Tuesday night traffic in the city centre

Portland JamI don’t much care for Tuesdays at the best of times. Tonight was pretty miserable though. I sat on a bus for 20 minutes as it struggled its way across the city centre from Salford Central station to Piccadilly Gardens. It took ten minutes just to get to Deansgate (also rammed with traffic) – a stately 600 metres averaging about two and a half miles per hour. No, I’m telling porkies: the bus didn’t even make it as far as the terminus, with the driver kindly letting passengers off opposite Mosley Street Metrolink stop, stuck at the back of a queue of buses waiting to turn into Parker Street.

GridlockJust as well really, as Piccadilly Gardens was gridlocked. Buses were queued all the way round back to Portland Street. Whilst bus services towards the southern half of the city were heavily disrupted, our special sympathy goes out to passengers headed for Salford, Wigan and Bolton. Bad enough to wait for your bus stuck at the back of a queue on Mosley Street, but they’d also the roadworks in Salford to contend with too. What caused the problem? Roadworks? Peter Kay at the Arena? Manchester City at home? A combination of the three? The wet weather? Something else?


About James McCollom

Web geek and public transport user
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9 Responses to Tuesday night traffic in the city centre

  1. Blimey, that is rough. I’ve never seen it that bad before. I’d like to know what caused it, too – just so I can steer well clear of it next time it happens!

  2. Sean says:

    It was the same coming in from South Manchester traffic was queuing from the University coming down Oxford Road. I ended up getting off the bus at the BBC and walking across town to get a connection bus on Rochdale Road. It would seem to have been a combination of things, roadworks at critical locations caused tailbacks, these were then exacerbated by heavier than average traffic due to events around Manchester and poor weather.

  3. Steve says:

    The M602 inbound was queueing back to Eccles – the only time I’ve seen that previously in the evening in the past 12 months was when Take That were playing in the summer – at the City of Manchester stadium. Coincidence?

    That said, the section along Liverpool Road toward the inner ring road has been much slower the past week or so, I think it’s related to the roadworks on Chapel Street that the MEN did a piece on recently. And in combination with the events and weather as Sean said, it was always going to be bad.

  4. DuPuis says:

    Manchester needs a tube, James.

    All kidding aside, imagine how wildly successful Metrolink would have been if the central city portion of the system had been built underground. Wildly expensive, I know. But imagine the possibilities. True rapid transit. Less surface congestion. More riders.

    I am and remain a proponent of the idea that trams can and should operate in mixed traffic in certain situations. There are times when it makes sense to devote street space to fixed guideway transport. Reintroducing trams to the streets of a crowded central city can create delays for all road users — trams included — diminishing the potential of a system such as Metrolink to reach its full capacity in terms of passengers carried and rapid transport.

    Putting trams or light rail vehicles underground in the core has worked well in many continental cities, as well as in several North American cities. London’s long-lost Kingsway tramway subway offered a glimpse of what could have been: Rapid passage through crowded central arteries with street-level operation in outlying neighbourhoods and boroughs. Boston and Philadelphia opened downtown tram tunnels more than a century ago; both remain in use today, with surface trams diving underground for a quick trip into the central areas.

    Such a facility could turn Manchester’s excellent tram network into an outstanding tram network.

    Someday, perhaps.

  5. keith says:

    Took my bus an hour to get from Piccadilly to Deansgate station…………
    Gave up at that point, went for a couple of pints, and caught the train to Flixton.
    Traffic wasn’t much better on monday night either.

  6. James McCollom says:

    Thanks for all your observations! From what I could see, Metrolink was running relatively unscathed in the city centre, though no idea how the street-running section in Eccles fared.

  7. Had to wait for half an hour for a Bury bound tram around 4.15ish at St Peter’s square> I think there was a failed tram in Altrincham and I heard about some kind of chaos up in Bury too. Also there was a weird traffic jam in Bury along Jubilee way last night about 7pm. Strange day for traffic all in all. No idea why.

  8. Pingback: First Manchester in trouble for poor punctuality | Manchester Transport blog

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