Wednesday, 18 June 2014

A total rethink is needed

WARNING after warning has gone unheeded and now the dangers predicted for Weymouth’s new traffic light system are starting to happen.

The town’s previous network of roundabouts did grind to a halt at peak summer periods but worked well enough for the rest of the year, yet authorities drunk on an Olympic cocktail of work they crowed was cramming 20 years of “improvements” into a single year ripped all the roundabouts out and put a widely hated traffic light system in its place.

So those same authorities shouldn’t be too surprised that drivers who dislike spending more than two entire days of their life each year stuck in their cars waiting for the new system’s lights to change are trying to cut down on that time.

The result is seeing thousands of drivers hurl their cars over the lights on yellow or even red, sometimes barely getting across before the next queue of drivers roars across the junction.

Police have already warned about the “racetrack” mentality the system is producing and it all came to a head with the first real burst of summer season traffic.

Drivers leaving town across the Swannery Bridge and waiting at the lights to cross over in to Abbotsbury Road found angry drivers coming down Weymouth Way were jumping the lights in a frustrated attempt to get in to Westwey Road.

But traffic was backed up from the Boot Hill-Asda lights so they suddenly found themselves forced to a halt in the middle of the Abbotsbury Road junction which meant waiting traffic couldn’t move an inch even when lights turned to green.

A few conciliatory waves and sheepish grins did little to cool tempers and the situation climaxed with blocked motorists actually having to drive towards Weymouth Way to inch their way round those cars blocking the way forward who had come on to the junction without first checking they could get off it.

If it sounds a bit snarled up then imagine what it was like being a driver in the middle of it!

Surely there must now be a total rethink on the system, a good start being to force the Brains Trust responsible for the lights system to actually spend a busy day experiencing it. 

They might then accept it isn’t working although I doubt it.

You need eyes in the back of your head

YOU really do have to have eyes in the back of your head in Weymouth recently to avoid ramming cyclists.

A journey along Abbotsbury Road saw motorists edge fearfully in to the side of the road until one cyclist had gone by and why not… he was riding at speed on just his back wheel, the front being deliberately reared up in true show-off style!

Then there was the excellent example set by one adult cyclist leading a boy cyclist who couldn’t have been more than ten years old the wrong way up a one way street in the town centre.

Add to this a scattering of cycling groups in all their colourful riding costumes festooned with various advertising messages, all bowling along riding two abreast, and you have a series of hazards enough to keep any car driver alert.

Fortunately very few cars are left now in the Weymouth area as they are mostly in garages having their springs repaired after negotiating recent roadworks at Greenhill and Preston Beach Road.

More than you think need help

THE work of the Salvation Army is legendary, but it also underlines just how important they are in Weymouth as a community lifeline.

The other day I was chatting with Salvation Army members and it emerged they cook and serve a regular Tuesday night hot meals to people living rough on the streets of Weymouth.

Commendable support for a few of society’s unfortunates, I hear you say, well there are a lot more “unfortunates” than you might think. I’m told that they recently served a staggering total of 73 such meals in just half an hour while 60 meals is common. That’s an awful lot of people living rough on the streets, a lot more than even I thought might be out there.

The Salvation Army’s only source of revenue to pay for all this is the generosity of its members, what they can raise from coffee mornings and some food generously chipped in by local supermarkets, so anything readers can do to help them with this work can be taken along to the regular Thursday morning coffee mornings in the Citadel at Westham Road.

EVERYONE is getting ready for the big veterans event in Weymouth and Portland this weekend. One of the main commemorations will be for the start of the First World War. My grandfather fought in that hell of mud, trench, shot and shell and walked away from it all at the end having survived relatively unscathed despite enjoying the horrors of the Somme and Passchendaele. The family tell me he never really talked about his experiences which are now marked by a small box of medals at the back of a drawer. I barely knew him but I shall be thinking of him during centenary events for the Great War. 


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