THE Argus (May 19) suggested that public transport would gain from the Valley Gardens scheme, but this is far from the case.

Cyclists will gain massively, and the open space will be more continuous.

However, buses will be worse off. The degree of this deterioration, will depend on final details, which have so far remained secret.

While it is good news that some positive road markings have been restored, buses will lose some, or all, of their dedicated bus lanes between Edward Street and St Peter’s Church.

This carries considerable risks.

Secondly, amongst other issues, the design of the St Peter’s bus stop, risks being far more problematic than North Street.

And we have yet to see what level of delays will occur, when normal traffic is restored, and southbound traffic is allowed to turn right into Church Street again (so partly blocking the offside lane).

All expectations assume normal traffic/bus levels will resume.

Thirdly, while the council has made efforts to modify some of the most unacceptable aspects of phase 3 (yet to start), further work is needed.

Problems include several bus stops are too small for the number of buses likely to use them, or inadequate manoeuvring space.

Also, there is insufficient waiting space for existing services, let alone flexibility when the city becomes more congested (which it will do, if some of the council’s “emergency” proposals go ahead).

In addition, at one “bus stop” if it is at a suitable height for passengers to board a bus, it is likely to preclude access to adjacent shops.

Other groups are worried about the lack of consultation during the pandemic, should we be?

We may be in the early stages of easing the post-Corona lockdown; but in time bus usage is likely to head towards its pre-epidemic level; and usage would need to increase considerably more, if the council wants to succeed in becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

Removing buses from St James’s Street has also been suggested.

Apart from the problem of shopping access, and relocating one of busiest bus stops in the city (certainly for disabled people), this has a further direct effect on the Valley Gardens scheme.

As the council will remove the separate right-turn lane into Edward Street, if buses are rerouted this way, they will block the northbound offside lane; potentially causing problems for northbound buses and other A23 traffic.

Oh, and did I mention it will also make the Old Steine a far inferior bus interchange.

For all these reasons, and more; the Valley Gardens scheme cannot be described as being positive towards bus services.

Peter Elvidge

Wish Road