Tag: vroom

Who is he representing?… yet again

As I’ve said before, Mr Montaut puts political posturing above representing those in Central ward where he is a councillor. Mr Greenhalgh has suggested putting up cameras at road junctions to catch those jumping red lights. Mr Montaut’s response? He claims speed cameras would be more effective.

The idea of red light cameras is an interesting one and I’m sure it would have an effect but the problem is that they will not be situated in the areas which are accident blackspots, which is where we need to be focusing our attention. The fixed speed cameras were put in positions which were accident blackspots in order to make those areas safer.

I’ll leave aside for the moment that it’s an odd belief that the only way to make an accident blackspot safe is to put up a speed camera. I’ll also let pass the wasteful idea that cameras should be placed where most accidents happen rather than where they will be most effective.

For the moment, just think about the roads in central Swindon. Most of them are slow speed — the traffic is too heavy for anyone to get anywhere near the speed limit for much of the day. However, there are a large number of traffic light controlled junctions, some of which already have cameras installed. By following his party’s line, Mr Montaut seems to value the safety in the ward he’s meant to represent less than he does in the suburbs in which he himself lives.

Jam tomorrow

It must seem like an unfortunate bit of timing for the blue nest councillors controlling Swindon Borough Council that, whilst they are attempting to axe the Park & Ride bus service, for a claimed saving of £331,000, that unnecessary and unelected bureaucracy known as the South West Regional Assembly has decided to chuck £150M in the direction of Swindon for transport improvements. Our developers’ poodle, Mr Bawden, seems pleased with this outcome, despite the embarrassment that it might cause his colleagues. The expenditure includes £22M and £111M for phases 1 & 2 respectively of the Swindon Rapid Transit Network. Phase 1 concentrates on ‘traffic management’ — so more roundabouts and traffic lights. Phase 2 concentrates on public transport.

Development of a two tier public transport network with rapid transit corridors; increase in bus routes covering most areas of Swindon; exploring technology options for rapid transit corridor.

Both phases claim to address the issue of ‘Existing P&R schemes under utilised.’ If the current administration in Swindon gets its way, they won’t just be under utilised; they’ll be non-existent.

Crossing the road

It seems some people in Pinehurst are surprised to discover that, if you break parking regulations, you might be punished. In one case, even after fifteen parking tickets in just over one year, the message has not got through.

It’s really irritating people now. Where are we supposed to park? If we park on our side of the road we get tickets.

Clearly, not on their side of the road, which has double yellow lines. Nor for that matter on the footpath, as appears to be the case in the Adver’s photograph.

It’s strange as well as someone seems to be blacking out these double yellow lines. Then the council comes out and paints it up again.

What do they expect? An approach where anyone with a pot of black paint and a brush can park wherever they like?

The residents on the other side of the road can park outside their homes but we can’t. I really hope a solution can be found.

Try crossing the road. This isn’t the densest area of housing and most houses in the street — including some in this terrace — have off-road parking. A quick look at some aerial photographs shows a relatively clear street, except for this little group with their cars parked up on the footpath.

How to kick a manufacturer when they’re down

Car manufacturers parking-up vast numbers of new vehicles is nothing new. In previous economic downturns, many disused airfields have been filled with unsold cars. So, natually, the Adver’s reporting of Honda’s planning application to store cars at Wroughton Airfield, is a piece of calm writing about current economic problems over-the-top sensationalism.

HONDA is planning to dump nearly 7,000 cars in an area of outstanding natural beauty.

The cars will be guarded round the clock and wrapped in plastic: doesn’t seem much like dumping to me. Yes the airfield is within the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), but it hardly fits that description itself. Filling the runways with 6,600 cars will only be noticeable to those flying overhead. (The runways aren’t visible from Barbury Castle, though the hangars are.) Fifteen car transporter round-trips each day will be more apparent (about one every 24 minutes), but it’s not as though they’ll be travelling along quiet country lanes.

And in one of those bizarre outcomes that only planning regulations can produce, the portacabin where a security guard will sit is to be painted white or grey ‘to reduce visibility within the AONB’. Clearly, on a runway filled with cars — also to be covered in grey plastic — and surrounded by old hangars, the colour of one small portacabin is vital to keep the place pretty.

Topic of the week… again

Once again, one story has outshone all others in Swindon this week: Swindon Borough Council’s decision to withdraw from the Wiltshire and Swindon Safety Camera Partnership. In amongst all the political ya-boo politics, it’s been noticeable that both Mr Wills and Ms Snelgrove have moderated the tone of their views, though only a little.

As it became that the council was not going to back down, that there was more to this than just political grandstanding, in addition to stating their opposition, they added something else. That it was up to the council to show that its new plans for road safety would be more effective than staying in the camera partnership. Which is what the discussion should have been about all along. And with Swindon having just three fixed speed cameras for its contribution of over £300,000, will that really be so difficult to achieve?

Who is he representing?

Central Swindon has a parking problem. The residents parking zones have insufficient space for the residents and it isn’t helped by non-residents parking where they shouldn’t. Since the council took over responsibility for enforcement of parking regulations from the police, the rules have been far more rigorously applied, far more wardens employed.

Surely a good thing for central Swindon then? Not according to Mr Montaut. Rather than representing his Central ward residents, he seems, once again, more interested in political point scoring, finding it objectionable for Swindon Borough Council to collect fines even though he is content when they go to central government.

It’s about time Mr Montaut remembered he was elected to represent this ward, not his party.

Topic of the week

Having ignored the story when it was first reported, and again later, it’s probably no surprise that I don’t have strong views as to whether Swindon should or should not be part of the Wiltshire & Swindon Safety Camera Partnership. I don’t have any sympathy for anyone that gets caught speeding: if you break the law and get caught, tough. I do care about my money being used in the most effective way and like many I’m not convinced that cameras are as good a road safety measure as some would make out — but that doesn’t mean I want to get rid of all of them.

What has been most disappointing about all of this and has, I suspect, done nothing for the reputation of either Mr Bluh or Ms Snelgrove and her entourage, is the rapid descent into petty politicking. The willingness of Ms Snelgrove to distort the facts behind the current state of speed cameras in Swindon and the effects of their removal hardly befits someone accusing her opponents of ‘playing politics with lives’. (And who other than Ms Snelgrove could regard something as a stealth tax if money goes to local government but not a stealth tax whilst it goes to central government?)

The original motion at last November’s council meeting proposing withdrawal from the safety camera partnership was itself laden with party political point scoring. To respond in a similar, but worse, manner just helps to lower the already poor reputation that politicians, and Ms Snelgrove in particular, already have.

An invitation to get run over

Earlier this summer, Westcott Place was re-surfaced. When a special high-visibility, high-grip road surface was aded at the site of the school crossing patrol near the entrance to Robert le Kyng School, I thought it might indicate that there was to be an upgrade to a proper pedestrian crossing, but that hasn’t happened. The re-surfacing work was completed, just in time for Westcott Place to serve as a diversionary route during the works on Kingshill. School term started. The crossing patrol did not resume. So now there are road markings to maybe hint that traffic should slow and give way and pavement marking to encourage children to cross here, but nothing to ensure that either actually happen.

Driving lessons

It is difficult sometimes to understand the reasoning of those running consultations for Swindon Borough Council. For the consultation on the North Swindon Transport Strategy, which is actually about transport between North Swindon and the town centre, of the three days Halcrow have selected for exhibitions, the only one at a time when many will be able to attend (i.e. at the weekend) is in North Swindon. The exhibitions in the areas most affected by the proposals (Gorse Hill and West Swindon) were on ‘working’ days. Not that the strategy actually seems to amount to much: the only major proposal is two extend Thamesdown Drive along a line near to the River Ray to a junction with Great Western Way, and the whole strategy is dependent on the government contributing &pound100 million. Perhaps those stuck in the jams should consider hitching a lift on the back of one of the pigs flying overhead.

Even harder to understand is the Adver’s choice of a photograph of current congestion in South Swindon to illustrate their story.

Parking the buck

Having done a fairly rapid U-turn last year when their new residents’ parking policy of one permit per house ran into strong public opposition, Swindon Borough Council is having another go. This year’s policy appears to be blatant buck-passing.

A Residents’ Parking Advisory Group made up of elected members will also represent the wishes of locals. It is said to be one of the first of its kind in the country.

Strange… I was sure I already had some elected representatives. They’re called councillors.