23rd May 2018
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Traffic calming on cards for Esplanade

A consultation has been opened on making a large chunk of Lerwick town centre into a 20mph zone with speed bumps to help control traffic.

The SIC today published details of a traffic calming scheme that would extend from the South Hillhead, down Church Road, along the Esplanade and finish on Commercial Road near the Red Dragon takeaway.

Many side streets such as Greenfield Place, Mounthooly Street, Harbour Street and Mitchell’s Road to the North Ness Business Park will be incorporated as well as roads that are mainly used for residential parking. Nine road humps will be installed between the Knab Road and North Ness mini roundabouts with another on Mitchell’s Road before the Mareel/Museum junction.

Objectors to the proposed order must put their objections in writing to director of infrastructure services Maggie Sandison by 15th January.
SIC roads executive manager Dave Coupe said that the council has identified the town centre and Esplanade area as an accident injury hotspot thus the need for the proposed changes which have been the subject of previous reports.

He said that there were about two injury accidents in the area per year and of 22 accidents since 2000, 16 had involved pedestrians. The trend, he said, appeared to be growing in recent years.

Mr Coupe said: “It’s about providing a 20mph zone in an area with a significant number of pedestrian accidents within. We will be looking at another consultation on plans for crossings at a later date.

“I cannot think of any other section of road in Shetland that has two injury accidents per year. That is quite significant.”

Mr Coupe said that it appeared the traffic calming and road crossing schemes has been confused in some people’s minds, but they there was no linkage and one was not dependant on the other.

He added that the best way to guage public opinion was to publish a consultation which would “capture” a wide range of views. Mr Coupe will be drawing up a report for environment and transport committee, taking responses into consideration and this should go before councillors about April.”

Westside Pine Shop Lerwick

There are concerns business could suffer.

Mr Coupe added that zoning the entire area as a 20mph area would save money on signage and saving putting up “silly” signs for 30mph sections of very short road that only had slow moving traffic.

Westside Pine proprietor Janet Davidge, whose business is on the Esplanade, said that there was no issue with traffic going too fast on the Esplanade and the much more pressing problem for the area was the lack of parking.

Mr Davidge said: “Personally I do not see that there is any need for it. Everything is going fine and no-one ever comes into the shop that complains about the traffic or anything. Folk are not getting knocked down or anything. If it was a genuine concern, like the Brig o’ Fitch, I’d be all for doing something.”

Mrs Davidge added that some people might be put off coming to the street given the difficulties of parking and access. Having to negotiate road bumps might put them off all together.

Shetland Times Shop manager Karen Baxter said that there was little speeding in the area and few accidents she knew of. “I do not see why there is a need for it to be honest,” she added. “Are they trying just to frustrate people.”

But Living Lerwick chairwoman Cynthia Adamson said that any kind of traffic calming measure was welcome.

She added: “Living Lerwick’s concern is to shoppers, school bairns and tourists. Safety is a concern so we need to applaud the council for taking some steps to calm everything down a bit.”

About Peter Johnson

Reporter for The Shetland Times. I have also worked as an employed and freelance reporter and editor for a variety of print and broadcast media outlets and as as a freelance photographer and film maker/cameraman. In addition to journalism, I have experience in construction, oil analysis, aquaculture, fisheries, the health service and oral history.

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12 comments

  1. iantinkler

    This is an exercise in stupidity. Consultations are hardly necessary. A 20 MPH speed limit in all residential areas, and shopping areas, rigidly enforced, will save lives, mostlt children. Those wanting to go faster, petrol heads and assorted idiots, may find at best 5 minutes shortened from their journeys. O what a pitty. How about seizing their cars and selling them, cash to keep our rural schools going. An idiot with a car is as dangerous as a idiot with a gun. The idiot with a car kills most.

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  2. Michael Garriock

    So, Councillor Wills in “Grumpy old man” mode is finally getting his way in his expensive but futile attempt to curb power take offs and rubber burning from the head of the pier.

    Perhaps had he not mis-spent part of his more youthful years driving a Renault 4, his understnding of the realities of such activities and hence his apparent distaste for them would be more realistic and tempered.

    Good luck to anyone who can actually reach 20mph on the Esplanade at a time of day when there are folk around to be hit, as however fast they are on the throttle to reach that speed, they’ll have to be a damn sight faster on the brakes to prevent them rear ending the one 10-20 yards ahead toodling along at 10mph.

    What the Esplanade needs is either the volume of traffic using it reduced, or given the ability to pass through the area much more quickly, not slowed down further. Its painful enough to pass through as is 9-5 Mon-Sat, slower and you’re creating semi-gridlock at the busiest times.

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  3. Haydn Gear

    More haste less speed

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  4. Johan Adamson

    Im with Mrs Davidge, I really dont see the need, and if there is spare cash it could be better used. Another accident at the brig o fitch today. It is frustrating going to the street now, and you only have to look at the Clydesdale bank where they are two cars deep, and the Royal Bank where there is a big fight for spaces and folk regularly park on the disabled spaces, to realise that people want convenient parking to nip and shop rather than park long term miles from shops – lazy perhaps, but we dont have time nowadays to spend the whole day on da street. Less pedestrianisation, not more, is required. You are going to kill da street off completely with this. Lots of stuff you cant get at da street now too, and very few cafes. Clives is still a big miss – no CDs, games, consoles, robot toys etc. Amazon and the couriers are the winners.

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  5. George Hamilton

    Do the powers that be realise that there are people in Shetland with spinal problems and other medical conditions who are caused considerable pain and even damage by speed bumps, even when travelling over them at walking speed? It is surely the job of the police to enforce the new speed limits. It would appear that access to much of the town will now be denied to those who need it most. Remember it might be you in an ambulance in agony banging over these things.

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  6. Barbara Gray

    I had to check the date to make sure we hadn’t fast forwarded to 1st April. SIC are constantly complaining about lack of money, yet are prepared to spend an unspecified amount on a totally unnecessary ‘scheme’ and in the process will add another nail in the coffin of the town centre.
    No doubt they will also find the money to put up endless signs, and disfigure the town in the process.

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  7. Haydn Gear

    George Hamilton is dead right.Speed humps and a raised zebra crossing caused much noise and discomfort in my village and ambulances were forced to creep over what became known as the ski jump thus extending the time to reach the hospital.Eventually, the local people would not take any more and an unending procession criss crossed the zebra crossing causing traffic chaos. It cost a lot of money to install the so called speed restrictions and even more to remove them since the entire length of road needed to be resurfaced.! But Big Brother council knew best.(NOT)

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  8. David Spence

    George, I am at a loss as to who is responsible for traffic calming at the sooth end of Commercial Street, as given what measures they have put in are as much use as an ashtray on a motorcycle.

    One measure they could do is to put double-yellow lines between the Queens Hotel and the Spiders Web and the next shop along. I have seen cars parked between the Queens Hotel and the Spiders Web, where they, the car, are preventing other vehicles or worse still emergency vehicles getting through.

    As for the speed bumps……..what a joke this is. They have decided to put the speed bump at the end of Commercial Street (which coincidentally the new flag stones finish) but between the Queens Hotel to Stouts Court there are none. I have seen cars going through the sooth end a lot more than 20mph, and it is very obvious, given it is a residential area, such methods of slowing down traffic would be required.

    Surely a little common sense could easily be applied when deciding how to slow down traffic and make the area safer than what it is now?

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  9. Michael Garriock

    As always the SIC are missing a trick. IF they are really so convinced that a 20mph limit is absolutely necessary, despite almost nobody else seeing the need for it. Surely in these financially straitened times instead of spending to create a road surface more suited to a funfair ride in a futile attempt to try and enforce it. A much more sensible approach would be to install fixed speed cameras issuing fixed penalty notices to any and all who had the audacity to hit 21mph, at least those *might* have had a slim chance of bringing in money, as well as draining more out. Although I’ve yet to be convinced even if they fined everyone who ever crossed the limit, that the funds raised could cover the cost of the electricity to keep the cameras going, let alone anything more.

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  10. Mike slater

    I would like Mr Coupe to inform us of the type of pedestrian accident they are basing the requirement for the traffic calming on.
    I am aware people have been injured by cars reversing into people, I don’t think reducing the speed limit will have any effect on this.
    It’s highly likely the council vehicles required to use this route will experience much higher wear and tear too by the introduction of speed bumps.
    It would be nice to see the pedestrian crossings working all the time 1st in this area!

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  11. Thomas Goodlad

    I have been driving in the town, big and small vehicles for many years and cannot see the need for anymore traffic restrictions,especially sleeping policemen.

    If we should get a heavy fall of snow these sleeping policemen and protruding pavements will be,and are a hazard to snow ploughs and any vehicle that cannot see them while they are covered.

    I burst a tyre at the CO-OP roundabout some years ago by clipping the edge of the pavement as I was forced to keep to my left and give way to a truck,simply because everything was covered in snow.

    What if i had mounted the pavement and caused injury or worse to pedestrians ?

    By thinking they are solving one problem,they create another.

    Reply
  12. Stuart Hannay

    Introduce more roundabouts. They seem to confuse a lot of folk into slowing down or stopping for no apparent reason.

    Reply

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