Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Fake News from Cardiff Labour

Fake news! A new low for Cardiff Labour council - is there an election looming?

Congested Cardiff From Wales on line 
Story in the Guardian today - Cardiff v Cambridge: can the Welsh capital steal the crown of Britain's top cycling city? - NO NO NO  not a hope in hells chance..                                                                   Council propaganda, abetted by  Cycling UK’s campaigns coordinator Sam Jones:  to increase cycling, local authorities need to “plan, invest and then build”. “Cardiff clearly has the ambitious plans and leadership for the first stage,” he says, “but a lack of investment from the Welsh government is holding them – and the rest of Wales – back from making the radical changes in infrastructure which will ease congestion and create even more attractive places to live and work in.”
False ! 
As the Cambridge guy says, Cardiff will have to tackle car dominance.
The statistics are wrong - Cardiff does not have 9% commutes. This is the City's "AskCardiff" survey, that excludes commutes from outside the city and surveys a biased sample that claim to cycle much more than the National Census figures =3.6% j-t-w of residents (2011; up from 2.7% in 2001)
Not a chance that Cardiff will come up to the Cambridge level, nor to the Bristol, Leicester etc. levels on present plans.  Pre-election propaganda!

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Waungron Rd Bus 'interchange' unworkable

Waungron Road 'Interchange'
Very poor 'design and access statement' and other information athttp://planning.cardiff.gov.uk/onlin…/applicationDetails.do…
The plan as below shows bus-stops on the new side road from Western Ave to Waungron Rd.
Routing is problematic for buses from St Fagans and from UHW towards the Ely roundabout, as no provision to enter from Waungron Rd and turn round to exit. The 61 bus towards Fairwater will have to loop round via Western Avenue, with delay at the traffic lights; the 71 from Fairwater
"Large increases in bus journey times are recorded throughout the AM and PM peak as a direct result of the rerouting of bus services to pass through the hub, and in some cases, to and from Cowbridge Road to the bus hub."
No waiting facilities with toilets, just the rotten seating in standard shelters. CCTV and electronic bus arrival display, but no full transport information. Waiting at night will be unsafe, in secluded position not visible from roadways or dwellings. No integration with rail – eg. short access to/from rail platform - and “The Cabin” shop. No improvement of the poor, scrappy pedestrian crossing to the Golden Star takeaway across Waungron Rd.. No facilities for Coach pick-up and drop-off. Shared paths with cyclists, contrary to policy that cyclists be segregated from cyclists where possible.
There’s no indication that the bus companies will want to use it – the Council will spend £1.7million on a white elephant, just because they can’t admit the scheme is misconceived.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Xmas tree from china now £1.7m on 4 bus stops

Unbelievable madness. Cardiff labour do it again. In their last few months in office its a spending spree on the unnecessary. Anticipating losing next May, it seems they want to encumber the next administration with daft schemes. The £30k Chinese plastic Xmas tree, supposed to last three years but peeling decor already, was bad enough. 

How did they get planning consent ? Hardly advertise - in Western Mail, not the Echo - they pass it on delegated powers, where Cllr Michael read the papers so badly that he claimed no opposition and ignored the very critical safety assessment. Shows a total disregard for local residents who did object.
They want to start building in Feb 2017.  How can this work during peak-time congestion, when buses are expected to divert from Cowbridge Road through the congested junctions and across queuing traffic?  

£1.7m unwanted Bus Transport Interchange at Waungron Rd will be agreed Council Cabinet ThursDec15

Cardiff West Transport Interchange

Meeting of Cabinet, Thursday, 15th December, 2016 3.30 pm (Item 9.)

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  Janet.McNicholas@audit.wales 
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.