.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Monday, January 22, 2007

Road rage

Today's Western Mail asked the very pertinent question, 'how many more cars can the M4 take?'

As a frequent traveller on this road there is no doubt in my mind that it is struggling to cope with the sheer weight of traffic. Delays are frequent, whilst there are established bottlenecks that appear day in day out without fail. The number of accidents on this road is also worrying. Often all it takes is a change in the weather for a new set of vehicle collisions.

The paper quotes the South East Wales Transport Alliance as expressing fears of further congestion due to the number of developments underway or planned around the motorway's junctions. They may well be right. However, it is natural for investors to concentrate on the main transport links and there is often a difficult balancing job between attracting jobs and protecting long distance transport routes from locally generated congestion.

As politicians and policy-makers consider this problem I believe that it is important that they do not respond by just extending or widening the motorway. New roads have a propensity to fill up with traffic very quickly and soon begin to exhibit the same problems as those routes they are meant to relieve. That argument does not apply to a by-pass designed to relieve a beleagured community but it certainly is pertinent in relation to long-distance routes.

What needs to happen instead in my view, is that the Assembly Government needs to use more imagination in designing transport links to new developments. They should ensure that developers include access by public transport in their projects and seek to discourage car use. It is often the case that if buses or trains are frequent, reasonably priced, comfortable and clean then people will use them in preference to their cars. That is a habit which we need to establish, but it will take a significant amount of public money to achieve.
It's not just the accident rate that should bother you. The generally higher speed of cars on the M4 makes for more serious injuries. I sometimes used the "old roads", up "that hill" then past Bonvilston, past the left-turn-off for Ogmore-by-Sea and onward along "Crack Hill", the Bridgend bypass and onward west to Swansea and the Gower. More scenic, and probably faster than the M4! On second thoughts, crawling along the congest M4 is safer if one doesn't factor in the P10 particulate matter from diesel engines which seem so popular due to very high petrol prices. Save a dollar, die happy – preferably on Crack (Hill). *LOL* Though I still prefer busing (on a bendy-bus) on LSD, Lake Shore Drive, along Chicago’s gorgeous lakefront – except in Chicago’s cold winters when the potholes grow to the size of Lake Michigan and jar one’s teeth when sitting on the back seat of a long bendy-bus.
What about charging at peak times?
Yes, congestion charging is all well and good! But you better improve the public transport system in the "Cardiff Metro Area".

First by creating a viable transit system, such as "light rail" as you find in Denver, and reduce fares. Incidentally I have only seen "bendy buses" on routes that were straight (not too many turns) having seen one in Ely (Cardiff) I have to question how pratical they are.

I wonder if Plaid Cymru's solution would be to provide free bikes (like Chairman Mao) or they could bring back the Sinclair C5 ;/!!?
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?