Centro (the arms-length public transport executive for the West Midlands) are currently publicising a major reshuffle of stopping places in Birmingham City Centre from the 22nd July.
These changes are as a result of the closure of Corporation Street, Navigation Street and Upper Bull Street. Visitors by rail would know this particular route through as the roads at the end of the New Street Station “ramp” entrance.
These changes are cited as a result of the Midland Metro extension. The route is, however a cause of major delays to the services which use it, and splits the main pedestrianised area at New Street / Palisades.
It would have been interesting to have been a fly on the wall in the meetings between Centro and the various operators who use the route, and I would guess that some resistance was met to the withdrawal of this cross-city route. Time will tell what the impact is.
The result of this change is that most services no longer penetrate as deeply into the city centre and have termini closer to their main road accesses, of which there are six in all. This should lead to quicker running into and out of the city, but in some cases, less convenient stop locations and longer walks between stops.
So that is Birmingham. Is there anything to see here which could be relevant in Nottingham?
Nottingham’s equivalent bottleneck is Milton Street / Lower Parliament Street / Parliament Street and the associated junction at the front of the Victoria Centre. This junction can seriously impact on timing and reliability at Peak times. This location became strategically more significant following the 2001 NCT service recast. Many more routes converged on this location. This complicated further following the “Turning Point” traffic alterations a few years later, which probably under-delivered its promise.
So could keeping buses from using conflicting routes at this location be used to reduce congestion? Possibly so. It would however come with some of the issues Birmingham will now experience. One option would be to close to buses the Westbound section of Parliament Street between Queen Street and Market Street. This of course would completely sever the city loop. Services from the North and East would need to terminate at Victoria Centre, those from the West (Canning Circus) could use Market Square / Broadmarsh; and services from the south, Broadmarsh / Collin St.
It is likely that would be a little too much pain!