Saturday, 6 March 2010

A dream of the past

There's a lot of fuss going about Council plans to do things to "The centre", namely stop vehicles other than buses, taxis or bicycles getting to and from Baldwin Street.

Obviously, some people are against this, such as Robert Bull, presumably the Bob Bull of the Bristol and Somerset branch of the Association of British Drivers. Bob proposes an attractive roundabout with an attractive pedestrian crossing:
Cars need access east/west also from the south ie Baldwin street, perhaps a large traffic light controlled roundabout with attractive central area for pedestrians, wait a minute thats how it used to be
Revert to a roundabout with some attractive high level walkways for pedestrians, job done.
This is missing the point. There are no roundabouts so attractive that families pop down there for a quick picnic, nobody says "It's a sunny saturday, lets' go down to the Bearpit or the Lawrence Hill roundabout and have some sandwiches there while the kids play with a ball". There are no high-level walkways in the city that pedestrians find attractive. Nobody thinks "I will take my dog for a walk over the M32 pedestrian walkways as its more attractive than the bits of the downs that aren't used as zoo parking".

These commentators don't realise this as they do find the M32 and roundabouts attractive. These are the people who take their family on holiday up the M6, not to enjoy the lake district, but to enjoy the view from the Lancaster service station, the one with the restaurant overlooking the motorway. They do this in their beige Austin Allegro, while wearing drivers gloves and a special driving cap.

You see, those of us who have to get round the city know that bus lanes are hint, like no parking and no-entry signs. Important people can ignore them. We do! Because of that, while making more of the centre bus, taxi and bicycle only irritates us, it is only mildly inconvenient.

By pining for the old days of the roundabout, these people are fighting not just a losing battle, but an irrelevant one. And in doing so, they forget what the council really stole from us: the dual carriageway through Queen's Square to Redcliffe.

Who remembers the old days, when this was a busy, useful, dual carriageway joining up Templemeads and its flyover with the Centre? Always in use, always popular. And then one day it went away. For some years the road remained, in the park, but now even that is covered over.

We believe that the dual carriageway is still hidden under this grass, and that removing it and the parkland would return a valuable missing link to the inner city.
We don't care about bus-only signs, but the loss of a dual carriageway through heart of our city has left it crippled. Empty. Dead. Bring back what they stole from us!


Dru Marland said...

I remember my uncle Jim taking my aunt Mary off to dinner in the Forton services when they first opened, back in the days when motorways were Good, and service stations were Glam. Hard to imagine now....

SteveL said...

Wow. It's closed now; no access to the roof restaurant where you could sit and watch the cars. All the new service stations advertise their M&S deli bars and hide from the m-way. You need to stick to the old A-roads to find the Wimpy burger bars.

We always call Forton services "Chernobyl B service station" as it has that same kind of soviet engineering look, and its downwind of windscale...