Councillor Val Clark’s Transport Users’ Sub-Committee is usually interesting and a
good place to learn what is in store for Bexley on the trains, on the buses and
on the roads in general; sadly last night’s meeting was a bit of a let down and
I came perilously close to falling asleep.
TfL’s bus man failed to show up. The Chairman said that made two consecutive absences so we lost the opportunity to question why bus routes that used to be operated out of Bexleyheath garage now have to travel from Dartford and because of that failed to provide a service when it snowed. Hugh Neal’s blog carried some fascinating background information on that very subject last Sunday.
The railwaymen had however turned out in force with both Network Rail and Southeastern represented. The latter gave a very detailed report on what went wrong in Lewisham on 27th February. One train broke down and nine trains were consequently halted and frozen to the ice covered non-conducting third rail.
There was little sympathy for the passengers who forced open the doors and got on to the track. There can be little doubt that their actions caused what might have been an hour’s delay to be extended to more than three. Only Cabinet Member Alex Sawyer appeared to recognise that being squashed shoulder to shoulder on a train with no toilets and no announcements because the emergency batteries did not last long enough may have something to do with the mass evacuation.
Southeastern will be paying £100 or more to delayed passengers. How can they possibly identify them?
Little of general interest was revealed during the two hour long meeting. The cycling lobbyist did not appear to be very happy with what is being done to Harrow Manorway despite the cycle tracks, the bike shelter that is to be built opposite the station and the cycling hub, whatever that might be, on the new station’s northern flank in Felixstowe Road. He wanted restrictions on parking in New Road to give cyclists a clear run up the hill.
Anyone would think that motorists have not had half their Abbey Wood parking spots taken away already. I did not detect a great deal of enthusiasm among Council officers for his ideas.
Councillor Stefano Borella had noticed, like every Bexley motorist must have done, the problems that Bexley Council has caused with its new roundabout right outside the Civic Offices. I am on record as saying I thought a roundabout would be an improvement over the previous traffic light controlled junction, but that was before I realised that Bexley Council was not going to actually get rid of the traffic lights; the roundabout is an addition and not a replacement.
The only difference is that the lights are now at the roundabout exit points and pedestrian controlled and whenever they turn red the roundabout inevitably becomes gridlocked.
Andrew Bashford who is responsible for most of the crazy road systems implemented in the name of progress said it was an improvement because the pedestrian lights only hold up the traffic for 20 seconds or so whereas the old lights did so for best part of a minute.
I think he forgot that the old lights only stopped traffic on two roads out of four whereas the new ones can hold up all four at once. Pure genius. All it needs now is the addition of a yellow box junction and their cunning plan will be completed.