Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Please get to this meeting!
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