Wednesday, 7 May 2014

And so the confusion begins…

IT has started already and there are some very confused visiting motorists out there.
Weymouth’s much vaunted new traffic system – the one so called transport experts say is easy and they don’t know what all the fuss is about – is already dismaying tourists and other summer newcomers.

They aren’t traffic experts but they know what they’re used to and they certainly aren’t used to a traffic light system designed by someone on magic mushrooms.

In just a few days I came across not one but FOUR examples of motorists left so muddled they had completely lost their way.

The first involved the King Street lights which proved too much for the driver of a large people carrier who, torn between two lanes to take him up King Street and another two lanes to take him up Commercial Road, hedged his bets and opted to wait parked at 45 degrees across both routes!

The second incident involved Mr and Mrs Argument who, so confused by the notorious Boot Hill-Asda junction, just stopped driving altogether in the middle of the junction to rail at each other about which was the correct way to proceed forward. They may still be there.

Thirdly – at the same jolly junction – seasoned campaigners of this blot on the traffic landscape derived a certain enjoyment from watching two drivers slowly meet head on, fortunately without damage. The humour came from watching them try to work out who should give way so they both stood some chance of survival.

Finally, my heart goes out to the nervous tourist who actually stopped me as I was walking in to town past the old fire station site.

She wound her window down and asked me if I could help. Did she perhaps want to go to the attractions at Lodmoor, maybe the Pavilion, Portland or the RSPB centre?

No, she actually said this: “Sorry to bother you but we came through this junction last night and I’ve forgotten how to do it. Is it that little bit in the middle to go to Dorchester?”

I did my best and then watched as she bravely inched her way through the traffic light minefield and successfully reached Westwey Road. And we’re told this system is simple!

How town bus prices have changed

NEARLY a century ago the then Prince of Wales visited Upwey Wishing Well in Weymouth to taste the waters.

Drop in at the modern day tearooms there and you can see any amount of photographs of his visit and memorabilia of the age including one poster advertising charabanc rides from Weymouth out to the well and back.

It was a nostalgic whiff of times gone by and of prices gone by as well.

Incredibly, the cost in those days for a return trip was the princely sum of one shilling. That’s five pence to you and me in new money.

Stack that up against modern, shorter single bus trips in to town for the best part of £2 – about eighty times the cost of the charabanc ticket – and it makes me wonder what passengers all those years ago would make of modern prices.

When is an illegally parked car not illegally parked?

I HAVE recently discovered a possible answer to the age old question, when is an illegally parked car not an illegally parked car.

The answer would appear to be when it’s a Bank Holiday in Weymouth.

Organisers trying to set up the annual Quayside Music Festival near Town Bridge found themselves forced to work round a car parked in a bay just feet from notices warning that the event was taking place, that parking was not allowed there during it and that vehicles would be towed away if drivers ignored the warning.

So you can imagine the frustration of organisers when one driver parked in such a bay...but escaped both a parking ticket and an immediate towaway.

The answer turned out to lie with its location in a tiny section of private road which meant traffic wardens couldn’t touch it.

Worse, organisers couldn’t get it towed away because parking wardens didn’t control that function which was operated by a different council department which wasn’t working that day!

As one organiser told me, they wouldn’t have paid hundreds of pounds for a scheme for the festival which included a towaway facility if they’d known they couldn’t get cars towed away for breaching the “No Parking” notices. Music definitely wasn’t “the food of love” in this situation!

Pleasure pier is in need of makeover

TAKE a walk out along the Pleasure Pier in Weymouth and you don’t have to go too far to see its face needs make up applied by the trowel full.

Metal piling is heavily rusted and various areas of concrete are either badly cracked or have crumbled away altogether to be replaced by crude repairs.

Much has been written about the state of quay areas in Weymouth, but I wonder what the true picture is for the whole harbour area.

It is not something people see a lot of since pilings are usually below their feet or viewed from a distance while the structural concrete work, by its very nature, often supports what they are walking on, but the signs of wear and tear are there for anyone who takes the trouble to look.

It is therefore perhaps just as well that the town’s relationship with the Environment Agency has sharply improved because I think Weymouth will need all the help it can get with future flood protection and harbour maintenance work.


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