Anyone who has travelled, or attempted to travel, into Farnham’s town centre over the past few years will probably have experienced insane levels of road congestion, with drivers sometimes spending an hour to travel the last one mile into the centre.
Farnham is starting to feel like a small city!
So surely the elections next month are a chance to elect candidates who are going to fix this problem.
So why not ask any one of them, from any party, what they would do to ‘fix the traffic’ if they come to your front door.
Maybe even email them to find out what they can promise, then you have their promise in writing.
Although the county council controls the road, most solutions to fix the traffic in Farnham will require land and facilities managed by the town council or borough councillors who are going to be elected.
The West Street road closure beyond Crondall Lane to lay the new water main has probably made the situation worse recently, but this photo from 2020 shows traffic levels have been excessive long before the roadworks.
And this photo pre-dates the Downing Street planters too, which is why they also can’t be the real cause of the congestion.
So what about the changes to Farnham’s town centre being prepared under the Farnham Infrastructure Programme?
The plans for improvements to roads, cycling and pedestrian routes are all still undecided. However, one element of the FIP has pretty much reached a conclusion.
There won’t be any new bypasses or relief roads – which would have taken more than a decade to complete anyway.
But it is also looking likely there will be a lot of new housing in Farnham, including up to 2,000 residential parking spaces, so car traffic in the town centre is bound to increase within only two or three years.
Of course, I personally believe having a separate transport system unaffected by roads is one of the best solutions.
So if the roads are congested, even holding up the new buses the FIP often talks about, this transport system could continue to enable many people to reach the town centre safely by walking, cycling or mobility scooters.
Segregated cycle tracks, similar to the ones you can see extensively in London or Paris, could provide that protection against congestion with routes across Farnham Park, Bishops Meadow and Brightwells, keeping bikes off the roads.
But ultimately, what I personally think isn’t important. It’s what the elected councillors think, and what they will do, that matters.
The candidates and existing councillors are in listening mode at the moment. Democracy isn’t perfect but occasionally voters stumble out of the clouds of air pollution to reach the light, the point where our elected officials really take on board what we all want. Something to fix the traffic, so please ask them!
And don’t believe those who say there isn’t room for a network of dedicated cycle tracks across our town centre, even using parks and quiet roads – Farnham Cycle Campaign has published one at www.farnhamcyclecampaign.org.uk
An old Chinese proverb says ‘those who say it can’t be done shouldn’t stand in the way of those doing it’.
Farnham Cycle Campaign