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Planner1 last won the day on March 5 2023

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About Planner1

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  1. You’re entitled to your opinions. My observation is that wherever you go, people have the same complaints about their local authorities. They tend to think their council / MCA etc is incompetent, that their roads are in the worst condition, that their public transport is the worst etc. I have dealt with a lot of local authorities of differing sizes across several regions. Their resources, and often level of competence, tends to be in proportion to their size (ie population) which directly influences the amount of funding they have. This council here were backed into a corner really on highway maintenance. The only way they were going to get the money to fix the roads was through a PFI contract, so that’s what they did. You might criticise the way they funded highway maintenance before the Amey contract. I wasn’t involved in maintenance, but years ago my boss at the council used to tell me that the council used to get the maintenance funding from the government in what was known as a block grant, along with money for other functions. It wasn’t ring fenced, so they didn’t have to use it for the purpose given. I was told that for a number of years they used a proportion of the maintenance money to fund other stuff. I never saw the details, so can’t confirm if that was true, but the manager had no reason to lie. Basically central government underfunds local government in a major way. That’s why many local authorities across the country are pretty much bankrupt. Local authorities are always having to prioritise spending, there’s never enough money. Some think the private sector would do things better. Amey are private sector, are they better?
  2. Sounds like you are constantly trying to criticise the council. I’m pointing out a fact to you. The contract will not be couched in those terms. The roads condition in general did improve significantly over the investment period ( when the major amount of resurfacing was done). My own observation would be that overall condition is now deteriorating and in some places is as bad or possibly worse than before Amey took over. Difficult to say with any accuracy as it’s been a good few years. Amey / the council will have records of overall condition as they carry out periodic monitoring with special vehicles.
  3. I bet it doesn’t say those words in the contract specification.
  4. No matter how widely you publicise something, people will claim they never saw it. On bus gates, when the council introduce enforcement at one, they have a period of weeks where they give out warning notices instead of fines, so people who use the route frequently will get a warning. The signs are big and very obvious and have to be compliant with government signing regulations in order to be enforceable. If people want to appeal a fine there’s a regulated process that includes the appeal being heard by a completely independent adjudicator ( a barrister). My experience of adjudicators is that they tend to allow an appeal if there is any reason at all they can find to let the motorist off. Many appeals are successful. The picture on private land parking enforcement is rather different and not a great comparison.
  5. So you’re an experienced and qualified highway engineer are you? It isn’t exactly fair to compare a huge motorway that carries an enormous amount of high speed traffic to a back street in Sheffield. A quick search will tell you that concrete German motorways have about 300mm concrete construction ( it varies). There are concrete motorways in England, there have been concrete roads in Sheffield. There are pluses and minuses with any type of road construction. Concrete lasts a long time, but is difficult and expensive to repair. Doesn’t lend itself well to the way we tend to bury utility services in the road here in the uk. Road construction is decided by many factors including the volume and type of traffic that will be using them, the terrain and underlying geology. Expected lifetime and cost come into it too. It’s horses for courses. Every country has its own design standards and government guidance on road construction. Road condition is a national issue and successive governments have significantly underfunded road maintenance for decades. The national backlog of repairs is currently estimated at £14 billion.
  6. Local authorities have to use the signing prescribed by the government if they want the restriction to be enforceable. Nowadays things have to be signed positively, ie the signs say what can use the bus gate / lane ( motorcycles, taxis, authorised vehicles etc) No entry signs would not be appropriate.
  7. Manchester city region has twice the population of Sheffield city region.
  8. I’d agree with this. For consistency, 24/7 restrictions are better. Motorists often cite that they are “confused” by signings or restrictions like bus lanes or gates when appealing against penalties, so making them apply at all times removes that factor.
  9. Yes indeed there are benefits to having a tram. If you ask some of the businesses who said they suffered or went bust as a result of the tram construction disruption or the changes the tram network brought, they might disagree on whether it was worth it. It’s fine to speculate on where it might get extended to, but best temper expectations with a bit of reality. The reality is that previous requests to fund extensions here have been rejected by government as they didn’t offer good value for money. Also, there are other districts in the city region and they would also like to have the benefits of a tram, so any eventual extensions might well not be here.
  10. If you bothered looking at the document I linked to, it tells you how many responses they got.
  11. They’ve recently consulted on their overall mass transit vision, which you can find here 51% of respondees fully supported it and 37% partially supported it.
  12. So basically you didn’t observe the signs that told you a bus gate was ahead and it’s the council’s fault? What would you have them do? Provide several turning facilities in case someone blocks one?
  13. Were you around here when they built the tram? There was A LOT of long term disruption. Installing a tram system in a city centre isn’t easy. Many of the buried utilities have to be diverted. There are big open excavations for a long time. Access is difficult. Businesses suffer. Construction techniques have improved a bit since then, but you are not going to be able to install a tram up Fargate without a huge amount of disruption. Acceptability to the public and local businesses and organisations would be a major factor that decision makers ( Mayor and councillors) would need to consider if they wanted to do something like this.
  14. So how much were you thinking this spur might cost? To give you an idea, Birmingham did a 1.7km extension on their tram that cost £160 million. Edinburgh recently opened an extension and now have two lines, which cost them over £1 billion in total West Yorkshire are looking to build 2 lines probably costing circa £2 billion. Construction costs have recently increased enormously. An extension might take 5 to 10 years to plan and construct, so costs would certainly be significantly higher than these examples. Transport schemes have an appraisal period of 60 years for considering the economic benefits. The ratio of benefits to costs usually has to be at least 2:1 to get government funding.
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