Our streets are be­com­ing car-azy with traf­fic vol­ume

Rutherglen Reformer - - Politics Column -

Many of our lo­cal streets are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly un­pleas­ant, awk­ward and dan­ger­ous places for pedes­tri­ans due to the grow­ing vol­ume of traf­fic which they were never de­signed for.

Driv­ers are af­fected too as they en­counter con­ges­tion, ne­go­ti­ate dif­fi­cult and dan­ger­ous junc­tions, squeeze past parked cars, and strug­gle to find space to park them­selves.

Pedes­tri­ans are ever more marginalised on what were once-quiet res­i­den­tial streets.

Ex­ces­sive speed on top of the sheer level of traf­fic makes cross­ing roads a dif­fi­cult task for any­body.

But for chil­dren, par­ents with prams, the el­derly and dis­abled, it is even more haz­ardous.

Parked cars ob­struct the view for peo­ple cross­ing the road and block pave­ments, par­tic­u­larly for prams and wheel­chairs, forc­ing pedes­tri­ans to risk life and limb by walk­ing into the road.

Surely it is time that these traf­fic dan­ger spots were ad­dressed?

The prob­lem gets worse ev­ery year.

As one road fills up, those around it be­come con­gested too as driv­ers look for al­ter­na­tives.

And these are al­ter­na­tives that are al­most cer­tainly even less ap­pro­pri­ate than those they are avoid­ing.

Many peo­ple do take the train or bus, but with limited pos­si­bil­i­ties for park and ride this can lead to ever more cars park­ing on res­i­den­tial streets, nar­row­ing these and cre­at­ing prob­lems for res­i­dents.

We can­not sud­denly get rid of all the cars and lor­ries, nor is it easy in a built-up area to pro­vide al­ter­na­tive routes for them, but we can make streets safer for pedes­tri­ans in res­i­den­tial streets.

Pedes­trian cross­ings; park­ing re­stric­tions and en­force­ment of the law on park­ing on pave­ments; in­creased pro­vi­sion of suit­able park­ing space; speed cam­eras; and al­tered road lay­outs to di­rect traf­fic away from streets used as rat-runs can all be help­ful in the right places.

Surely too, we can find ways to en­cour­age more peo­ple to walk and cy­cle, use pub­lic trans­port and make school ac­cesses safer for chil­dren?

But most of all we need a change of cul­ture, from one which pri­ori­tises the needs of cars to one which puts pedes­tri­ans first.

A com­pre­hen­sive re­view of traf­fic across the whole of Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang is needed to ad­dress these prob­lems; one in which vehicles are not given prece­dence in res­i­den­tial streets.

Our lo­cal streets need to be re­turned to peo­ple, with the safety and com­fort of pedes­tri­ans pri­ori­tised.

Surely we can find ways to en­cour­age more to walk and cy­cle, use pub­lic trans­port . . .

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