The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.

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6:06pm on Sunday, 8th April, 2007:



As I've mentioned before, my home town has two roads north/south, three roads east/west and four exits. The four exits all lead off from the westernmost of the two north/south roads, as the other north/south road is alongside the sea front and where it once led has long since fallen into the sea in both directions. The presence of a large lake (the largest in Yorkshire) to the immediate west of the town means there's no way to go round the town centre if you want to get from one side to the other. You have to go through it. In particular, unless you're a local who knows to take the first east/west road, then the sea front north/south road, then the third east/west road, you're going to have to cross through the busiest junction: the one from the central east/west road to the western north/south road.

It is therefore essential that traffic flows through this junction smoothly, especially on days when there are lots of people heading to coastal resorts, as they might do on, oh, let's say EASTER SUNDAY. What you don't want is for there to be STUPID TRAFFIC LIGHTS that only allow traffic to go through in one of the three directions at a time. Why, if you did that, traffic might back up FIVE MILES on the two roads that enter town from the north, jamming the centres of the next villages. It could be so ridiculously long that it might lead to a tailback blocking the entrance to a major Sunday market so that people trying to leave town got stuck behind TREACLE-SLOW TRAFFIC for 40 MINUTES from people trying to turn right into the market. That one, badly thought-out traffic light could mean people who were trying to leave town could take an HOUR to travel 14 MILES. Not that this happened to me today — oh, except it DID HAPPEN TO ME TODAY.

As it happens, the sea front road, while cut off by coastal erosion to the south, does extend a couple of miles to the north before it gets too close to the cliff to continue. Between it and one of the two exits to the north is a field. It would make glorious sense to build a road connecting the two, so that local traffic could get to the sea front road earlier and avoid having to wait in a 5-mile line of painfully crawling cars before they could get to the first of the existing east-west roads and escape. This is especially the case given that there is an existing road, put there by constructors while they built a new housing estate, which people would happily use if it were actually legal to do so.

Making sense has nothing to do with road traffic arrangements, though, so all offers by construction companies to add extra infrastructure roads to support the rapid expansion of the town have been turned down. Apparently, people who live on under-used roads don't want the extra traffic that connecting them to civilisation would bring. I bet they complain just like everyone else when they try to leave town to the north on a Sunday, though...

Earlier this year, the coastal road three villages further up the coast was taken by the sea.

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Copyright © 2007 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).