I had a bit of a funny turn when I got to page 5 of Friday’s Lynn News, when I read the shocking report that a panel of Lynn borough councillors involved with the town’s regeneration programme had dubbed the traffic situation ‘dire’.
Dire? You could have knocked me down with a feather. I was gobsmacked. What are these people on?
The ‘dire’ traffic situation in Lynn has been a way of life for generations. I can remember crawling into town on a Saturday with my parents 50 years ago and wondering exactly what most of the foul oaths actually meant that my dear father was bawling into the ether as we battled to get through the South Gates.
Traffic has never been resolved in any kind of systematic way and it has become so ingrained in our psyche that nobody even bothers to mention it any more.
When was the last time anyone wrote to the letters page with some invective-ridden stream-of-consciousness about how long it took to get to work?
I know the letters page is periodically concerned with the impotent ramblings of a handful of class-war activists and the airing of various bits of arcane and frankly obscure knowledge, but letters about the dire traffic? Absolutely zilch.
When these councillors sit down and mardle among themselves about regenerating the town, I wonder if they ever make the connection with the chain-reaction that occurs when you build shops, superstores and hundreds of houses?
To paraphrase the ghostly voice in Field of Dreams, “if you build it, shoppers will come”. And come they do.
Those of us who don’t live in town are becoming increasingly reluctant to venture forth unless it’s absolutely critical – for fear of encountering the legendary snarl-ups.
In simple terms, the new houses attract people, new shops attract people but people don’t like to travel anywhere unless they can use their cars.
All these properties need servicing by road and because you don’t include a radical upgrade to the infrastructure of the town when you construct all these new buildings, the basic laws of physics are invoked and you end up with carmageddon. It isn’t exactly rocket science.
So, is there a plan? Well, once the meeting established there was a problem, a dire problem, our doughty councillors moved into overdrive and declared that “something must be done”.
They all nodded sagely and scratched their chins and, after a bit of a think, a round-robin of opinions was collated and they rustled up one corker of a decision.
It’s forward-thinking, innovative and will definitely be regarded as the first step towards sorting it out once and for all. Oh, the plan?
Well, they’re going to ask a representative from the highways department to come to brief them on ways to alleviate the problem. Storming. But only about 50 years too late.