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“We’ve Got Huge Congestion,” States The Council

Sleuth stands on Quay St at 9.04am and wonders if the congestion is wearing a cloak of invisibility

Written by . Published on July 12th 2011.

“We’ve Got Huge Congestion,” States The Council

Sleuth read with interest this exchange between our News Editor Simon Binns and Cllr Nigel Murphy. It was over congestion and traffic flows as a reason for extending on-street charging – click here.

SB:  I drive around the city centre during weekdays and I can’t say I ever sit in huge queues of traffic. It’s actually an easy city centre to get across in a car. I think the idea of congestion in the city centre is wrong.

Cllr NM: You must be going through a different city centre to me. I drove from the Town Hall to Hulme for a meeting the other day and it took me 20 minutes to get out of the city centre.  

SB: There are some pinch points coming in and out, but often it’s to do with road works rather than the number of cars coming in.

Cllr NM: During peak hours, we’ve got huge congestion. We’re extending the charging hours to help that traffic flow better.

This is the junction of Peter Street, Quay Street and Deansgate at 9.04am on Tuesday 12 July.

Sleuth looked at the road. He felt tired, so he took a little nap in the middle of Quay Street. It was lovely and peaceful.

Follow Simon Binns on Twitter @simonbinns

Empty Road 002Top picture was taken at 9.04am, this was taken at 1.04pm. 

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43 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Fox MulderJuly 12th 2011.

Three convenient photographs dont really prove much do they though? Im sure i could stand somewhere else in the city centre at another time of the day and produce three equally convenient photographs showing congestion.

SleuthJuly 12th 2011.

Fox. 9.04am. At one of the key city junctions. Absolutely key city centre junction. We'll take some more at different times today and add them - maybe around 1pm - and then at say 5pm.

1 Response: Reply To This...
CBAugust 2nd 2011.

I, and many of my fellow friends do what's called coliquially as a 9 to 5 Johnathan. This means we start work at 9am and finish at 5pm. Any travelling is done before and after these times.

Fox MulderJuly 12th 2011.

Can i suggest the junction of Princess and Portland Street? Or even the junction of John Dalton Street and Deansgate if you dont want to walk that far?

1 Response: Reply To This...
Chris-afortunadoJuly 12th 2011.

I don't get it. Even if you were right and those areas were so heavily congested at those times (which, living on George St, I just don't buy), how exactly would you attribute it to on-street parking?

Peter LloydJuly 12th 2011.

to be fair, most people are in work at 9am.

Take the same pic at 08:15/08:30 and you should see a few vehicles!

(I am against the parking changes by the way)

SleuthJuly 12th 2011.

Sleuth's going to take pictures at the same place - over the next 24 hours - at 8.30am, 1pm and 5pm. This is a major city centre junction and should provide a picture of how real the congestion claim is. Or whether, as most suspect, we only get congestion in the city centre when there's a road down somewhere or a special event. Could somebody who supports the congestion theory really claim that the quietness at 9.04am here would be mirrored in Hamburg, Lyons and so forth at the same time in the morning? Congestion pah.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 12th 2011.

What's any of that got to do with increasing the parking hours from six to eight PM. Precious little as far as I can see except to make an increasingly shrill, and increasingly boring, but still confused point.

JohnthebriefJuly 12th 2011.

I wonder if the period when the council's research found a congestion problem coincided with one of the many occasions when our different utilities closed wide stretches of the city by digging the roads up one after another. Or perhaps it was during the last labour conference?

Jonathan Schofield - editorJuly 12th 2011.

We love this, join us for a free coach trip and drink: http://tinyurl.com/69z3bqx

AnonymousJuly 12th 2011.

Why don't you track the route from the town hall to Hulme at various times in the day and see if the 20 minute claim was valid?

Calum McGJuly 12th 2011.

I know! Maybe the charges are going UP to generate more CASH! You know, the congestion thing might just be a load of b*llocks ;)

FurFoxAcheJuly 12th 2011.

If Cllr Murphy thinks it takes 20 mins to get from the town hall to Hulme he needs a new watch. Or maybe he's been using an electric car and had to charge up on the way through. Either way, he shouldn't be coming up with figures like that to support his argument because they are obviously wrong. I work in town and drive to Whalley Range of an evening. The most it has taken me from the Palace is 15 minutes and that was when there was a massive accident. I'm actually always surprised when there IS congestion, as I don't normally expect it. This is at 5:30pm every weekday.

SleuthJuly 12th 2011.

Update picture 1.04pm. Sleuth is still asleep in the middle of the road.

Jonathan Schofield - editorJuly 12th 2011.

Mel. Which photos are these?

2 Responses: Reply To This...
melJuly 12th 2011.

The updated ones, showing the huge congestion in Manchester of course. I see the 1.04 one has been uploaded, I think I can just about make out your Wee Willy Winkie night cap :))

melJuly 12th 2011.

The updated ones of the huge congestion in Manchester. I see the 1.04 'photo has been uploaded; I can just about catch a glimpse of your Wee Willie Winkie night cap... :))

TheaJuly 12th 2011.

I find these proposed parking charges infuriatingly frustrating. With free parking at the Trafford Centre, don't they realise the impact this is going to have on the city centre, particularly on Sundays?


AnonymousJuly 12th 2011.

If it really is to to stop congestion and to make it easier for people to get on-street parking spots to pop into a shop or business, why the need to extend charges from 6pm - 8pm and on a Sunday, ie outside rush hour and when the majority of businesses have closed? It will stop me driving in after work or on a Sunday to eat out. And before someone says get public transport, I don't want to! I get the train to and from work all week and and I want to be on 'my' timetable at the weekend or evening and not a train company's! Plus it's cheaper for 2 of us to drive in and park for free on the street than to get public transport.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Frank ColumboJuly 12th 2011.

Havent you just kinda contradicted yourself there?

MaggieAugust 3rd 2011.

derrr Frank, he means due to the current price rise and the proposed extended charging times, so no he hasn't contradicted himself

Chris-afortunadoJuly 13th 2011.

Are there any pictures from yesterday evening? I personally didn't notice any congestion on my way home at around 5.30.

SleuthJuly 13th 2011.

Chris. Missed them yesterday evening. But we'll get 'em later today.

AnonymousJuly 13th 2011.

To be fair his main point was about congestion caused by people driving around looking for a space when free parking is available, especially during weekend working hours, rather than at 9am on a weekday. The whole premise of this piece is disingenuous. A couple of quid in a meter isn't going to spoil a shopping trip or a night out. If you go by public transport it will cost more, especially for a group. The trafford centre is not a.destination in the same way. I cant stand the place, free parking or not.

Jill JillianJuly 13th 2011.

ask any bus driver in Manchester and he will tell you that most of the congestion in the city has been caused by the council messing with the traffic signals and lane priorities prior to the congestion charge vote ,bet you a pound when these charges are introduced they'll change them back and declare the extra charges are responsible for easing traffic ,as they would have done if they would have won the vote

AnonymousJuly 13th 2011.

Is it just me that doesn't understand why Manchester Confidential takes such a hard-line stance on this issue? Responsible journalism is about representing both sides of the argument fairly, not disagreeing with the council purely because one journalist dislikes its policies. SB's posts are an embarrassment to what is an otherwise professional website!

Jonathan Schofield - editorJuly 13th 2011.

Anon. We are a magazine and as such have editorial lines we pursue. We are against the proposals because we believe they are a short sighted misapplication of parking policy. We believe they will damage the city centre both commercially and by reputation.

Simon TurnerJuly 13th 2011.

Parking charge is just a few quid. It costs more to take a couple of people on a bus into town. Extending your logic - that paying a few quid to park your car is a deterrrent to shopping, eating out etc - then are bus fares a deterrent to people shopping as well? And surely the biggest rip-offs are the privately owned NCP car parks? Not the Council.

Jill JillianJuly 13th 2011.

the council aren't after your couple of quid for parking on a meter there after the thirty five pound you get charged for being a couple of minutes late ,i got one last night at twenty past eight at night parked on my land outside my own premises,about time they got charged for wrongly issued tickets

Simon BinnsJuly 13th 2011.

Good to see someone else getting involved in 'Attack Journalists Week', Anon. Take a number.

AnonymousJuly 14th 2011.

It's the council that have caused the congestion, take a look at the A6/Chapel Street for example.

Simon BinnsJuly 14th 2011.

To be fair Anon, that's Salford Council.

1 Response: Reply To This...
shabob1July 14th 2011.

At the end of the day whether it is Salford Council or Manchester who cares? The main reason for congestion is unnecessary roadworks. What bright spark decided to start work on the road parrallel to Chapel Street and Regent road at the same time as they are reducing Chapel street to 1 lane and 1 bus lane? My husband predicted weeks ago that this would be the next thing to come up; charging us extra and blaming the traffic. It may not be Manchester but the main routes into Manchester are through Salford and they most certainly have an impact. I know because I am constantly trying to find a different route that may save me being stuck in a queue. And like previous people have said, what impact does it have on the City Centre? People will not bother and go somewhere else. Its just not on.

AnonymousAugust 2nd 2011.

Transport figures available on the GMITA website prove that congestion has fallen over the last 3 years by between 15 and 20% each year. Apart from the odd bottleneck (like Mancunian Way/Chester Road/Regent Road or Chapel St), there are few real congestion issues. Congestion seems to arise as a result of road-works (Gt Ancoats St), poor highways planning (Chapel Street and Mancunian Way) or simply rush hour.
This phantom congestion simply doesn't exist.

CBAugust 2nd 2011.

Johnathan - you are failing to grasp the argument here.

Cllr Murphy says there's too many people on Sundays, parking on street, all day which means these no turnaround of spaces which increases congestion. He is saying that employing charging at these times will help to limit this occuring.

So you've taken a picture of a street, on a Tuesday where charging is in place and there doesn't appear to be a great deal of congestion. Are you trying to prove Cllr Murphy's point as being correct?

Or maybe you are trying to make the point that there is no congestion at all in the city centre? This is fine, but I wouldn't call your two photo approach a very thorough survey into the issue - would you? Maybe leave the investigative stuff to Binns and stick to the cultural stuff and Sleuthing which you do so well.

AnonymousAugust 3rd 2011.

People in don't want to pay extra couple of quid shocker. Christ you would think there is nothing else going on in the world of importance.

AnonymousAugust 3rd 2011.

It's a mistake to look at the traffic situation outside full term time, which is when congestion become a major problem; when the students and school children aren't around. there's always MUCH less of a problem.

Of course it's interesting to note that the councillor took his car rather than a bus to a meeting in Hulme...

Jill JillianAugust 3rd 2011.

you'll probably find that after every available space has been turned into a car park by people on the make ,bringing the council more rate revenue ,they will ditch the idea

Jeff CAugust 8th 2011.

I pay over £200 a year in road tax, £1.40 a litre in petrol and I've just got my insurance renewal - fk me! That's gone up about 20%! Now these greedy bastards are trying to rob my spare change! I avoid going to town in the day because of the parking as it is, and even after 6pm it's hard work finding a spot. This makes absolutely no sense other than pulling in more money for those c***ts in the council. This is OUR city not the council's. When they handed NCP and Europarks their licence's to print money they could have just as easily imposed limits to what they could charge for parking - but they didn't think about us did they!? When they handed out the other license's to print money to developers building city centre apartments and offices, they could have asserted a need for parking in those new buildings, but they didn't did they? They are taking the absolute piss - again!

Remember the congestion charge to pay for the new tram lines? 87% of us said no (was a proud Manc that day) and now I see tram lines being built, which makes the council a bunch of liars - which isn't surprising since it's full of politicians. Imposing price increases really only deters those on less income, your footballers and millionaires are gonna give a fuck, so all the council are really doing is freeing up parking spaces for their rich mates. Driving around looking for a parking spot causes congestion AND pollution - FACT. If a car is parked it's not IN traffic so by definition it isn't traffic - thus not congesting said traffic - FACT. Don't piss down our legs and tell us it's raining - we get enough rain as it is.

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