Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A96 and Nairn road safety issues in general - the Gurn dummies discuss

Roads Fit for People video
Deregulated Roads - the Netherlands Experience video
Why Woonerfs will change the way we drive - Daily Telegraph article

For a transcript of the video:
Good morning gurrrnites on this Wednesday the twelveth of December. Hope to see you tonight at the late night shopping in Nairn. See one of the gurn posts below for more details. If you can't make it tonight then you get another chance to go round the shops next wednesday the nineteenth. They will be open until eight p m on both nights.

Also today folks we have Transport Scotland in the Courthouse to listen to your views on the A 96. They will be in the Courthouse so try and get along to that if you have any issues about the trunk road you wish to raise. 

On the A 96, the by-pass and road safety one of our regular readers who has taken an interest in these subjects has written in to say:  I'm sure there will be no shortage of people whingeing about the traffic lights and coming out with the usual refrain about the bypass being the solution to everything. I fear that won't cut much ice with the TS offficials (a bypass is anyway not within their gift - that depends on the politicians). One problem is that even though a bypass is still unfortunately a long way off, many people use the plea for a bypass as a reason not to think about doing anything else.

Our correspondent goes on to say. So I think that it would be good to see in the meantime some more creative discussion about how to alleviate (if not solve) the present problems, and also about how to do more to improve the local facilities for the non-car travellers, ie cyclists, wheelchairs, and poor old pedestrians.

Now this gurn reader has a radical proposal.  The word of the day is Woonerf. In his own words here is what oor transport mannie said: No doubt you will instantly wish to Google it. (Hint - it's a Dutch word, and it translates loosely as "shared space" or "living street"). I heard about it years ago. The Dutch have conducted experiments, and redesigned towns (one called Drachten springs to mind), around the idea of eliminating all traffic-related controls. This obliges cars, bikes, pedestrians and all to use the same roads or paved spaces.

Couldn't this be dangerous, our corespondent doesn't think so. He told us: You'd think it would be a recipe for mayhem and disaster with a massive rise in accidents and injuries. In fact the opposite is the case - and scientifically proven to be so. Accident rates drop to virtually zero, the flow of traffic improves, everyone gains.There is a huge amount of evidence of this.

And we've linked below to that evidence including you tube videos. Gurnites might think it all worth a look. Our readers suggests that obviously it is easiest to do something like this when designing a new town from scratch (Tornagrain, anyone?). But it can be adopted in existing towns where the need - and the conditions - are right. The Bristol video points at the possibilities. 

o what about here in Nairn? The mannie says: There is no reason why it could not be done in Nairn, and indeed we have an obvious opportunity to do so. Everyone seems to recognise that the present arrangements in the centre of town (the many traffic lights, the limited and ineffective crossing points, the tailbacks and congestion at rush hours and in summer) will only get worse and are unsustainable. At the same time there is a chance to reconfigure a major part of the town centre (both sides of King Street A96) because of the current discussion about development or redevelopment .   It only needs two things: imagination (which implies a willingness to experiment), and close co-operation between the local Council as planning authority, Transport Scotland as the agency responsible for the trunk road, and the local community including police and others.

Finally our reader asks: I wonder if there is any prospect of getting collective action agreed on some sort of initiative on these lines?  What do you think gurnites? Could this be worth a try in Nairn? Our editor tells us that this summer he was in Stromness and Kirkwall where the high streets are very much like this and a bit scary for the novice but the locals seemed to cope with it all. Anyway more information in the links below. Cheer-ree an drasda kar-gen

And good bye from me gurnites. he me a ree-ist shiv

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