Sunday, 28 October 2012

Total gridlock!

Blackpool's new Promenade is rather like the emperor's new clothes - officials in the town cannot see the obvious truth - it often creates traffic gridlock and creates problems for bus services across the Fylde coast. There are 60-70 bus movements in front of the Tower every hour during the day and the traffic queues either side of the short stretch of single carriageway, shared space, 20mph section can result in 15-20 minute delays to all services. The problem is that the busier Blackpool is, the worse the traffic congestion and the more visitors there are, the more people cross the un-disciplined zebra crossings, compounding the traffic congestion either side.
Take yesterday for example, the northbound traffic queue started at Alexandra Road in South Shore and the southbound queue at Imperial Hotel. Some buses on our service 12 were taking two hours for a Pleasure Beach to Cabin round trip, whilst BTS' No.1 bus service completely bunched up. At one point in the afternoon, five No.1's were all within sight of each other at North Pier - three of them are visible in the picture below taken from one of our buses.
Three No.1 buses at North Pier, two others were in the vicinity but out of shot - and there's only 7 buses operating the 12-mile route from Starr Gate to Fleetwood Freeport! The effect of Blackpool's "shared space" in front of the Tower.
Of course, it's not just the buses that are affected - car drivers sat in traffic, both locals and visitors, are just burning fuel, creating extra pollution and, of course, not spending any money in the town. Please Blackpool Council - the new Promenade does look good, but re-think the design to improve traffic flow.