How can Norwich's roads improve?

Norwich road users have bashed the cities transport network

Norwich road users have bashed the cities transport network - Credit: Centre for Cities/Archant

Norwich's "nightmare" road network has been bashed by city folk and visitors as they battle diversions, road works and one-way systems.

And many also say they are confused over cycle lanes and pedestrianised thoroughfares.

Evening News readers have been quick to name and shame their most hated roads - and now experts have had their say how to make roads more user friendly for everyone.

The growing anger comes as pressure is put on drivers to ditch their cars to help battle climate change. 

Conservative county councillor Ian Mackie, who represents Thorpe St Andrew, said: "Norwich needs to remain an open and vibrant city, so it has a good balance of cars.

"More people are using cycles off the back of the success of the Beryl bike scheme but most constituents are asking for later-running buses."

Councillor Ian Mackie says the Pinebanks development is "totally unsustainable".

Councillor Ian Mackie says the Pinebanks development is "totally unsustainable" in the wake of new damage which occurred at the Thunder Lane junction. - Credit: Ian Mackie

Anthony Breach, senior analyst for independent think tank Centre for Cities added: "Cars are a really important way to get from where you live to where you work and shop, it's going to remain that way for the foreseeable future.

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"There needs to be a shift as cities get larger for public transport and cycling to manage capacity - and that's before you even get to the environmental arguments.

Anthony Breach, senior analyst at the independent think tank Centre for Cities

Anthony Breach, senior analyst at the independent think tank Centre for Cities - Credit: Centre for Cities

"From our research, places like Manchester, Birmingham and Newcastle have bigger problems than places like Norwich. While they're larger and don't have that rural hinterland, they're not denser as they get bigger.

"Travel congestion is a real bottleneck as they don't have the density to support more public transport like London.

"When it comes to Norwich it's thinking about the needs of the city. What are the steps we need to keep living standards high, and for it to all remain affordable? It's about sustaining high urban mobility and maintaining it for those who live within the city and travel around it.

"Those two groups have quite different solutions, but it is possible to get a win-win."

Stephen Fiske, of Cromer Road in North Walsham, wants better transport links between rural settlements to the city.

Stephen Fiske of Cromer Road, North Walsham

Stephen Fiske of Cromer Road, North Walsham - Credit: Supplied by Stephen Fiske

The 55-year-old said: "If you want to go anywhere in Norwich after 11pm you might as well not bother unless you have a car. There are ridiculous speed humps and roadworks on every corner.

"They need trains and buses to run more frequently. The council seem intent on keeping business out of the city, if they brought in a congestion charge they would completely ruin it. They don't seem at all bothered about anyone from outside the city." 

Cllr Jamie Osborn, Green city and county councillor for Mancroft, said that more efficient and affordable public transport is key.

"Driving is a political choice, he said. "Leader of Norfolk County Council Andrew Proctor once said that Norfolk is a car county but then other places have got proper bus networks to villages. We don't have to be driving everywhere.

City councillor, Jamie Osborn, at the protest over the Norwich Western Link road at Ringland

City councillor, Jamie Osborn, at the protest over the Norwich Western Link road at Ringland - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2022

"There needs to be an investment in better buses. It's one of the things that people in the city centre say to me.

"If they want to get to work in a suburb they often have to go into the city centre on one to go back out again. Because the networks aren't joined up - it's double the cost.

"Norwich has fairly good walking rates within the city but there's a lot more to do for cycling. Realistically, the only way that we're going to be more attractive to walk and cycle is to reduce the number of cars on the road.

"CPRE, The Countryside Charity, did a report that said that the amount of money that's been spent on building new roads could go towards funding a bus for every village in the country every hour ten times over.

"Reducing the cars on the road will benefit those who still have to drive as there'll be less traffic on the roads. We need to be looking at measures to discourage people driving in, like a workplace parking levy and congestion charges."

Norfolk County Council did not comment.