“Nightmare” is an expression I heard this evening to describe the traffic problem now facing Thanet. One parent, who has to take her son to Chatham house in Ramsgate from the direction of Birchington and Westgate, commented that during the rush-hour it’s becoming close to impossible.
I recall that when I moved back to Thanet three years ago, the traffic was a welcome change from South West London and the infamous Wandsworth one-way system. Today, we’re close to having one of our own and all we need is a Ken Livingstone as Mayor to give us a congestion charge too.
I don’t know what the solution is but in my opinion, even the best laid plans of KCC are unlikely to be able to address the problem of a rapidly expanding Westwood “locking-up” the two main arteries of Thanet. Put another way, Thanet now has a bad case of Angina and on days like today, it’s having the occasional heart attack.
If you could see what I can see from the air, as Westwood Cross ‘Phase Two’ starts to take shape, you’d be equally worried. It’s not that I’m against Westwood, I love the convenience of having all have the stores closer to home; trouble is that on days like Easter Saturday, it’s very difficult to get there, with the traffic jam starting at B&Q lights on the Margate road and the inevitable “shunt” on the Westwood Cross roundabout because so many local drivers haven’t a clue as to who has right of way on a roundabout.
Throw in more stores and more homes on the island and you’ve got a recipe for disaster without an integrated and efficient public transport network and simply crossing my own road in the mornings is now difficult enough because of the noticeable increase in traffic flow.
So what are we to do, develop ad infinitum, pouring concrete regardless of the impact on our community? How do we achieve a balance between local economic benefit and quality of life? However, if it carries on as it has been doing, I know one person who won’t be staying around to watch as Thanet is “bricked-up.”.