Future of Devon bus services being decided behind closed doors
Devon County Council does not want the public to hear whether local service improvements are going according to plan.
Stagecoach escapes major sanctions over service failures
Traffic commissioner decides four days of free weekend travel in Exeter Plus ticket zone is sufficient penalty for poor performance despite public inquiry hearing severe criticism of company.
Motor vehicle infrastructure continues to dominate Devon transport spending
New active travel infrastructure to receive just 5% share of capital allocations this year and next, with new roads capital expenditure to increase from 74% to 86%.
Figures show declining Exeter walking and cycling rates as active travel delivery falls by the wayside
County council plans to remove Queen Street active travel infrastructure despite road space reallocation commitments expose equivocal city transport policy aim.
Stagecoach proposes free travel and fast-tracked information upgrades to compensate for service failures
West of England traffic commissioner holds Exeter's principal bus operator to account at public inquiry, with final decision on performance expected this week.
Kidical Mass returns to Exeter's streets
Hundreds of people took part in Exeter's third Kidical Mass family bike ride on Saturday as part of a global campaign for safe cycling routes for children, young people and families.
Exeter cycling & walking strategy five years late and counting
County council soft-pedalling on infrastructure plan which city council says will not form part of new Exeter Local Plan despite Department for Transport guidance.
Bus back better? Exeter services expected to remain unfit for purpose without needed changes
Government underfunding and bus sector challenges limit scope for improvement but county council failure to upgrade routes and policy ambitions plus high housing costs make Exeter difficulties acute, undermining net zero aspirations.
Alphington "enhancements" will not mitigate traffic impact from massive South West Exeter extension
County council manipulates public consultation and allocates just 1% of £55 million grant to pedestrian scheme while spending 75% on new roads and increased road capacity for 3,500 new cars expected on greenfield housing estate.
£900,000 to keep Magdalen Road one-way system despite decisive public support for low traffic street
County council misrepresented and omitted key public consultation findings in report and did not publish results until after decision taken in favour of option with only 18% public support. Exeter Observer snapshot survey finds 90%+ motor vehicles passing shops are through traffic.
Kidical Mass Exeter: "The best day ever"
300 people took part in the first Kidical Mass Exeter family bike ride on Sunday 15 May as part of a global campaign for safe cycling routes for children, young people and families.
NOTES & SKETCHES
More talk less action
The county council has derived more surprising new insights from the second phase of a consultation on the impact of traffic in Heavitree and Whipton...
NOTES & SKETCHES
Exeter’s Labour county councillors successfully lobbied County Hall to convene an unscheduled meeting of the Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee (HaTOC) yesterday to discuss the state of bus services in the city...
NOTES & SKETCHES
Not such an honourable mention
Cranbrook’s appearance in a recent Transport for New Homes report examining new housing developments across England to find out whether they are built around sustainable transport or car dependency does not exactly celebrate the satellite town’s mobility provision...
If you think electric vehicles are the answer, you're asking the wrong question
Mike Walton of Exeter Cycling Campaign says we shouldn't be seduced by the motoring lobby into believing that electric cars can create the future we and our children need.
Stagecoach strike to take place following failed pay negotiations
Transport union RMT says Stagecoach pay offer is unsatisfactory and demands better conditions as staff shortages threaten services.
NOTES & SKETCHES
Bonanza on the buses
There was no shortage of hyperbole to accompany last Sunday’s opening of Exeter’s glamorous new bus station...
30 year plan for SW transport outlined in consultation document
Strategic vision places investment in roads ahead of decarbonisation despite acknowledging the region's high car dependency rate.
Okehampton to Exeter "Dartmoor Line" passenger rail service reinstatement confirmed
£40 million Department for Transport "Restoring your Railway" funding to enable trains every two hours by end of this year, with plans to increase to hourly service during 2022. Stakeholders combine to get South West infrastructure needs onto Whitehall agenda.
Council abandons temporary COVID-19 cycling and walking safety plans in Exeter city centre
Devon County Council cites "pushback" from traders as schemes on North Street, South Street, Fore Street and Cowick Street are scrapped. Meanwhile temporary changes in Topsham are dropped after "snap poll".
Devon County Council fails to deliver promised COVID-19 cycling and walking infrastructure
Deadline for action on social distancing for safe travel set by county cabinet member passes despite Devon receiving £1.7 million share of government emergency fund.
Coronavirus exposes council failure to deliver Exeter transport plans
Devon County Council's failure to deliver overdue Exeter transport strategy and cycling and walking plan has led to an inadequate response to government demands for emergency coronavirus road layout changes.
Coronavirus halts decision to spend £3.9 million on car park repairs and upgrade
Exeter City Council spending plans will be revisited in June at same time as Net Zero Exeter carbon reduction plan is discussed by Executive.
An integrated public transport service for Devon remains a distant aspiration
A change to Exeter's G bus service operator has revealed the limits of Devon County Council's approach to transport system integration.
We already know what to do about the climate crisis. We must get on with doing it as fast as we can.
Exeter and Devon council leaders must begin rapid regional decarbonisation now. The quickest, cheapest way to cut emissions in Exeter is to deter combustion engines from entering the city. Clean air legislation offers a basis for action.
Streets are for people, not cars
Cars adversely affect economic output, air quality and wellbeing, take up valuable space when parked and discourage people from walking and cycling when driven. Reducing their use would enhance Exeter's retail and leisure offer, improve public health and attract needed workers to the city.
Planning & Place
University comes clean on true Exeter campus student numbers over past two decades
Figures obtained under Freedom of Information Act confirm between 7,500 and 12,000 more students based in city each year than university numbers suggest – until this year – with major implications for council planning policy.
Exeter has more empty and second homes than built in city in past two years
Council tax premium proposals that aim to raise additional revenue from underused housing stock might also encourage return to residential occupancy.
30,000 students based at Exeter university campuses in 2022-23
Freedom of information request reveals significant drop on last year with postgraduate students accounting for 58% of fall in numbers.
Exeter climate activists subvertise bus shelters with satirical newspaper front pages
City centre posters promoting "The Big One", a mass gathering in Parliament Square on 21 April expected to begin four days of climate action in Westminster involving 100,000 people.
City council sustainable food policy is a climate crisis red herring
Proposed changes don't apply to council meetings or most council food provision and are expected to have unquantifiably small impact while diverting resources from major decarbonisation challenges.
Is the grass really greener in Exeter city centre?
Academic research placing Exeter retail area at top of green space table was nationally reported, locally misrepresented then repurposed as booster fuel by local politicians overlooking study's social justice focus.
Closed doors at County Hall for councillor conduct hearings
A survey of local authority approaches to standards committee hearings finds Devon County Council alone in imposing private determination of conduct complaints.
Exeter councillor Yvonne Atkinson found in breach of code of conduct but escapes prosecution
Summary of investigation related to rental property interests involving Devon & Cornwall Police and Crown Prosecution Service withheld by Devon County Council while councillor campaigned for re-election to Exeter City Council.
Labour councillors again appointed to all thirteen committee chairs at annual council meeting
Council leader finally quits planning committee alongside other remaining Executive member but persists with secret board that enables scrutiny evasion.
Decline in Exeter economic activity levels among largest in country
Census figures also show population increasing at nearly six times rate of job creation over past decade while healthcare, wholesale/retail and teaching make up nearly half of all employment, reflecting low pay and productivity.
Council borrowing nearly triples in three years as property acquisition and development loans mount
Freedom of information request reveals five paragraph "outline business plan" for £55 million Guildhall shopping centre investment.
Exeter beset by unaffordable housing, low graduate retention and economically inactive over 50's
Exeter City Council executive ignores key challenges flagged in major council-commissioned employment and skills research report.