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Chris Lale's Blog
  • Pedestrian accidents could be avoided

    A local resident recently reported seeing a pedestrian accident on Cullum Road. This, once again, raises the issue of speed limits in the town.

    A few years ago, after the horrific crash in Kings Road, I tried to get the Council to put up signs for a 20mph speed limit in Kings Road. They carried out a survey which showed that the average speed was around 24mph. They would not consider a 20 mph limit unless traffic speed was already less than 20. A case of catch 22!

    However, they did agree to introduce parking bays on either side of the road, but staggered. This has reduced traffic flow but also average speed. It was an effective solution based on design, not regulation.

    A design-based approach to the problems in Cullum Road/Parkway might be to develop "safe routes" for pedestrians and cyclists. The charity Sustrans takes this view. Its web site (http://www.sustrans.org.uk) says: "designers should look for opportunities to give priority to cyclists and pedestrians, minimise delay and maximise the safety and comfort of non-motorised users". This might involve a culture change for some people, but I think the Council should take this approach seriously.

    Tags Hardwick:
  • Transport infrastructure is at the end of the queue

    I was disappointed to see that the master plan for the Abbots Vale development does not rectify the flaws of its predecessors. The new 1250 home development between Nowton Park and the A14 includes a new major A134 relief road. The new road does not go around the residential area at all. Instead, it brings heavy traffic right through the middle of the housing area, splits the local shopping development in two and runs right alongside the new primary school.

    The proposed cycleways are unconvincing. You would expect them to radiate out from important destinations such as the school, shopping centre and bus stops. Instead, they appear to be fitted in at random. If you wanted to cycle into Bury town centre, you would be better to ignore the cycleways altogether and use Rushbrooke Lane instead.

    The main vehicle access to Abbots Vale will be via the Rougham Hill roundabout (part of the infamous traffic bottleneck stretching back from the A14 to the Cullum Road roundabout). The “relief” road spills out its traffic here - not actually at the A14. Congestion will be further increased by yet another ground level pedestrian crossing and traffic lights on the roundabout. And what about the extra traffic generated by the new homes, shops and school?

    Before this goes any further Bury needs a serious, fit-for-purpose road, cycle and pedestrian infrastructure plan, preferably drawn up using the advice of someone who actually drives, cycles and walks around the town.

    Tags Hardwick:
  • Another service under threat

    Bury tries hard to attract visitors. Bury in Bloom and the Bury Festival, for example, help to raise the profile of the town and make it a place people want to visit. Tourists and shoppers are good for the local economy and their presence helps to generate jobs.

    The Tourist Information Centre on Angel Hill has been an important driver of tourism for many years. But if you pay it a visit today you will not find it very welcoming. In fact, it is closed. Notices in the windows suggests that you go to the Apex instead. What is going on?

    On the way to the Apex, there is not much to suggest the presence of tourist information. However, when you arrive, the front of the ticket desk does now sport the additional words "Tourist Information". So what happens if you ask for tourist information rather than ticket information? It seems that the ticket clerks themselves now double in the role of tourist information advisor.

    Many people seem to accept this constant degradation and cutting of services - perhaps because they think it is the price to pay for the freezing of the level of council tax over the last few years. The fact is that the reason that Council Tax has not gone up is because the Coallition Government pays an extra grant to local authorities so that they can maintain spending without raising Council Tax. So what is the reason for closing the Tourist Information Centre on Angel Hill? What is the justification? It seems to be another example of the sort that the Taxpayers' Alliance recently called "bonkers".