Is monorail the future of public transport in Milton Keynes?

A mock-up of a proposed Milton Keynes monorail system
A mock-up of a proposed Milton Keynes monorail system

A LOBBY group has developed their own plans to introduce a monorail-style transport network into Milton Keynes.

More than a year after the council said they’d be looking into the possibility of Personalised Rapid Transport (PRT) in the city, lobby group Xplain has drawn up their own plans of how they’d like to see the futuristic system integrated into everyday life.

The PRT system is already in use at Heathrow airport, ferrying passengers from one area of the terminal to another.

But the Milton Keynes equivalent would differ, with the pods having a wider range of destinations available making it more like a bus-come-taxi service as users hop into the first available unit and go.

Milton Keynes, and more importantly the grid system, was designed 40 years ago with a monorail-style transport network in mind.

Linda Inoki, leader of Xplain, believes that a simple redesign of thecentre:mk could incorporate a PRT system.

“Instead of demolishing Secklow Gate, we think it would be much better to raise it,” she said.

“By elevating another section of the grid road, it’s possible to redevelop the ailing Food Centre with an attractive new complex at the very gateway to Central Milton Keynes. We want to show there is no need to choose between disrupting the grid and building new shops when, with a bit of imagination, we can have it all.”

The plan started earlier this year, when Xplain member David Stabler suggested to thecentre:mk that rather than destroy Secklow Gate and its junction with Midsummer Boulevard it would be better to link a refurbished Food Centre to the shopping building with a new plaza, including space for small retail units.

Architect Adrian Morrow expanded this idea to include a second shopping building, south of Midsummer Boulevard, reflecting the convenience and quality of the original architecture. This approach is designed to retain the city’s roads, pedestrian and cycle routes, and also relieve pressure on parking.

“It would be a superb way to travel through Central Milton Keynes,” said Mr Morrow.

“The slick, lightweight pods would run up Midsummer Boulevard from the station, deliver people straight into Midsummer Place, or towards John Lewis, Campbell Park and eventually to the Coachway or new business zones beyond.

“It’s like a moving sculpture. It would certainly complement the city’s modern architecture, and be an attraction in its own right.”

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