Catch-22 or Notes from a Small Island
By Peter Dobbs
Both books are worth a read but it is to the rather less leisurely pursuit of trying to cross a busy road in Ashbourne, Derbyshire that this title refers.
All those with concerns about the climate emergency know that we should walk or cycle wherever possible in order to reduce the amount of pollution. However what do you do when to walk means you have to cross a very busy road? To drive would be safer for you and your family but that would make the journey of those who do not have that choice or who simply want to do 'the right thing' so much more dangerous by increasing the amount of traffic.
Clifton Road Ashbourne forms part of the A515 and is estimated to carry over 12,000 vehicles per day (Ashbourne Transport Study 2018, Stage 1 Report). If you are one of the many hundreds of residents who live on the estates that lie immediately to the south of this road, then to reach the doctors, the schools, the Leisure Centre or the shops of Ashbourne you need to cross this road. To help you achieve this there is just one central refuge. Damage to the bollards on this refuge suggests that vehicles have not always managed to successfully drive around it!
There is just about enough room for an adult and a pushchair. Imagine you are a parent with a child in a buggy holding the hand of a toddler stuck on that small island as the traffic thunders by within an arms length of your child. No-one wants to stop - why should they, there is no assumed priority for pedestrians.
Surely the County Council must appreciate that this is a situation that can only end in tragedy if it is allowed to continue. Traffic levels are not forecast to fall and the population of Ashbourne is forecast to increase significantly.
At least one full pedestrian crossing, ideally a signalised one, is surely a priority for this road?
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