Getting the hump (Allen Fraser)

The whole of Shetland will be absolutely delighted that their three per cent rise in Council Tax is to raise an extra £258,000, just barely enough to cover the cost of installing sleeping policemen along the length of the Esplanade.

Presumably this will save the cost of employing real policemen to occasionally take a wander down to the pier with a speed gun. I guess typical SIC logic here is that if they build a few back-jarring, tarry-humps along the Esplanade they can get rid of the pelican crossings; presumably saving the cost of flying an electrical engineer up from sooth to change a fuse on the lights.

The Esplanade is obviously a very dangerous place; the road here is wide and almost dead straight with no other busy roads joining on to it. It is flanked by broad pavements, and affords good visibility its full length in both directions to where pelican crossings allow easy access from the Bressay ferry and car parks. Such a lethal combination of factors require the SIC to reduce the traffic speed limit to 20mph and install boy racer challenging road humps.

Scalloway’s Main Street on the other hand is a pedestrian’s delight. Here the road is only about a third the width of the Esplanade with a narrow sidewalk on either side, occasionally restricted by lamp posts.

Busy shops, cafes, bars, etc lead out ont o the narrow sidewalks so that passersby often have to step down on the the main road.The three carparks along the length of Main Street are never more than a few yards from the shops, so cars are forced to park on the narrowest part, right outside shops, thus restricting visibility along the street.

The speed limit for the two-way traffic along Main Street is a mere 30mph, thus giving pedestrians plenty of time to jump back on to the narrow sidewalks, especially when parked cars open doors causing oncoming traffic to swerve towards them.

Today Scalloway is free of any unnecessary traffic restrictions, but a good number of years ago the SIC introduced speed-humps to Scalloway’s Main Street (this back in the day when the SIC couldn’t burn money fast enough).

Such was the cries of distress from pedestrians missing out on their daily exercise of jumping out of the way of cars, vans or trucks being driven at a legal 30mph that the SIC dug them all up again.

Why am I getting a feeling of deja vu?

Allen Fraser


Add Your Comment
  • Leslie Lowes

    • February 11th, 2017 17:34

    Normal speed through The Esplanade is usually 20mph, given the hazards of junctions, crossings, working or non-working pedestrian lights, parked traffic everywhere, bus stances and other motorists trying to work their way through these numerous hazards. Why spend all that money to create speed bumps as yet another hazard, when the work they are supposed to – reducing road speeds – is already happening? What a waste of money!

  • Sheila Newcombe

    • February 11th, 2017 17:53

    I whole heartedly agree with Allen Fraser, and if the pelican crossings are so expensive to maintain, why can’t the council replace them with the old fashion solution, zebra crossings !!!! Back in the day, they seemed to do the job quite well.

  • Ian Tinkler

    • February 11th, 2017 18:35

    How about a really simple answer. Make a speed limit, and heavens above, actually enforce it! Use speed cameras, catch and, very heavily fine the brain dead petrol heads and idiots who speed. Give the fine money to the Charitable Trust and maybe we will be a little safer and just perhaps, with a following wind and a democratisation of the Trust, a little better off. Also, clip the wings of idiots who substitute speed for testosterone, or perhaps lack of testosterone. ( no speed bumps needed) Good grief, I agree with L Lowes.

  • Colin Hunter

    • February 12th, 2017 10:59

    Totally agree with you Allen! All that speed humps acheive is to wreck the suspension and exhausts of smaller vehicles, while having next to no effect on the large 4x4s and pick ups so beloved of Shetlands’ Motorists.
    Since this scheme was first mooted, I have been taking note of my speed while driving in Lerwick, and have discovered that it is unlikely that I will even be able to attain 20MPH all the way from Grantfield to the Market Cross, unless there is next to no traffic, as people stopping to turn right, or searching for a parking spot, cause the traffic to slow anyway. It is not even as though it is an accident black spot, and indeed, it appears (statistically) that you are more likely to be knocked over and injured in a car park than on the actual road!
    Yes! I’m another one who considers the whole thing a total waste of money, that, along with the total pedestrianisation of “Da Street” will probably sound the death knell for shopping “in ower”.

  • David Spence

    • February 12th, 2017 21:12

    I am rather amused (not really) that the Council have put 1 Speed Hump at the end of Commercial Street at da sooth end here, just after the new flagging stone road/pavement ends. However, cars can go pretty fast from where Vaila Art is to the block of flats just before Leog………none of this part of Commercial Street has any speed humps.

    I may be wrong, but I have a sneaky suspicion that the Council do not want to ruin their beautiful flagging stones acting as paving with the odd hump here and there ? lol

    In fact, to be honest, it is giving me the hump. lol


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