16th July 2018
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Lerwick town centre will see a 20mph zone introduced

A 20mph zone is to be introduced on the road running through Lerwick’s Esplanade.

Councillors on the environment and transport committee backed the traffic calming proposals, which are part of an effort to make the town centre more pedestrian friendly and to reduce the amount of accidents in the area.

At the same Tuesday morning meeting councillors also decided to go ahead with a public consultation on further pedestrianising Lerwick’s Commercial Street, despite objections from political leader Gary Robinson.

Mr Robinson proposed an amendment which would have seen the council abandon plans to carry out a consultation but he was outvoted by five votes to three.

He said: “I have had representations indicating that there isn’t a huge amount of support [for further pedestrianisation] from businesses or potential shoppers on that part of the street.

“Frankly, I think we would be wasting our time asking for another consultation process.”

Retailers in the town centre had previously expressed dismay at the proposals with some fearing a detrimental impact on their businesses.

Convener Malcolm Bell also had misgivings about the consultation and said that he was “always concerned when officers seek approval from something which they have delegated power for”.

The committee’s vice-chairman Steven Coutts countered Mr Bell and Mr Robinson and said he had “had representations completely the other way.”

Mr Coutts said that for young families a feeling that Commercial Street was unsafe “was a big turn-off for going to the street”.

Shetland South councillor George Smith was “inclined to agree” with Mr Coutts and said that he felt that the council should be considering “methods to make the whole area safe”.

Following the debate the matter was put to a vote in which Mr Robinson’s ammendment was defeated.

The discussions around introducing the 20mph zone, which would run from Church Road and along the Esplanade up to North Ness, were less divisive and the plans were approved without objection from any members.

About Keegan Murray

Reporter for The Shetland Times. Interested in politics, literature and music. Born and bred Shetlander. Long suffering Newcastle United supporter.

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26 comments

  1. Johan Adamson

    We used to spend whole days at the street, get the bus in, have lunch at Da Noost. Cars used to get around the corner at the Clydesdale Bank and I never felt in fear of being knocked over (as a young child). Im not sure that any car gets up to as much as 30 ‘in-ower’ so whats the point? In Kirkwall they have an actual ROAD in front of the cathedral. Cars stop for you go get into the street bit. No crossing where folk want to walk, no one makes this much fuss or spends this much money.

    If the pedestrianisation goes ahead I would even seriously think about banking at a bank other than RBS because it will be the only bank we cannot get to, and when the postman cant deliver the box of wine cos I wasnt in, I dont know how I am going to fetch this from the Post Office? And if its a horrible day and I need twartree things I’ll be going to Tesco, not the street cos I can park right outside and it will take me 5 mins which is all I have.
    Other areas of the country are recognising that pedestrianisation is ruining city centres (as well as out of town shopping), but as usual, we are years behind.

    Reply
    • Johan Adamson

      I should have also said that I have taken twins to the street, and since they could walk, they have not been reigned or in a pushchair. I had more worry about them going off in different directions than I did ‘fear of their life’ from a car. Nerve wracking but necessary to take them to the bank or for shoes. And it is very necessary for them to learn road safety and not be driven everywhere.

      Also, as a tourist I love the street at Stromness with its two way traffic as it is quaint, tourists do not want you to change things for them. That street is less than it was but this has nothing to do with the cars, but the failure of local trade, it is only left with tourist shops and one bakery.

      Reply
      • Morag MacLeod

        Scalloway has a bustling street with cars and parking. Kirkwall has a busy street with fantastic shops and cars. Its part of the quaintness of a small town.

  2. Annette Shewan

    Oh well, that’s me finished with the street.
    This has just given me a very good reason to avoid going “in ower” altogether.
    Very sad!

    Reply
  3. Johan Adamson

    … And another thing, the last time the street was shut for doing flagstones, the cross was a mess with so many cars parked around it, and folk with disabilities were having to walk a good bit to go to the PO or the bank, no provision was made for disabled parking, and it took far longer for anyone to do the business banking. Its a good job there are no furniture stores as it would be totally impossible, and I bet Slotties will fair worse as a take away if you cant drive to it and pick up hot food.

    Even if you just need the cashline on an evening you are more likely to go to the Tesco ones as it is more bother to get in ower.

    Reply
  4. Brian Smith

    The late Mortimer Manson used to quote Dr Yule: If God had meant us to drive he would have given us wheels.

    Reply
  5. Les Sinclair

    I wonder if Johan could enlighten me as to which other areas of the country, specifically, are “recognising that pedestrianisation is ruining city centres”?

    Reply
    • fraser cluness

      I think Peterhead or somewhere up there have opened all their streets as the town died after the car ban.

      From what I see the only cars going on the street have a blue badge on them, they going to stop them too?

      Reply
  6. Johan Adamson

    I actually dont think it ruins city centres, but how else would you explain the demise of small towns?

    Reply
  7. i tinkler

    Strange how some folk seem to be suffering the loss of their feet. Must be a sign of the times, no wonder we are all becoming such a sedentary bunch, when walking a few yards is such a problem. How about a glorious compromise. Cars only allowed before 10 am and after 4.0 pm. Allow disabled access at all times, that is registered disabled, not just the obese and lazy!! My childminder lost my hi speed two-year-old (Sprint crawler) outside Conochies once. Fortunately, the traffic missed her, just!

    Reply
    • Johan Adamson

      Where are you going to park Ian?

      I agree there is a compromise. Just close it when the weather is fine and there is a cruise ship in, and on saturdays, or in the afternoon, but give us a chance to get to the bank and the post office.

      If the shops can survive on just fine days and cruise ship days well then ok, pedestrianise the whole thing, don’t provide any more parking and get the bank to do a pick up service for the pay ins.

      You cant change the fact that most folk want to use their cars, or have to

      Reply
      • ian_tinkler

        “You can’t change the fact that most folk want to use their cars, or have to”. Strange that, my Mum used the street. no car, never had one, no problem for her and she shopped until her eighties. No problem using the bus from Bixter . Then she was from a tougher generation and kept herself fit..

      • Morag MacLeod

        I used to live in Gruting, 10 miles out past Bixter. I couldn’t drive and I walked 2 and a half miles to catch the bus into town. If I had a heavy bulky package to pick up from the post office I got someone with a car to do it for me, as I assume Ian’s mum did too?

  8. Haydn Gear

    The comment from i_tinkler seems wide of the mark. His mother didn’t suffer infirmities and therefore was a very lucky woman. Many people do not enjoy such good fortune. My mother was still pushing her shopping trolley around Sainsbury’s supermarket whern she was 93 , whereas my wife who died at 38 was only able to push the daisies up. It has nothing to do with keeping yourself fit. It’s all in the genes and the luck of the draw. My mother’s mother died at 29 but my mother, though not in good shape, was 100 in November 2016. So ian_tinkler I think connsideration should be given to those who are physically hampered and good luck and continued good fortune to those who are not.

    Reply
  9. ian_tinkler

    This is ridiculous. I stated, “Allow disabled access at all times,”. Are we so utterly pathetic we have to use are cars to shop when the weather is bad. If one is of that mindset perhaps Shetland is not the place to be. Just how far do you have to walk to get to the bank or post from the bus stop. 100 yards or so, get a raincoat, hat and a pair of wellies! If that is too much, be a fair weather shopper!

    Reply
    • Morag MacLeod

      I was usually at work when parcels were being delivered in Gruting.

      Reply
  10. ian_tinkler

    My mum never had to pick up from Lerwick Post Office, nor myself. The Royal Mail, actually have vans and deliver out West to the door!!! Why go to Lerwick Post office when the postie will bring it to your door? Failing that the Bixter Post Office may be a good bet for Gruting. Sadly, Skeld lost its Post Office due to cut backs. That is where my Mum bussed from, pension then from Bixter..

    Reply
  11. Haydn Gear

    It appears that ian_T did not read to the end of my letter. I clearly stated, and I quote; “I think consideration should be given to those who are physically hampered”. I hope he agrees. He may not have noticed that for some people, 100 yards or so is like a marathon. Walking difficulties occur to different extents in people and for some who are less fortunate than himself, lugging an amount of shopping becomes a very difficult task. He may find out one day, not that I wish it on him. Of course, as I well know, Shetland is renowned for its year round sunshine and fine weather(!) so raincoats, hats and wellies, as he suggested, would be a totally superfluous waste of money! However, in the unlikely event of wind and rain, fair weather shoppers would either have to go without food or rely on the generosity of ian_t to run errands for them. He’d probably be only too glad to be Lerwick’s Good Samaritan.

    Reply
  12. Linsey Nisbet

    Speed bumps on the Esplanade? What a waste of money. To prevent injury to pedestrians? Come on…I believe there were 5 people SLIGHTLY injured (outside the Thule??!!) in the last 3 years. Speed bumps are costly, really difficult to drive on and unnecessary. I object to this waste of public money.

    Reply
  13. Ali Inkster

    Since we are refusing planning on grounds of CO2 emissions then any new speed bumps must surely be refused. The increase in CO2 emissions due to speedbumps the constant slowing down and speeding up of vehicles not to mention the tracking problems they create. No this can not be allowed to go ahead for the sake of the planet if nothing else. 😉

    Reply
  14. Ian Tinkler

    “I think consideration should be given to those who are physically hampered”. I hope (Ian) he agrees. He may not have noticed that for some people, 100 yards or so is like a marathon.” Good point, Haydn, we are blessed with some fabulous, rural shops, free parking at the door. The internet does home deliveries also the same from Tesco. We also have a culture that leaving one’s car is in the garage is an abuse to fat urbanity. Walking is perhaps not a breach of our human rights. If the Street is dying, look what is on offer and ask yourselves why!

    Reply
  15. Haydn Gear

    Lindsey Nisbet is dead right. We used to have speed bumps, a raised zebra crossing and pinch points where the road width was reduced to half. This was in South Wales. The zebra crossing and speed bumps caused damage to cars which the Council was forced to pay for and emergency vehicles in a hurry were obliged to reduce speed to walking pace. I got together a group of 20 willing people in the village and walked backwards and forwards over the crossing causing big traffic hold ups. The police turned up but no crime had been committed!! It didn’t take long before the Council caved in and removed the obstacles to smooth running traffic and everything has returned to normal. Speed bumps? Gross stupidity and a total waste of tax payers money.

    Reply
  16. Ian Tinkler

    Linsey Nisbet, you are perhaps right. It is not a problem about cars on the Street. More about. lazy folk, with a problem walking and the self-interest of a few business people. Sadly that is the way of it with all centralises Lerwick

    Reply
  17. Ian Tinkler

    Morag MacLeod
    February 10th, 2017 11:24
    I used to live in Gruting, 10 miles out past Bixter. I couldn’t drive and I walked 2 and a half miles to catch the bus into town. If I had a heavy bulky package to pick up from the post office, I got someone with a car to pick up the heavy package from the post office. Well, that would be the Bixter Post Office, Morag. You can still park right outside the front door at the Bixter PO. so what are you warbling about?! No sense or no honesty here. On who’s behalf are you writing?

    Reply
    • Morag MacLeod

      l mentioned Gruting in reference to your statement about your 80 year old mum getting the bus from Bixter. Its really irrelevant as the point I was making is that you need vehicular access to pick up heavy bulky items from the post office. You’ve countered your own argument by stating “you can still park right outside the Bixter post office”. You say you’ve never picked up a parcel from the post office. You must be a rare specimen of the Shetland population to not experience this normal Shetland activity. Most people work during delivery hours (often in Lerwick) and use their break time for collection rather than rescheduling delivery.

      Reply
  18. David Leask

    Could the council or police clarify if these collisions were investigated properly and the cause identified? If you look at any big city they have busier streets and more people than Lerwick, the only difference is that they have working traffic lights and crossing points. I’m an employee in the private sector and if a piece of safety equipment failed, it is a major concern and we are expected to investigate and find the quickest and most cost effective repair/solution. I appreciate this is not normal practice for the SIC but the least they could do is look at other local authority solutions i.e. working traffic lights

    Reply

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