Little Consultation = Congestion

First published in Steve Cross Hampshire Chronicle: Photograph of the Author by

They’re really quite simple things that we tend to ignore, indeed just made up of a bit of metal and little bit of information, but one bus stop in central Hampshire is causing a lot of people to get particularly hot under the collar.

West Street in Alresford has had a bus stop for as long as I can remember, but Winchester City Council has recently taken up the challenge of changing a part of the street furniture the town’s people were quite happy with.

On either side of the two carriageways, there is another road width, for shoppers and workers to park up and down West Street. When a bus came along, it would just pull in, where it had a space reserved marked “Bus Stop” (you know exactly what it looks like – there are loads everywhere). No trouble caused.

But now, the City Council decided to spend some of our hard earned cash, and play around with the bus stop! It now covers the width of the car parking space, bringing pavement all the way to the road. This looks quite beautiful, lovely sweeping slabs, beautifully placed together forming a pathway those with walking sticks and buggies will really appreciate.

Before, people wishing to get on the bus had to step down from path, onto the street jump aboard, and there is now complete disabled access for ‘low-floor’ buses, I totally understand. Excellent news for all!

The unfortunate problem now is that buses stop on the street, which is usually very busy each way, and a bit of nightmare when the traffic lights between the florist and the post office turn red. If you’ve got people crossing the road, and getting onto the bus (don’t underestimate how long it takes people to board a bus), you get a nice little bit of congestion, at least once an hour between 8am and 5pm.

No problem, you say? We all get congestion? True. But this is a small Georgian town. And, when we have emergency vehicles going through at a rate of around one ambulance and three police cars a day, this does cause a problem. Especially if it is an emergency.

So, people in Alresford are complaining. They even want it dug up. Yes, because they disagree, but also because they weren’t consulted. If the City Council wants to change the town, you’re really supposed to ask the residents if it’s a good idea first.

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