One Way IDR Plan Scrapped

I may have baulked at the prospect of my local council spending my taxes on a probably fruitless attempt to stop it, but I’m certainly pleased to hear that Reading has scrapped the loony one way IDR plan. The idea was that turning the whole of the IDR into one giant roundabout would ease traffic congestion in the town, however taking our usage as an example, a trip to almost anywhere in town, like the sorting office, or the station would have resulted in us having to drive a complete circuit around the town centre to get there and back. Currently we only have to use a short stretch of the IDR for most journeys, so making the change would increase the amount of time we would have spent driving around Reading not reduced it. Unfortunately for Reading taxpayers though, their local council has now spent a truckload of money on a totally fruitless exercise – it’s back to the drawing board for how to solve Reading’s traffic problems.

2 thoughts on “One Way IDR Plan Scrapped”

  1. I didn’t have a major problem with it in principle – the problem was in the execution, that it was planned to go anti-clockwise. This meant that a great number of the traffic lights would have had to remain, as both traffic leaving and joining the IDR would have had to have the traffic already on the road stopped, so they could at least cross the entry/exit of the ‘spoke’ road. As joining from the right and leaving from the right is so unusual in the UK (unlike the US where it doesn’t seem to matter which side the exit is!) the proposal was also to stop the traffic already on the road as well.

    Indeed the rules of ‘lane > 1 is for overtaking only’ would seem to preclude joining from the right or leaving to the right on UK roads.

    Putting the one-way system the other way round, clockwise, would mean free flow to the roads outside the IDR. Roads inside would then have the wrong-side problem but I can’t recall that many of them. The major ones are the car parks which would all have had to be reoriented – if the designs allowed for it. Riverside really isn’t designed for it, you’d have to come off at London Street and take the slip down to the roundabout at Southampton Street then double-back on yourself to access the car park. Queen’s Road carpark would be very tricky – can’t see this one being done without lights. The railway station carpark would be OK if the Short Stay section were re-oriented (it spits out on the Post Office access road, unlike the main section which comes back out to the roundabout at the foot of Reading Bridge), but the Post Office would definitely have a problem with having to cross the traffic to go eastbound along Vastern Road. Other than that, there’s Duke Street (Holy Brook car park) and King’s Road from after it passes the library heading east, which is mainly for buses. There are already lights to allow buses to turn right out of Stanshawe Road (they can’t come directly out of Tudor Road at the west end of Station Hill) but I don’t see why they couldn’t go all the way up to Friar Street and take the Chatham Street roundabout to head north into Caversham.

    The major problems on the IDR are the junction with the A33 and the fact that no flyovers were built on the east side. It flowed reasonably well until the A33 Reading Relief Road was added as a complicated T junction, which requires heavy use of traffic lights to enable the movements, rather than the free-flowing grade-separated roundabouts used at Chatham Street/Friar Street, Castle Street and Southampton Street. I’m not sure a roundabout could have been put in with the houses that were built on the inside of the corner at this point though. The only thing that could be done with this junction now, I think, is to make Caversham Road connect directly to the A33, with a grade-separated roundabout connecting to the IDR going east, so if you wanted to go from A4 from Twyford into Caversham you’d need to negotiate the roundabout. I’m not sure if there’s room for the slip-roads though.

    You could also, for lower cost (and therefore lower traffic flow) place a roundabout within the large triangle and leave the existing left-hand lanes bypassing the roundabout, so people going to the Oracle from Caversham, north from the A33, or south onto the A33 from the east wouldn’t have to go on the roundabout at all. You get the merge-from-the-right problem again, though.

    The other problem with that plan is that some halfwit would decide that the roundabout wasn’t ‘fair’ and plonk traffic lights on it (see M4 J11), turning it into a large number of light-controlled junctions and completely killing the throughput.

  2. I certainly agree with you over the A33 junction – absolutely ruined the flow around the IDR when that was built. Having said that, the real problem that the town has is lack of space, for example the car park at the Oracle being squeezed in by running the existing road through the ground level of the building, indeed on the opposite corner the place where they built an entire building on a corner of pavement. Indeed any changes in the majority of places will need to be in the existing size of the road as there are buildings close by on all sides. The only way to increase the capacity would be to bulldoze large numbers of buildings – something that was popular in earlier times but is distinctly out of favour now.

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