WEEKEND WEB: Solutions being sought for traffic jams
This week’s CABINET CALL is written by Coun Roger Gambba-Jones.
People may have noticed rubber strips running across some roads when driving or walking around Spalding recently.
These have been put in place by Lincolnshire County Council, which is collecting traffic flow data as part of the Spalding Western Relief Road (SWRR) project.
Thriving districts need good road networks to support business and create jobs, so this is an important project, not just for Spalding, but for South Holland.
However, the SWRR is a long way off completion and is not a solution to the everyday issues drivers experience at peak times in Spalding town centre itself – with the number of traffic lights being a common complaint.
We can’t alter the fact that more rail freight traffic also means increased use of level crossings. Regrettably, some drivers are showing their frustration, recklessly disregarding their own safety, that of other motorists and, worse still, pedestrians.
Queue jumping when a level crossing is closed is becoming common at several locations.
Jumping the queue at the top of Park Road, to turn right into Winsover Road, when there were a just couple of cars in front of you, has been a risky, if fairly common, practice for some time.
However, some drivers are now doing this when there are 20, or 30 cars in front of them – and at high speed.
Apart from the risk of meeting another driver coming from the other direction, there is also the real danger that a pedestrian, such an elderly person, or somebody pushing a baby buggy, could be crossing the junction.
I also fear for the safety of children on bikes in particular – we all know how some of them can lack road sense.
It’s unlikely any of these queue-jumping drivers will ever be caught in the act, so the best we can hope for is to find ways to improve the existing road network and reduce levels of frustration.
A recent news item highlighted the possibility of trialling the closure of one end of Swan Street.
This would allow one set of traffic lights to be switched off, improving the snail’s pace of traffic in that part of town. This is proposed for a temporary period of 12 or 18 months and then subject to a formal consultation.
Not everyone will agree with these measures – and I know at least one letter writer who didn’t.
But if we don’t try such low-cost solutions, then not only will things fail to improve, they will most certainly get worse. If you agree that we need something doing sooner rather than later, then please consider writing to your county councillor, or the County Council’s highways department on the subject.