So Southwold is going to address the problems of summer traffic congestion – by banning the few remaining buses that go near the high street???
I kid you not!
Not content with Beeching’s vandalism of the train service, this car-friendly, car-crammed, car addicted resort is now pandering to the needs of the visiting 4x4s that it clearly prefers to any concept of greenness, sustainable transport, car-free shopping etc etc. And – surprise, surprise – Suffolk County Council – the supposedly Greenest county – is backing them.
The EADT tells us that
“In an experimental attempt to ease congestion in Southwold High Street during the summer months, Suffolk County Council and Southwold Town Council will temporarily move a bus stop outside Chapman newsagents to the King’s Head pub in a bid to stop large vehicles clogging up the narrow shopping strip.” adding that
“While businesses opposed to the plan believe it will harm trade and discourage shoppers, supporters claim it is a sensible way to improve the notoriously bad traffic which plagues the town every summer”
Large vehicles? notoriously bad traffic? As a regular summer visitor supporting the traders of Southwold (by foot and bicycle) I should coco! But it isn’t the rare and lesser spotted bus that is to blame. Southwold needs to look first and foremost at the army of 4x4s that block the narrow shopping streets; that ‘wait’ or park illegally without thought or consideration for others wherever its most convenient for the driver to do their shopping with the minimum of legwork; that surround and invade the green spaces, and that by their very numbers befoul the healthy seaside air so much more than the occasional bus could ever do.
Southwold and District’s Safer Neighbourhood Team’s current top priorities include dealing with Unlawful parking in Southwold. It doesn’t take an Einstein to recognise that unlawful parking in the high street can cause congestion – but its hardly a problem with buses, is it?
And if – IF – the bus slows you down, who is it actually slowing? Does it slow you as a pedestrian? as a cyclist? No, it only slows you as the occupant of one of the very 4x4s that cause the problem to begin with!
Less cars and more buses is the obvious answer – but Suffolk – and most particularly Suffolk County Council’s current administration – are reluctant to accept this obvious truth. Why? Well amongst other defences for innate laziness and selfishness, Suffolk postulates that its thinly populated rural status makes an efficient public transport service impossible.
Really? I have just come back from a family reunion. Rural Norway is very (very very) expensive in comparison with the UK, and very thinly populated: 31 people per square mile as opposed to Suffolk’s 490. And guess what – public transport in Norway is cheap, efficient, effective, integrated and runs late into the night.
The difference is that, unlike the people who run Suffolk – Norwegians want a public transport service, to make sure that everyone can travel in safety and comfort. The fact that anyone caught driving with any alcohol in their system goes directly to hard labour in jail must focus the mind wonderfully! Its easy to cut down on drunk driving if you’re not allowed to drink and drive – and suitable alternatives are to hand.
When is this county going to wake up at long last and recognise once and for all that its divisive, narrow-minded, unprogressive and frankly silly desire to accommodate the needs of the selfish motorist at the expense of the unselfish others must now stop?