Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Please get to this meeting!


Eighty four years ago, teams of labourers picked from the 1930s dole queues were put to work on the Colchester bypass — the road that was going to free the town's historic High Street of traffic.

It never did do that, of course.

In the 1970s the powers-that-be bypassed the bypass with a dual-carriageway bypass, and are now talking of widening the bypass's bypass (that's the A12; do keep up!) to take more traffic.

Today comes news that the bypassed bypass (that's the A133 Cowdray Avenue and St Andrew's Avenue) is going to need extra work ... yes, to take even more cars and provide extra space that will encourage more people to use more cars. (Did I mention that the poor bypassed and re-bypassed High Street is still full of traffic?)

You'd think that by now Essex County Council would have realised its transport planning was a little awry. For example, in the time from the building of the first bypass in 1933 to now, cycle use has gone down from 37 per cent to just six per cent.

Medical care, meanwhile, has come on by leaps and bounds but Essex Highways doesn't worry overmuch about public health, turning a blind eye to the hundreds of premature deaths in the county caused by poor air quality, and the epidemics of child obesity, diabetes and heart disease that will bankrupt the NHS by 2030.

So what can you do about it?

Kick up a fuss, that's what!

You can start by attending the public information event for updating Ipswich Road, which is being held from 4pm-7pm tomorrow (Sept 22) at The Rose & Crown Hotel, East Street.

We're sorry about the short notice but Essex doesn't like letting people know early — they may get double figures turning up.

What does CCC want to see? As this is likely to be a once-in-80-years change, we'd love to see Dutch-style roundabouts, which are being tested by the UK's road transport laboratory even though they've worked well in Holland for years and not caused jams.

The bad news is that Essex has ruled out such roundabouts and is being its usual secretive self (the Pentagon could learn lessons here) about what it is providing.

We'd also like to see cycle routes that are segregated from pedestrians and priority over side roads such as those that lead to Waitrose and Homebase.

London is leading the way with cycling provision, so why should we in Essex put up with second-best?

Please go to the meeting, ask questions and be tough on ECC officers. Hold them to account.

All that said, we may be pleasantly surprised, but we doubt it. Essex has spent 80 years  cocking up local transport and some of the dinosaurs there see no reason to change.

Will Bramhill // Sept 21

4 comments:

  1. Nice of them to hold the meeting at a time where those of us that work won't be able to make it! I'd like to see more cycle lanes that are integrated into the flow of traffic rather than the current lanes that stop and start abruptly and have to cross the other side of the road to continue or the shared foot path with a white line down the middle that seems to be favoured.

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  2. Nice of them to hold the meeting at a time where those of us that work won't be able to make it! I'd like to see more cycle lanes that are integrated into the flow of traffic rather than the current lanes that stop and start abruptly and have to cross the other side of the road to continue or the shared foot path with a white line down the middle that seems to be favoured.

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  3. I'm going. Hope to hold them (pleasantly) to account.
    Jean Quinn

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  4. On another forum, a commenter said: "So it goes to prove that for the last 84 years planners should have left well alone, built no new infrastructure and demanded we all ride bikes? What are you trying to say?"

    My response: ... that ECC and other UK councils have prioritised the car over other forms of transport. The system is out of balance. That is why so many kids are ferried to school (it's dangerous to walk and cross roads). If you provide high-quality options for short journeys, then people will be more likely to walk and bike; if you provide high-quality options for longer journeys, then they will be more likely to bus/train.

    As our road network was developed, we should have been putting in place these facilities. If you bypass a road such as High Street, why leave it open for through traffic? If you bypass a road such as Cowdray Avenue, use the temporary "relief" to install good alternative infrastructure: very shortly the traffic will expand to fill the road and you miss your chance.

    This is how kids get to school in a country with a well-planned transport system. Given our "Mum's taxi" society, is it any wonder that one in four kids leaving primary school in the UK are obese? http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/.../school%20travel

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