Driver ‘abandons car’ after getting stuck in traffic for three hours

A driver “abandoned” her car after getting stuck in traffic for three hours in a city centre.

The woman, who has asked to stay anonymous, was returning home from a meeting but the “tiny journey” became an ordeal due to congestion in the heart of Manchester on Wednesday March 1 at around 5pm. That evening, Manchester United played at nearby Old Trafford in the FA Cup.

Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, the woman says traffic wardens have told her the congestion is a regular occurrence.

After the woman became frustrated, she parked on a side street to stretch her legs and hope the traffic would have died down but, upon her return to her car, it was still busy.

“I parked on St John Street and walked down. An hour later, I came back and the traffic was worse. I came back [again] at 7pm. I thought 5pm was too early for it to be rush hour and for it to still be going on then was strange.

“The traffic warden said they’ll try to let people move. It took me 40 minutes to get off St John Street to Quay Street and another 10 minutes on to Gartside Street. I got there at 5pm and I got my car home at almost 8pm. It’s a really tiny journey, it’s insane.”

The woman, who has lived in the area for several years, has pointed to recent changes to Bridge Street, which now has a “bus gate” so private cars need to turn left on to Gartside Street and right on to Quay Street to leave the city, and Blackfriars Road as causes of the issue.

She added: “How many hours is that with fumes? It’s crazy. There is such a lack of joined-up thinking. I had to waste £6 on parking and my time. Why is that okay?

“I pay so much in Council Tax, it’s £2,500 per year for a council that is not making things right in the city for me. I have written about the Deansgate [one way scheme] to relay my concerns and no one gets back to you.”

Although town is notoriously busy on match days, the MEN spoke to several drivers who use vehicles for work on Quay Street on Tuesday. Most reported lengthy queues.

“It’s taken me 35 minutes from the top of Quay Street,” said one man in a construction van at the bottom of the street. Another added: “It’s been 45 minutes from the start of Byrom Street to here. Usually we finish early, but today we had to stay. The traffic is horrendous. There’s too many cars and roadworks.”

Two staff in a delivery van said: “We were turning left for 10 minutes from Deansgate to Quay Street. Mondays and Fridays are always worse.” An Uber driver also expressed his frustration: “It’s only been five or six minutes, but I am just trying to get to a job. Everybody is coming out, and there’s road works.”

When asked if there were plans to alleviate congestion on Quay Street, a Manchester City Council spokesperson said: “As the Council has previously said on a number of occasions a wide programme of works is currently under way in the city centre looking at how provision for walking, wheeling and cycling can be implemented.

“The Council has worked in partnership with Salford City Council and TfGM to bring about these changes. As with all highways projects, minor and major alike, there will be a bedding in process as motorists get used to new road layouts and adapt to the new network.”

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