Blog: New Travel Route For Harlow

Business / Fri 19th Apr 2024 at 09:53am

HARLOW and Gilston Garden Town’s five council partners have started work on the first phase of the project’s new public travel routes.Known as a Sustainable Transport Corridor, they will provide dedicated infrastructure for rapid bus transit, cycling and walking routes.

Essex County Council’s David Sprunt is the Transportation & Infrastructure Lead for West Essex and explains how the new public travel routes will make it easier and quicker for residents and visitors to travel around the local area in years to come.

Work has begun on the Burnt Mill roundabout to town centre section of the Sustainable Transport Corridor and that route will be one of the spokes in the wheel that will eventually link the north, south, east and west of Harlow to the town centre in the future.

This work is programmed to be completed before Christmas 2025.

It will allow easier movement across the town from key places like Pinnacles, the railway station and the Enterprise Zone in the east as well as preparing us for the new hospital, which is proposed near the new 7a junction of the M11.

And at the heart of these journeys will be the new Transport Hub and Interchange in Harlow which will be an upgraded version of the current bus station, part of Harlow Council’s commitment to redeveloping the town centre.

Ultimately, the Burnt Mill roundabout section of the Sustainable Transport Corridor will continue north and serve the seven new Garden Town villages in Gilston which is why we’ve chosen this section of Harlow to start with.

The seven villages have had agreement for planning permission approved by East Herts Council meaning Gilston is more advanced for development than the other proposed neighbourhoods for the Garden Town.

We hope some of the reasons people will move to the new villages at Gilston will be because the walking, cycling and public transport infrastructure offering is part of what they want for their quality of life and way of living.

We often get asked why we’re building new public travel routes in Harlow when infrastructure for buses, cycling and walking already exists.

It’s a good question but what you’ll see with the new and improved routes are continuous bus lanes to enable rapid bus transit and faster journeys for existing bus services plus better reliability.

The junctions in Harlow will also be upgraded through new and innovative measures to encourage more walking and cycling.

Residents are going to see safer walking and cycling pathways and, rather than just a white line on a three metre wide pavement, there will be a full five metres of space allowing for dedicated uses.

This is a big difference to what’s in place currently. For example, the present infrastructure presents real problems for getting to the town centre from the railway station.

If you use it now for cycling then you’ll know that the routing is quite variable, past Sainsbury’s and then nothing to the town centre.

So the Sustainable Transport Corridor will address that and not only make it much better for people to use but give people a proper entry point into the middle of Harlow.

The Sustainable Transport Corridors are not about stopping   people using their cars or  preventing anyone choosing to continue to move around in their car.

The aim is to give residents and visitors a different and better travel choice than what is currently on offer.

People will always have freedom of choice, but the new routes will, we think, be cheaper and quicker than car journeys around the Garden Town.

We want to  give people a cost effective alternative which will get you from A to B cheaply, quickly and reliably.

Local bus users will know that Arriva provide a service in Harlow and the introduction of the new public travel routes will allow us to go out to tender for rapid bus transit services.

Other areas in the UK are moving towards electric vehicles for their bus services, Nottingham have over 70 buses to help combat air pollution and climate change and Norwich have just introduced their electric fleet as well.

We envisage the Burnt Mill roundabout to town centre and its extension to the Gilston villages  to be operational before 2030 and innovation and costs of buses will also have moved on by then, making their introduction easier.

As a five council Garden Town partnership, we all want to provide infrastructure that is safe and easy to use.

Harlow residents tell us that they want to use the infrastructure on offer to get around, but there are barriers to regular use that are off putting, there might be a section of a cycling path is dimly lit or you have to cross a major road and it feels dangerous.

The new public travel routes will alleviate those concerns and maybe bring a sea change in people’s thinking.

And once the Sustainable Transport Corridor gets a reputation locally for moving people around the town quickly and cheaply, it will hopefully inspire confidence in people to give it a go on a regular basis.

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7 Comments for Blog: New Travel Route For Harlow:

2024-04-19 12:29:50

These projects are all very well but I suggest that maintaining existing infrastructure such as filling in potholes would be most people's priority. We have seen with crumbling schools what happens if this doesn't happen. I would suggest people would also like more buses rather than a shiny £9million new bus station.

2024-04-19 17:56:18

Get the bus service back to how it should be. Efficient, reliable and then more people will use them. The bus station needed cleaning up with a few tweaks. It's you the council that allowed it to fall in to disrepair..

2024-04-19 19:55:33

The bus station is shocking it's never worked properly, it's freezing cold, badly lit and the sliding doors never worked. Not to mention the fact that is doesn't even extend to cover all the bus stands. I do agree that the service itself needs massive improvement, for the whole of the Harlow area, not just these planned glorified housing estates

Keith Broad
2024-04-20 06:54:15

You need to look at the existing bus routes around Harlow, and sort out the parking in residential areas so that buses can travel through these areas and serve the people that currently use the buses,

Kim osborn
2024-04-20 09:44:15

Stop patting yourself on the back about the fantastic job you’re doing in creating a fantastic bus service for the north side of the town where nearly everyone will have 2 or more cars per household. It’s the existing system that needs fixing and now not tomorrow not next week but now. You still will not recognise that the 9 bus is needed and by not addressing the concerns about people having to use the 10 bus instead Is dangerous and unsafe. Put buses were they are needed in all parts of the town not just show areas

Guy Flegman
2024-04-21 09:08:56

Er, we have a rapidly ageing population. This means less cycling and walking as mobility reduces as you age( I have first hand experience of this.) but you can still drive. Seems to me it’s more dream world plans. Better to spend the money to supply a free local bus service for residents. Now that would make an improvement as there would be less cars and more busses and the roads would not need changing.

2024-04-22 18:17:03

This proposal is well-intentioned, but no money is in place for the new buses. The German-owned Arriva fleet in Harlow is struggling to keep its old buses on the road and its bus drivers occupied. Your proposal is something like “blue sky” thinking, but your hope that by 2030, there might be some money in place to buy new buses to use your “Bus Lane” is bordering on ridiculous. 2030 if this is the case, why start now? It is six years away. You haven’t got a spade in the ground yet at Gilston. You are building a network of strategic transport corridors around the town centre, installing traffic lights on roundabouts, and prioritising taxis and minicabs. They will trigger the traffic lights, effectively stopping anyone using a car to travel. For many years, on Second Avenue approaching the town centre, it has been proven that it was not the few buses using the bus lanes that caused traffic to back up to Junction 7 of the M11; it was solely Taxis and minicabs. They don’t even have to be licensed or work in Harlow, so every licenced cab can stop any other traffic except the buses. A Gilston representative told me that Gilston will have a bus every six minutes to the station and town centre. There is no mention of Harlow getting the same service. You smash up Harlow so that, in theory, sometime in the future, Gilston and all of the other developments around Harlow will get proper bus service, not like the one that Harlow currently receives. Why not tell everyone that the Burnt Mill roundabout is just the start? Tell the people of Harlow who pay your wages how many roundabouts you intend to put traffic lights on. I know its many, many, more ways to block East-West and West-East traffic and force industry to leave Harlow. Essex Highways and Mr David Sprunt should come to Harlow and hold a meeting and explain what you intend to do instead of a faceless blog or announcement.

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