Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Old Town traffic

Prince Albert Street.
The section in the foreground could be closed to traffic.

The Council's proposals for Old Town traffic improvement includes some interesting background information:-
  • Currently a significant proportion of traffic in the Old Town is through traffic, with 40% of vehicles entering the Old Town via Ship Street leaving within five minutes
  • On a typical Saturday an average of 200 vehicles an hour drive in to the Old Town, compared with 600 pedestrians entering using East Street alone.
These are street layouts that developed long before age of the motor car and it seems inequitable that the comfort and safety of modern day pedestrians should be compromised by large numbers of cars in search of a limited  number of parking spaces. Neither is the Old Town on a through route to the nearest multi-story car park, i.e. "The Lanes" in Black Lion Street, which is accessed from King's Road.

In both its proposals A & B, the Council suggests closure of Ship Street at the North Street end. This seems an essential first step.
Option A further calls for restricted access from the seafront via Middle Street,  Ship Street & Black Lion Street; restricted access would allow for deliveries, residents, parking, taxis & emergency.
Option B allows free access from the seafront but closes to traffic the small length of Prince Albert Street between Ship Street & Black Lion Street.

As the restricted access of Option A would be difficult to enforce it seems likely that Option B would produce the most noticeable improvement for pedestrians. But one also wonders why an Option C is not on the table, i.e. Option B together with restricted access from the seafront.

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