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Traffic Congestion

Proposal-Introduction

The overall purpose of this feasibility study is to outline the issues that concern the community and prepare a detailed proposal in order to solve those problems efficiently and permanently. Specifically, our problematic is to propose solutions to the severe problems of traffic congestion and lack of car park facilities in the area, problems which reach their climax during peak tourism periods, from May to September in specific. After having gathered baseline data about the area, its characteristics (geology, economy etc.), and the current situation, a broad range of issues have been raised and we have reached certain decisions on how the problems could be solved.

The town of Whitby generally faces numerous challenges in all domains, i.e. the declining fishing and cargo handling industries, and the need to boost revenue from other sources such as leisure and tourism. Tourism has gained a considerable place in the town's economy and any proposed solution should lead to its further development. In addition to this, our proposal should be able to offer career opportunities to the locals, so as to diminish or even prevent the moving of the younger ages from the town. Undoubtedly, any proposal made should have the locals' approval, that is why it is important that it had benefits for the people themselves and generally that it respects their will and needs. Especially middle-aged people could be negative to radical changes that would affect the quiet and unique character of the town. And finally, there is an important need to preserve the architectural style and historical ambience of Whitby, in order to keep the locals satisfied.

Various parameters and factors have been taken into account in order to prepare this proposal. Firstly, we have examined the erosive and degrading effects of the wind, the rain and the sea. Furthermore, the risk for floods, particularly close to the river Esk, which has reached an unacceptably high level, has certainly been outlined and considered in this process and flood level protection must be provided in Whitby. Our proposal will embrace the principles of sustainable construction and will ensure the minimum possible impact on the environment of the town.

Traffic congestion:

The most important problem the town faces, is the extreme traffic congestion that presents itself intensely during the tourist periods, and mainly on the West Cliff. It is essential to note that traffic could be caused not only by cars, but also by pedestrians and animals, and this is what we are asked to solve. The questions to answer are: WHAT to do, WHO will be involved and fund the project, HOW LONG will it take to finish, HOW MUCH will it cost.

Epigrammatically, we have reached the following decisions, to be analysed later on:

All these points will be analysed in detail onwards. All constructions, either improved, replaced, or built should be economical, safe and practical to construct, durable, with low maintenance cost, and aesthetically acceptable.

1. Swing Bridge

The Swing Bridge was built in 1909, and celebrated its 100th anniversary on August 8th 2009. We refer to a Victorian engineering construction, that locals are proud of and attached to, as it represents the main focal point of the harbour and a tourist attraction. It joins the two communities east and west of the River Esk together, and during high tides opens every 30 minutes on the hour and at half past the hour. It spans in two sections of 75 feet, of which each section be operated independently, swinging horizontally.

The effective function of the bridge is extremely limited, as with the presence of traffic lights on each end of the Bridge, it can accommodate only one-way traffic at a time, thus causing a serious vehicular traffic problem on both sides. The single-lane road of the bridge does not present its only problem, as it also consists of two narrow footpaths, whose width is the cause of the increase of the risk of pedestrians' accidents.

After having consulted the locals, we have decided not to demolish the Swing Bridge, as they clearly want it preserved, even though it most certainly presents a liability in many aspects. Nevertheless, repairs should be carried out urgently, as the bridge is in a really bad condition, but no change will be made in its place and size. Rising concerns about the safety of the 100-year-old bridge and its high annual maintenance cost call for immediate measures. As far as the foundations are concerned, the wooden piles in the ground will be replaced with steel, to ensure the stability of the bridge and extent its life limits. Mechanical and electrical changes in the gear will be made, to ensure the effective function of the bridge.

Finally, the bridge will be established as a pedestrian walkway, and will not be used by both the locals and the tourists (as for the latter, a new river crossing and new ways of access to the town centre will be provided.) The bridge will not seize to constitute a passage for emergency vehicles.

2. New Bridge

One of the tasks to be completed is to introduce a new river crossing for highway and pedestrian traffic within the Harbour Zone. After having performed a detailed examination of the town's geology and conditions, and after having analyzed a number of different solutions possible (location, types etc), we have decided to construct this new bridge.

The location of this new bridge is also in the south of the Upper Harbour Zone, between the other two bridges. The new Bridge will constitute the junction between Langbourne Road in the West and Church Street on the East side, following a north-east direction.

Railings or Guard rail is a system designed to keep people or vehicles from straying into dangerous or off-limits areas. A handrail is less restrictive than a guard rail and provides both support and the protective limitation of a boundary. In traffic engineering, guardrails prevent vehicles from veering off the roadway into oncoming traffic, crashing against solid objects or falling into a ravine. A secondary objective is keeping the vehicle upright while deflected along the guardrail. The problem with this is that a guardrail of the optimum height for a car might not keep a truck from toppling over it, while a motorbike might slip under a higher rail.

There are four general types of guardrail, ranging from weakest and inexpensive to strongest and expensive cable and wood posts, steel and wood/metal posts, steel box-beam, and concrete barriers. While cheaper guardrail is the weakest, often being destroyed from the impact of a light vehicle, it is inexpensive and quick to repair, so this is frequently used in low-traffic rural areas. In this project steel railings should be used.

Construction method:

Planning and executing the construction of a bridge is often very complicated, and in fact may be the most difficult parts of the entire procedure.Certain bridge types, require the appropriate construction techniques. In our case, both the bridges we have designed will follow the same pattern, as concrete and steel bridges are generally built using similar techniques, although concrete bridges are built in shorter sections than steel bridges because of the greater weight of the material.

Having examined different types of methods, we have reached the conclusion that the appropriate method of construction for both the new High Level Bridge and our New Bridge is cantilever construction. The use of the cantilevering construction method, for medium and long span concrete bridges, is recommended especially where a scaffolding is difficult or impossible to erect as e.g., over deep valleys, wide rivers, which is the actual case for us, traffic yards or in case of expensive foundation conditions for scaffolds.

The function of this method is the following: A simple cantilever span is formed by two cantilever arms extending from opposite sides of the obstacle to be crossed, meeting at the center. Whereas as far as the suspended span is concerned, the cantilever arms do not meet in the center; instead, they support a central truss bridge which rests on the ends of the cantilever arms. A common way to construct steel truss and prestressed concrete cantilever spans is to counterbalance each cantilever arm with another cantilever arm projecting the opposite direction, forming a balanced cantilever; when they attach to a solid foundation, the counterbalancing arms are called anchor arms. Thus, in a bridge built on two foundation piers, there are four cantilever arms: two which span the obstacle, and two anchor arms which extend away from the obstacle. Because of the need for more strength at the balanced cantilever's supports, the bridge superstructure often takes the form of towers above the foundation piers.

3. High Level Bridge:

The High Level Bridge, also called the New Bridge, is located in the southern part of the city, carrying the A171 highway over the River Esk. Due to its severe stabilization problem, and its unlikeness to be maintained, we have decided the demolition of this bridge, and its replacement with a new one, on the same exact place.

For the demolition process the following tools will be used: a hydraulic excavator, pneumatic tools, a truck-mounted crane, a hydraulic hammer and a barge. In general, the process should take the appropriate precautions to maintain the condition of conserved areas, ensure the safety of the workplace for all those involved and minimize the noise pollution in the area. Furthermore, all procedures must take place in a minimum timescale, so as to minimize the traffic problem in the A171 highway and also minimize the economic effects the non-existence of a river crossing in that place could have.

The adequate considerations to be taken into account in order to choose the right material for a construction have already been mentioned and analysed. Therefore, in the case of this bridge, I will proceed to the immediate choice of material and the properties that constitute it adequate for this specific case.

For the replica of the High Level Bridge, the appropriate material would be reinforced concrete. Reinforced concrete is concrete in which steel reinforcement bars, plates or fibers have been incorporated to strengthen the material that would otherwise be brittle. Concrete is reinforced to give it extra tensile strength; without reinforcement, many concrete structures would not have been possible. Reinforced concrete can encompass many types of structures and components, including slabs, walls, beams, columns, foundations, frames and more.

The main advantages of concrete in this case are the following: Concrete undoubtedly represents an economical choice, and specifically it provided us with a far more reduced cost of construction and lower maintenance costs than steel. Secondly, concrete constructions have a high service life, due to the employing inside it of mineral admixtures that strengthen resistance to extreme temperature changes and corrosive chemicals. In addition to the above, concrete is consistently recognized for value, quality and versatility. Moreover, aesthetically, concrete constructions constitute a beauty appeal to tourists and encourage economic development.

Traffic Control and Car parking facilities

Until now, expansion to Whitby's transportation system has been limited to local and collector streets. While some town arterials have been widened in the past two decades, the majority of the expansion to the arterial system has been on Regional facilities. Many transportation corridors in Whitby have been developed to provide auto and sidewalk access to adjacent residential land uses and not for other modal opportunities for moving persons, such as bicycle facilities and transit ways. It is important to update and refine the Town's transportation network plans to enable Whitby to function in the long term in a safe and prosperous manner.

One of the main aspects in order to improve the Town's transportation system is the car park facilities in or out of the town. Since the mid 1980's, the population of the town has grown considerably, reaching the number of 115,000 residents. The population of Whitby has the potential to increase to as much as 200,000 within the next 20 years. Tourism is also a sector in development in the area, also adding a great number to the town's population, during peak tourism periods. Many tourists visited Whitby every year during summer period, some of them arriving by bus, train or their car. In the end, though, this growth of population, and most importantly, the arrival of many tourists every summer causes a huge traffic flow problem and hence a problem linked to the lack of parking facilities in the town, thus causing the augmentation of the risk of accidents and the general frustration of the locals. Speeding and dangerous driving are highlighted as major problems in the community, and the large number of parked cars along the main roads of the town exacerbates the danger caused by speeding traffic, and also increases the actual risk for pedestrians. Parking at the junctions of these roads also restricts visibility and thus can be considered as a cause for the increase of car accidents in the area. The areas which deal with the most severe form of the problem are the Green Lane and Church Street areas.

A solution to this problem must be found and our team has examined a large amount of initial ideas, in order to reach the final, effective scenario, based on the same general criteria used before to solve the problem of traffic congestion, i.e. economical, social and environmental factors, traffic flow current condition and need for a change, and public opinion.

Traffic can be controlled with a series of simple measures, by using traffic control systems and parking schemes such as traditional toll booths, moving columns, share bike program, park and ride schemes, expanding existing parking to manage the traffic flow and help reduce the unnecessary use of vehicles. Some of the initial ideas considered are the following: the creation of seasonal parking areas in courts and pitches around Whitby, the creation of small car parks in different locations inside and outside the town. Another idea was to design park-and-ride facilities as a part of a coordinated transportation system, than to plan individual facilities and need to try and tie them together later. Most of these ideas were rejected, especially due to public opinion; the locals want a calm center of the town, without radical changes, so we will take action in this matter mostly outside the town, and also by the pedestrianism of certain roads.

It is also very important to encourage public transportation, which could easily and effectively result in the reduction of the amount of cars used in the town and thus largely help in solving the problem. Despite its isolated location, Whitby is well connected by interurban buses. Arriva run services along the coast, with the X56 running every hour to Middlesbrough and Scarborough, and the 93 running every hour to Scarborough during the summer season, and less frequently to Middlesbrough throughout the year, as well as several local bus services. Coastliner runs their renowned luxury spec buses four times a day from Leeds and York on the 840. Through tickets from any railway station are available on the Coastliner service from York, ask for "Whitby Bus Station" when buying your ticket. Additional services run on many routes during the summer. The bus station is located on the west of the River Esk in the Town Centre, next to the train station. We need to provide public transport at all times and from all locations, from the inside and the outside of the town, and also find a way to make it essential to choose public transport, by eliminating any other options.

Existing car parking facilities in the town

Nowadays, the most convenient car park found in Whitby is the one on Church Street, which has 92 parking spaces. Although not the largest car park in the area, you can usually get a space throughout the morning, but by the afternoon it can be very busy. It is located opposite Rods & Reels tackle shop, has a public toilet next to it, is reasonably priced and is not a massive distance away from either pier or The Scar (about a 5 minute walk).

On the other side of the River Esk is the Railway Station car park which again is within a reasonable walking distance from both piers and The Scar. It is however considerably more expensive than any of the other car parks.

The largest car park in Whitby is the one up by the Abbey, as it can easily accommodate 415 cars. This is a seasonal car park and tickets are only required between 1st March and the 31st October. This is closer to the East Pier and The Scar than the other car parks but you have to negotiate the 199 Steps.

A special arrangement has been made for parking in the marina car park. The cost to park there is £5.00 per day. The car park is a temporary solution until a better approach take place.

The increasing demand for parking space has lead as to the following proposal of solutions:

Firstly, we have decided to proceed to the creation of a new car park in the Abbey area, on the same place as the existing parking, which is, as we have already mentioned, the largest parking facility in Whitby and has a capacity of parking space of 415 car spaces. The new car park will be even larger, reaching the 549 car spaces. The area expansion should be performed on the upper side of the existing car park which is an area with no use at the moment.

We have also reached the decision that parking facilities should be created outside the town. A new development area has been chosen to serve this cause, the place inside Stakesby Road. This is an open area, which could be used and benefit of constructing this on-ground car park. The capacity of the car park there will be 442 car park spaces and will cover a total area of about 19000 m2. The idea to solve the problem of traffic within the Harbour Area by creating a parking facility outside the town is that people who arrive with their own cars would park them in the new parking and use the public transport system as is described below. This is called a park and ride facility, i.e. public transport stations that allow visitors wishing to travel into city centres to leave their personal vehicles in a car park and transfer to a bus, rail system or taxi for the rest of the trip. Park and ride schemes also represent a way to avoid the difficulty and cost of parking within the town, thus benefiting the tourists in this way and making them prefer to leave their cars there, than drive to town themselves.

Our proposal includes that park and ride facilities will operate from Monday to Saturday, from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm, and also on Sundays from 10am to 5pm. Car parks would be staffed during opening hours. Overnight parking will not permitted at any of the sites and all sites will be secured with barriers after the last bus.

The bus path that will be followed form the park and ride facility to the town center will be a large enough circle, which should pass in front of some specific and important points such as: hotels area (Royal Crescent Road), Abbey (Abbey Ln, Church Ln), Whitby Rail Station (Station Square).

In general, these park and ride schemes are a suitable and extremely effective way to solve the problem we are dealing with, as they maximize the use of public transportation and minimize the use of private vehicles, thus reducing the traffic flow within the town, and also the environmental impact of transportation related to Whitby(pollution). Furthermore, speed limits inside the car park area should be considered and shown with appropriate signage.

Car parks need to accommodate visitors of differing abilities. These requirements include dedicated parking bays that comply with the minimum standards for disabled people. At least 5% of all car parking bays must be reserved for disabled visitors. They must be clearly identified, both on the bay surface and with a vertical sign immediately adjacent to the bay.

It is also important to assure a safe and secure environment within the park and ride facilities. Emergency telephones should exist within the facility, as well as adequate illuminations and signance to identify the facility. Safe pedestrian routes will exist from the car park to bus station and an enclosing waiting area will also be created.

Materials:

A vast range of materials in different finishes and colours is available for paving purposes. Selection must be based on engineering and aesthetic qualities and successful application will depend on good detailing and thorough understanding of the product.

The basic material which has been chosen for the car park is porous asphalt (PA). It concerns an open graded material designed to facilitate rapid drainage of surface water from the road, reducing spray. It also has the added bonus of reducing traffic noise. The material is less stiff and a 50mm layer makes only a 20mm contribution to the combined bituminous layer.

Pedestrianism of the town center

Besides the park and ride facility, which will ensure that tourists will not drive their private vehicles to reach the town center, there is another important solution to the problem of traffic flow in the city. Certain roads within the center will stop accepting vehicular movement, by tourists, and will only be used by the locals who own houses or enterprises in those specific roads. Pedestrianism should not cause a problem with supplying goods to the cafes and restaurants in the area or the passage of emergency vehicles as well.

This solution will be applied to the following directions: The New Quay Road will be turned into a pedestrian footpath, from the roundabout in the Upper Harbour Area until its end, i.e. to its full extent. On the other side of the River Esk, pedestrian walkway will be created in the extent of Church Street and will reach the end of the marine.

Pedestrianism, supported by the park and ride scheme proposed earlier, will result in decreasing conflict between pedestrians and vehicles, providing a smooth traffic flow while keeping tourists' vehicles outside the town, and improving road safety. Another important positive aspect of this solution proposed is the fact that it gives the visitors the chance to enjoy a long walk admiring the archaeological sites and monuments, and generally the unique character of the town, while also keeping the locals satisfied as their city will preserve her calm character.

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