunders Road access, in terms of efficiency of Bus Station operation and for match-day access, was given away by the Council with no recompense.
  • overall, in return for the Council giving over the large old Bus Station site, the Marland House site and the NCP car park, it appears the public is only getting a pokey site under offices/hotel, with new Bus bays.  The actual Bus Station (‘Transport Interchange’) facilities are still uncertain and the financial arrangements (site purchase and construction) unknown, but costs like £12-15million have been heard.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Cardiff Labour plans 220-space car park on the 1st floor above bus interchange

There has been no formal announcement  or consultation on the new plans for Central Sq 220 place 1st floor car park above the so called bus interchange Phil Bale or any other labour Councillors. This area suffers from the worst air pollution in Cardiff. These changes haven't been to planning. Has Ruth Mosalski @ruthmosalski inadvertently spilled the beans?   

Re. Appeal to modernise rail station alongside bus site    
The new information about the desperately awaited Bus Station (Echo 23 Sept p.3) shows incoherence and minimal progress over 12 months.  Remember the Cabinet promised a planning application last December and construction of the transport interchange to begin in April (Cabinet report of 2 July 2015).

The pictures you show of the concourse and bike hub are the old fantasy drawings in the Foster & Ptnrs report (Appendix 2 of 2 July 2015).  No sign of queuing space and seating for large numbers waiting for buses or the crowds streaming to the various stops.  You write of the old “14 dynamic bus stands”, yet the operators told the Council their buses are longer than the consultants assumed – redesign is reported to leave space for only 12 stands. 

You bullet-point the old 600-space cycle hub; the public engagement “to define the nature of the new cycle hub” turned out to be a meeting run by Sustrans.  This gave answers they don’t like and they blunder on regardless.  Most cyclists will use free-parking on the rail platforms or street stands, not pay £’s per day needed in this high demand retail site.  Cyclists have other priorities for the £1000 per day subsidy it would take. Cycle hire, repair and mass parking make more sense on the south side of the station.

The new item is a 220-space car park on the first floor – yet no mention of a car park in the July 2015 plans for an interchange.   What priorities when Cardiff Council provides for car parking but excludes coaches from its “world class” transport interchange!

The worst aspect of the car parking is its access via Saunders Road by the Great Western Hotel.  Reserving this for cars rather than buses into the Bus Station means not only awkward, congested accesses onto Wood Street, but also prevents the Bus Station operating during match-day closures. 

What ridicule Phil Bale is bringing on Cardiff – boasting of a “best in class” cycle-hub that’s a commercial failure and a spanking new Bus Station that frequently closes for stadium events,  

And should we modernise a grade 2 listed railway station of which we are proud? Phil Bale and his labour cronies have no time for historical buildings in Cardiff as we can see them crumble in for of our eyes  

We cant locate the article online....strange...but here are some previous stories 

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Fabricated “recycling” figures in Wales

The latest quarterly statistical release also discloses some annual figures, including the 60% figure: The local authority municipal waste combined reuse/recycling/composting rate increased to 60 per cent for the 12 months to the end of March 2016
The commentary shows they include
# rubble from an abandoned Merthyr site – presumably the rubble was used in embankment or similar
# incinerator bottom ash ‘recovered’ by Wrecsam
# it can also includes beach rubble/sweepings, but this is unmentioned.
None of these count in recycling statistics elsewhere in the UK and EU.
No mention that 2015 was the first year that recovered IBA was counted in "recycling" totals.

Almost all (20 of the 22) of the local authorities increased their reuse/recycling/composting rate, compared with January to March 2015. The largest increases were reported for Merthyr Tydfil (25 percentage points) followed by Wrexham and Bridgend (14 percentage points), and Caerphilly (13 percentage points). For Merthyr Tydfil, this increase was caused by the authority generating additional amounts of rubble due to the council clearing an abandoned waste site. A similar situation is the cause of the increased rate in Bridgend. For Wrexham, there has been an increase in the quantities of residual waste being sent for incineration and an increase in the resultingincinerator bottom ash being recovered.

You are not going to believe this... Cardiff Recycling waste service nominated themselves for national awards for recycling. You can find these people on twitter to let them know what you think of Cardiff recycling here Tweet to @apsenews 

Forgotten the Cardiff Bin Chaos 

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Sewage pollution still bedevils Barry Beaches

Thinking of going for a swim? 

Sewage pollution still bedevils Barry Beaches  
The bathing water assessments from this year are given as an average over 4 years.  The Council announces they allow a Blue Flag for Whitmore Bay and a Seaside Award for Jackson’s Bay, without admitting this is worse quality bathing water.
                                                No. Samples       E Coli     IE            E Coli     IE
                                                2012-15                    95%ile                   90%ile
Cold Knap   Barry               75 75                     102.81    54.68         70.97   40.83
Whitmore Bay Barry Island 75 75                     118.4      74.79          81.51   54.57
Jackson's Bay Barry Island 75 75                     396.25 159.56       236.16  105.6

Why did Jackson’s Bay not get a Blue Flag?  The Council say – because they did not put in for it.  But the real reason is that it failed the Bathing Water standard rather badly: high levels of E Coli (95% of 400 compared with the 250 limit) and of Enterococci (95% of 160 compared with the 100 limit).  They now use statistics over the last 4 years, so don’t show the actual levels for 2015.
We do know that Jackson’s Bay failed the Blue Flag standard 4 times out of 20 samples in 2014.  The reason it’s worse than Whitmore Bay probably arises from the Cog Moors discharge swept back between Sully Island and Barry Island on the incoming tide. There’s may also some illegal discharge via the Cadoxon River [1].  Whitmore Bay still gets some of these discharges, as shown by the higher numbers compared with Cold Knap.  Whitmore Bay like Jacksons Bay failed (‘good’) in 2013 but met the Blue Flag (rBWD) ‘excellent’ standard in 2014.

There should be an off-season warning too for Whitmore Bay;  from September to March, out of the bathing season, the UV treatment at Cog Moors is switched off.  Also the storm-time bypass of the sewage works is operated more frequently.  Thus, Whitmore Bay does not meet the sewage standards for autumn and springtime water sports, or for Barry Island’s Boxing Day Swim.   This was shown when several dogs caught infections last autumn, after the water sampling had stopped.

The Council does not complain about the sewage works discharging untreated sewage during high rainfall [2], for any mention of the works being overloaded would cast a shadow over its plans for large increases in housing, without any expansion or upgrade of the Cog Moors treatment works.  They claim to be working with Natural Resources Wales to improve the bathing water quality at Jackson’s Bay [1], but don’t report this publicly.