Traffic survey reveals advantages of out-of-town freight depot

2009-03-02

A freedom of information request to the traffic department at Cornwall County Council has revealed that an out-of-town freight handling depot would remove over 250 car, van and lorry movements from the harbour area for each sailing of the Gry Maritha freight vessel.

The traffic survey, conducted on the 10th & 11th June 2008, recorded 257 cars, vans and lorries visiting the North Arm of the harbour for a single sailing of the Gry Maritha. With an out-of-town freight depot these vehicles would no-longer visit the harbour area, instead taking their goods to an industrial estate where they would be put into containers and brought to the ship once per sailing for immediate loading. With two containers per lorry movement the goods would be brought to the quay in just 3 or 4 lorry movements per sailing.

The Friends of Penzance Harbour, amongst others, have been advocating an out-of-town freight depot as an alternative to the Route Partnership’s plan to build a freight depot, lorry park and turning area on a sensitive waterfront site between the Lighthouse Pier and Battery Rocks. Close to 80% of the 5000 square meters to be reclaimed from the beach and foreshore is for freight handling; if the freight handling takes place at an out-of-town depot the passenger terminal can be built on an existing harbour side site. An out-of-town depot removes the need for the most controversial part of the Route Partnership’s plans – the concreting over of Battery Rocks beach – and brings with it the very great added advantage of reducing traffic congestion in the harbour area.

The traffic volumes identified also add weight to claims that the Route Partnership’s plans will not remove queuing vans and lorries from the Wharf Road. The Route Partnership have claimed that the planned new freight facility will mean that vehicles no-longer have to queue on the road but the facility is too small to prevent this.

A separate survey conducted on 20th May 2008 shows that the daytime two-way traffic flow on the Wharf Road averages 850 vehicles per hour! When challenged about traffic flows in the harbour area the Route Partnership’s usual refrain is that “the roads are below capacity”. The Friends of Penzance Harbour think that 850 vehicles per hour are more than enough and that the Route Partnership have a responsibility to address this issue.

Analysis of traffic data released by Cornwall County Council : download pdf | view pdf

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