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The motorists of Guildford have long had to deal with parking and general traffic problems in their town; recent plans by Guildford City Council are aiming to tackle these problems through a £2.3 million investment in improving local car parks, which will also focus on building up short stay and park and ride facilities. However, with Guildford having suffered from persistent congestion, will these improvements be enough to really make a difference to mobility?

Better Parking

Some of the more significant changes that will be made under new investment programs will include better parking on Bedford Road, Farnham Road, and York Road, as well as improvements to Park and Ride services, and an expanded car park at Guildford train station. However, problems arguably persist with the efficiency of coin machines in these parks that need to be dealt with, particularly with giving out change. Guildford will hopefully be introducing more up to date solutions, including RingGo text message top ups for car parks that have been used in nearby Kingston.

Car Park

These improvements will largely be funded by car park charge increases of £1.10 to £1.20, which will go into effect from April 8th 2013. The rise represents a three per cent increase across car parks in Guildford, with the council hoping to raise around £271,400 by 2014. Increased prices are one of the only options available to the council, with the Government reducing public service funding. Money will hopefully be spent on areas such as the York Road multi-storey, and on more buses to ease congestion on weekends.

Futuer Congestion?

There’s also the wider issue, though, of congestion and traffic in the city centre and outlying roads, which has long been affected by the gyratory road system. Some suggested ideas include a new bridge over the railway, as well as additional tunnels to divert traffic around the gyratory. All of these changes are coming as part of Guildford Borough Council’s Town Centre Masterplan, set to run up to 2026, which will redevelop the town’s infrastructure. Traffic congestion also needs to be eased to open up new developments off the A3 for a planned Waitrose and John Lewis shopping centre.

Whether these changes will actually make a short term impact on motorists in Guildford is debatable, though – as of 2011, Guildford was the 42nd most congested town or city in Europe, and more congested than Liverpool. Even with improvements to car parks, motorists will still have to pay for higher fares, meaning that they’ll have to wait a while until roads can be improved. Similarly, changes to Guildford town centre are still going to be affected by problems along the A3 and the A31, with the latter becoming a serious bottleneck at peak times. Drivers will also have to decide whether they want to use park and ride services, and whether there’ll be enough capacity to justify making a trip out to parks on weekends.

Car Park 2

Chris G is a part-time petrol head and long-time searcher for the best motoring bargains.Whilst he doesn’t buy used cars often he often checks in with Toyota Guildford looking for any deals that he could take advantage of.