Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Another Brick in the Wall

“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.”.


Anonymous said...

I think the mother who takes her son to Chatham House exemplifies the problem; I, too, went to Chatham House from Westgate all my school days and cannot remember ever being taken by my parents - I went by bus!

DrMoores said...

I went to my first school in Ramsgate by train, aged 9 or 10 and the Charles Dickens after that, by train as well. I'm not sure that I would be prepared anymore to send a child of mine by public transport because of the potential risks. Simply seeing the anti-social kids from the "home" at Westgate station - they don't go to school - every day, intimidating the younger children is one very good reason for not using public transport and the riot on the bus this week is another. Sure, we had the occasional brawl, if you call it that with boys from other school but but it never went further than a couple of punches and normally involved nothing more than shouting. Today, it's a much nastier environment for children with the added risk of mugging for mobile phones and paedophiles. Are yu surprised that parents would rather drive their children to school if they possibly can?

Anonymous said...

Trouble is it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. If all the decently behaved people seal themselves up in cars then the public transport system is surrendered to the yobs at certain times. What a loss of freedom that represents.

Similarly, not sure there are more paedophiles about these days, we may simply acknowledge and read about their existence more. There were certainly people in my village when younger that we were expected to give a wide berth.

Chris Wells

Anonymous said...

Damned if I'd sacrifice the safety of my children on the altar of political correctness just to prove your point.
Incidentally, there are now many more paedophiles who are prepared to ACT OUT their perversions. It is easier for them to do so with the internet etc and the fact that the law rarely, if ever catches up with them unless they actually kill. In the not too distant past, paedophiles couldn't act out their ideas as easily because obtaining material involved being known and there was a good chance of being discovered. When caught they would get a kicking and in the nick the other inmates would make their lives hell.
Its not so much a case of numbers, its the increased activity and violence. Also you say "give them a wide berth." At least you knew who they were. Nobody will tell us anything and TDC also seems happy to import extra perverts from all over England.
You wonder why we are probably a little paranoid about our kid's safety!!!

B of Birchington said...

Also they can be whisked away by car or van too easily. I would not feel safe letting a child of mine to travel thus.
People in high places continually keep getting priorites upside down.
As for Westwood Cross. Horse before cart springs to mind.

James Maskell said...

I agree with Chris here. There are probably aroundabout the same number of paedophiles in this country, its just that due to FOI legislation, we are able to know more about it. That creates the impression that there wasnt much to begin with and these sickos have suddenly appeared out of nowhere, which isnt quite accurate.

The same thing happens with crime stats. We can never know what the real trend is with crime as there is a large proportion of crimes simply not reported. We can estimate is but its just that...a guess.

Anonymous said...

I spent half my working life, waiting for the authorities to complete the Thanet way, this is despite the fact that many economically active residents of Thanet have to work outside the area to get a living wage so as we are newcomers to gridlock, I'm convinced that a council that allows a major retail development to be built without any improvement in the road system will presumably bury their heads in the sand until well after most of us are dead and buried.

Just as an afterthought, where are our local police force could they not direct traffic as clearly some of our road conditions might benefit from their intervention.

Anonymous said...

I am probably the least politically correct person you will ever meet. However, as someone pointed out to me recently, even if you dont like political correctness, because it is politically correct, it does not mean it is wrong! We get the relative risks of many things out of proportion, mainly when the consequences of getting it wrong are so potentially horrendous.

WE must find ways to put fewer cars on the road and better used public transport.

Chris Wells

James Maskell said...

One of the annoying things is that some people love to say that going on public transport is great and saves money and is just as good and advocate its use, but when it comes down to it, are they going to sacrifice their car for it? You'd be hard pressed to find many people. Its certainly not a majority. That mentality really needs to change drastically before things really improve.

Its hardly like we have non-existent public transport is it?