Friday, December 21, 2012

How the new Tesco road fails

For the first time since the new bridge for Tesco opened we've had a confluence of events that resulted in traffic being commensurate with that which can be expected with a new housing development and a superstore.

If, in simplistic terms, one considers Stourport as a crossroads last night one 'arm' was closed and another slowed down by traffic lights leaving traffic building up through town and beyond. I decided to slip off down the new route and see how it would stand up. What I discovered was some major flaws in its layout

To begin the road begins at the turn off into Discovery Way there is no problems at this point as the entire design was to accommodate a Relief Road and the road is wide and shallow to make an easy turn. Of course there's still that small scraped depression in the surface that was caused by a HGV trying to gain purchase on a recently re-tarred stretch oo 5 years ago which goes to show how often they look at these things.

Travelling up the existing road is also fine, it's where the new road continues that things start to get odd. The main thing to notice is how dark it is - there are no street lights.Not that good for a road leading to a corner onto a bridge. This has necessitated a big, slightly badly placed, chevroned warning sign. Not really a problem, just odd as this was supposedly the start for the Relief Road that would be running in a straight line onwards with an island. There seems to be no provision for such.

Over the dark bridge and another turn back and problem two arises. The road connects to an existing road, Cheapside, which is perfectly understandable. However this road has a slight twist in it which means traffic exiting, the now one-way, Lichfield Street don't have a clear view of traffic heading from this new direction. It's only a minor problem as there shouldn't be much traffic coming from Lichfield Street, but I can see accidents occurring.

However this is where the real problems start. In order to placate residents and council they've added parking bays and painted bus stop areas. Not bad per se; it's where they've put them. In a fit of sheer 'look at the plans not the area' the parking bays start at a rise and bend. To start that means anyone coming along the new road, i.e. from the housing development or Tesco, can't see what's coming the other way. Yup driving on the wrong side of the road.

It gets better - the parking bays are split into two sections with a bus stop in between them on the opposite side. so if a bus stops nothing can move. Traffic on the 'correct' side from the lights can't get past the bus and traffic from the new side can't slot in between the parking bays.

Wait it gets even better. At the end of the second parking bays is the other bus stop. set up before the lights. So even if there's no bus facing the new traffic they have to guess whether of not they can reach the lights without traffic sweeping around the corner and heading straight for them.

Update - my bad. The parking bays are split in two but are next to each other there then follows the two opposing bus stops and then the lights; my comments about the effect on traffic still hold though.

So blockage of the new traffic and, should it mistime things, blockage of the old traffic too.

Except that's going to happen anyway as the planners haven't taken into consideration that traffic backs up along the old route (Mitton Street) in that they've failed to mark out a keep clear at the new entrance. Result:

Lights go red on the old route, lights go green on the new route, but none of them can move as the traffic has backed up across the exit. As no-one is moving the lights sense this and switch back; repeat until dead. Yep I watched this happen (in this instance aided by Mitton Street being reduced to the one right-hand lane thanks to a delivery to the Hollybush).

Lights changed red, amber, green; no-one moved; 5 seconds later lights switched back to red. One minute later repeat. One minute later, repeat. If it wasn't for the fact that the queue just happened to start moving as our lights changed I'd probably still be there.

And this is without the new developments. Chaos beckons.