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Sunday, 22 February 2015

County Council Needs To Rethink Decision to Move Crossing on Cymbeline Way

The crossing on Cymbeline Way
The saga of the Cymbeline Way pedestrian crossing rumbles on. Firstly it was proposed by Essex County Council that the crossing should be scrapped altogether. Then it was announced that the crossing will be moved instead (a process which could cost up to £35,000 of council tax payers money). Rodney Bass, the county councillor responsible for highways, is rightly concerned about the level of traffic congestion affecting Colchester. However proposals such as this, and the idea of reversing the direction of traffic on Priory Street, are eccentric, knee-jerk and risk creating more problems than they solve.
 The crossing is a vital link for cyclists and pedestrians travelling from Lexden and Prettygate to Colchester North railway station, Colchester General Hospital and the Turner Rise retail park. It is also a route used by students walking to St Helena School and Colchester Institute. Without the crossing, there will be the risk of people cutting across anyway and getting knocked down. Last year someone was injured doing just this because the traffic lights were not working. The last thing we need is a school pupil getting knocked down because the council have moved the crossing. The risk should not be taken.
Mr Bass has been accused in some quarters of having an anti-pedestrian and anti-cycling agenda. Personally I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, however it seems to me to be a no-brainer that if you want to reduce traffic congestion then you need to be encouraging more cycling, more walking and more use of public transport.
The main cause of traffic congestion is too many cars on the road.  Its hardly rocket science. 
In Colchester this has been amplified by the massive growth of the town. Over development, over reliance on the car, not enough cycle-lanes, lousy public transport.... these are the issues which Essex County Council need to be addressing. Moving the crossings and turning Priory Street into a rat run are panic proposals by crisis managers who have failed to plan ahead. The solution lies in forward planning, more emphasis on cycling, walking and public transport.

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