South West Wales

Call to scrap Swansea city centre one-way system

The metro bus scheme has been criticised by traders
Image caption The work to bring in the metro bus scheme has been criticised by traders

Calls have been made to scrap a one-way system in the centre of Swansea.

The system around the Kingsway, Mansel Street and Alexandra Road was brought in for the controversial bendy bus.

But Julie Williamson, chair of Swansea Bay Federation of Small Businesses, said traffic was needlessly being dragged into the city centre.

She said more people were using that route to avoid works on Oystermouth Road. But Swansea council said a change was "impractical".

The work on Oystermouth Road corridor, which is the main gateway into Swansea, is the £32m development of a European-style boulevard along which aims to link the city centre to the waterfront.

That route, accessible from Fabian Way and junction 42 of the M4 often suffers from heavy traffic and road users have resorted to using junction 45 instead.

That brings traffic past the Liberty Stadium, through the Hafod and along Carmarthen Road which leads into Orchard street and the Kingsway as there is no option to go up Alexandra Road to avoid the centre.

It has been like that since 2009 when the bendy bus, known as the ftrMetro was introduced.

"I can't see the benefit coming down Carmarthen Road and when you come to the old police station, you get dragged into the Kingsway," she said.

"If they could possibly reverse the one-way system by Alexandra Road, Mansel Street and Walter Road, traffic wouldn't have to be dragged right into the middle of the town and the Kingsway," she said.

"In two meetings, traders were unanimous in wanting to revert back to the Kingsway having two roundabouts and having the town centre back to how it was.

Controversial scheme

"However, I understand the logistics are not that easy and very long-term."

The Welsh Government-funded bendy bus scheme has caused controversy on a number of fronts.

It was originally planned to run from Morriston Hospital to the Mumbles, but since being brought in has stopped short of the Mumbles, turning around at Singleton Hospital.

It also brought changes to the road system throughout the city centre, and Mrs Williamson also claims 21 firms went out of business along the Kingsway during the six months of roadworks which took place.

But the hopes of reverting back to the old system seem slim.

"The suggestion that the measure be reversed is impractical and cannot be recommended," said Swansea council chief executive Jack Straw in a report to councillors.

"The works in the city centre were disruptive and to try to reverse the changes would repeat that disruption.

"The benefits to public transport would be likely to be lost and the ftrMetro service itself might be withdrawn if the council withdrew the infrastructure.

"Undoing and reversing this grant-funded work would be likely to require the grants to be repaid from council resources, for which there is no funding.

"Furthermore there is no available funding for further work here."

A Swansea council statement added: "While reintroducing two-way traffic on the Kingsway would be unaffordable and disruptive, we will look at how junctions and traffic signals operate in the area to see if traffic flow can be improved."

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