I write as a frustrated motorist who wishes to be able to travel freely and safely, within the specified legal speed limits.
However more and more I am faced with delays caused by what may reasonably be described as poor planning.
Roads are deliberately designed with pinch points that actually move oncoming traffic closer to each other.
Roads are strategically narrowed - T junctions from side streets are made to intrude into more major carriageways and bus lay-bys are becoming things of the past.
It would appear that, in Hasland a section of the new, rehabilitated road layout now under construction is being made narrower, at the bus stop. Hopefully this will not negate too much of the improvement (re)gained by re-establishing the roundabout at the expense of the costly bottleneck traffic lights at Hasland Green.
Bus lay-bays that allowed traffic to progress when a bus stopped have, over the years been filled in. Now, when buses stop the stream of traffic is forced to a halt. Perhaps it is thought that this punishment will encourage private motorists to give up their vehicles and take a bus. Maybe, but many journeys, though theoretically possible by public transport would take an inordinate amount of time – time which is precious to all!
Common sense analysis suggests that a fresh look should be taken at road planning in particular. I hesitate to use the hackneyed cliché ‘Blue Sky Thinking’ but it may appeal to those who refer to solid lumps placed in the road as speed ‘cushions’. These ‘bus friendly’ (another hackneyed cliché) pieces of street furniture are, if anecdotal evidence is to be believed, responsible for the increased wear and tear on the suspension units of vehicles that are unable to avoid them.
If it were possible to prove without reasonable doubt that such measures really do save lives then we private motorists would be more than willing to personally bear the extra financial costs associated with repairs to our vehicles. However, it is possible that some motorists will be unaware of the damage to their cars or simply unable to afford the additional repair costs thrust upon them. It is easy to see that in these cases accidents and injuries might ensue that have their origins in the very measures designed to reduce speed and therefore accidents. I do not advocate anyone speeding, especially in built-up areas but measures such as ‘cushions’ or badly designed ramps across the whole road are an imperfect means of reducing speed. In other situations traffic is throttled by effectively narrowing the lanes. Where bollards are placed in the centres of roads, sometimes at the end of private driveways the motorists wishing to do no more than turn onto their property effectively become part of the traffic calming measures. Received wisdom suggests that such measures as bollards feature in ‘robust’ statistics that indicate lives have been saved by them. I am tempted to ask the authors of these statistics to produce those whose lives have been saved but that would clearly be impossible and silly. Travel is often not an option; it is a fact of life.
At a time when ever more houses are being built in the area I would ask planners to consider the quality of the lives of new and established communities as they travel around what is probably the best county in the UK.