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Saturday, 2 June 2012

Traffic Calming and Other Fallacies

Traffic Calming and other fallacies…

Since our village had the grand road-widening of the A470, the law of unintended consequences has been at work. Instead of east / west traffic going on the east / west road, it now travels on the south / north road which is quicker and then it zips off past our bloody house.

As a town planner by trade, I know that NIMBYism is a bad thing, but I am miffed that my kids are having to walk along a three foot pavement bordered by brambles on one side and massive lumber wagons going 50mph on the other. It just doesn’t allow for any errors: a moment’s lack of concentration as a one stops to admire a slug, and things could go horribly wrong.

However, the powers that be are on to it and have stuck a sign that flashes up “30” if you approach it faster than 30mph. Great, I thought. It’s too far within the 30mph limit and on the wrong side of the road as far as I’m concerned, but nevertheless, it’s a start. But after a few days, it was clear that something else seemed to be happening: cars seemed to be approaching even faster. Finally I twigged that it was the fun of blasting as far as the sign and making it beam its, “OY! 30, I said!”.After cars have triggered the light, then then start to slow down and I can just imagine the drivers chuckling to themselves and feeling all young and wreckless for those precious few seconds.

Sitting in our kitchen at night now is like sitting in a post-modern art gallery. The place is dressed like Tracy Emin’s teenage kitchen with rotten food tumbling out of a bin in the corner and dirty tea-towels on the floor, and at annoyingly irregular intervals, a bright light flashes, “30” across the walls.

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