Meeting with Transport Secretary

I met with Grant Schapps to discuss short term and longer term ways of cutting road congestion. He is working on schemes to let Councils bid for more funds to improve junctions, provide bypasses and resurface roads. He was interested in my proposals to get more utilities away from under a main road, to flex light timings to traffic needs and to strengthen local strategic networks.


  1. Dave Ward
    February 28, 2020

    “More funds to improve junctions, provide bypasses and resurface roads”

    All of which is now under doubt, thanks to the Greens victory over Heathrow’s expansion plans…

  2. Dave
    February 28, 2020

    Not to worry, the virus may solve all the congestion problems. It’s a sure thing that the government won’t since the only idea they had was to make motorways much more dangerous (smart).

  3. Alan Jutson
    February 29, 2020

    It is reported that Luxembourg have announced free travel on all public transport services for all citizens from 1st March 2020 to encourage the increased use of such transport.

    They also appear to have the lowest price for Petrol and Diesel to their European neighbours from past experience.

    Should be interesting to follow, to see how it all works out.

  4. DavidJ
    February 29, 2020

    It is extremely difficult and costly to relocate most utilities of any significance from the carriageway. Foot-ways and verges are normally already occupied by low voltage electricity and communication cables. There often is not space available for other services of any size. Sewers are necessarily deep and excavation alongside properties would be more costly, besides their normally having to serve road gullies and properties on both sides of the road.
    Tunnelling and other trenchless methods still require access shafts which, with all the necessary equipment, take up a good deal of space. New road construction may accommodate utilities away from the carriageway but relocation of existing ones is often not practicable and would itself involve major works with consequent disruption.

  5. Graham Wheatley
    February 29, 2020

    Sir John,

    Before Grant Schapps makes his decision on whether, or indeed which, powers should be further extended to local councils, I would strongly suggest that both you and he visit Portsmouth to see what a complete and utter hash the Lib Dems here have made of the road infrastructure.

    Roundabouts have been unnecessarily replaced with lighted junctions. The most obvious example is the 71 sets of lights replacing the old Marriott Hotel / Johnson&Johnson roundabout in the north of the city. The BBC radio Presenter Chris Evans saw fit to express his incredulity when he learned of its existence! All that was needed there was to limit the speed on the roundabout to [say] 20mph 9it was a large diameter roundabout and so vehicles were able to build speed, giving joining drivers very little time to make the decision whether to ‘go’ or not).

    The phasing on many of the lights is so poor that people avoid those locations by using the minor roads and side roads. …… so Portsmouth City Council decided that that in itself was also a problem, and many have either been stopped-up making them no-through, or have been made one-way, or have had barriers built into them forcing people to use additional roads (…Haslemere Road connecting Highland Road with Devonshire Avenue for example. In fact north-south access points between Goldsmith’s Ave and Albert Road/Highland Rd and in doing so, crossing Devonshire Ave, are very limited).

    Those roundabouts which remain have been narrowed from 3-lanes to 2, and from 2 lanes to one. Many had a ‘refuge’ area between the exits/entrances where a vehicle in difficulty (or indeed emergency services vehicles) could move onto. These have now been removed and replaced with hard kerbs (please visit the roundabouts at Victoria Road North/Winston Churchill Avenue and at Fratton Bridge/Goldsmith’s Avenue).

    Many of the previously existing lighted junctions have been narrowed (presumably so that pedestrians have a lesser distance to cross), resulting in a cramped layout for vehicles such that if a driver makes an error (or suffers a mechanical failure of their vehicle) there is NO space into which to safely move – they are likely to hit either a railing, or a light stand, or indeed a pedestrian – I would urge you to visit the junctions of Eastern Road & Tangier Road and Stubbington Avenue & Copnor Road for merely two examples of the many.

    Many T-Junctions have similarly been narrowed (again, to minimise the distance that pedestrians have to travel in order to cross, despite there being the option of installing a crossing, or a mid-point island). The junction of Festing Road and Highland Road is a prime example. The differing styles of paving material are testament to the (now three) phases of alterations there. Where there was ample space for two lanes (one left turn, one right) there is now only one, resulting in traffic travelling north from the seafront queueing unnecessarily to exit that junction.

    Please come and visit Portsmouth. I urge you. The sitting MP for Portsmouth North is Penny Mordaunt and for Portsmouth South is Stephen Morgan (Lab). The Council is Lib-Dim controlled so I’m sure that neither will mind if you visit in an official capacity. If you wish to come along on your own time then there is nothing to stop you!


    PS. Strangely, the CAPTCHA images that I’ve had to click-on to prove I’m not a robot were……. traffic lights!

    1. czerwonadupa
      March 3, 2020

      I share your frustration. I live in Brent were just before the Olympics 2012 in spite of objections from the council, local businesses & residents Transport for London thought it was a good idea to close the large rectangular one way roundabout at the junction of Empire Way & Wembley Hill Road were the old Conference Centre used to be and make the south side two way with a mini roundabout at the south east corner.
      Result? Congestion & tail backs on a daily basis morning & evening and at weekends.
      And on event days ? Even worse as traffic is forced away up Wembley Hill Road where they don’t want to go.
      The pot holes in Brent are horrendous & getting worse by the day with the council unable to get on top of the situation. And having driven across both north to Totteridge & south London to Purley last week the situation is even worse with the majority of all roads both main & side roads badly surfaced with accident threatening pot holes to cyclists & motorbikes everywhere. Not to mention the damage done to car suspensions. I believe some councils are now paying out more in compensation than they are on the pot holes causing the damage.
      Meanwhile while our road infrastructure is degrading Brent can find the time & money for a political gesture to paint bands of rainbow colours either side of the zebra crossings

    2. Alan Jutson
      March 5, 2020


      No need for JR to visit Portsmouth or anywhere else, we have exactly the same problem in Wokingham.

      Traffic lights on many roundabouts, four way traffic lights on many Junctions, Toytown coloured resin sprayed on the tarmac to warn drivers of bends in the road.

      All this extra spending on unless control items, but the number of potholes and their depth increases day by day !

      Amazing the lack of sense and priorities, the thought process simply beggars belief. !

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