It’s not surprising that councillors find Lynn’s traffic is dire when people are driving for over an hour to a destination that would take less than half an hour to walk to or a 15 minute bike ride.
The councillors appear to be deliberately ignoring the elephant in the room – there are just too many cars coming into town, and the problem won’t be solved until we do something to reduce those numbers.
Opening Harding’s Way to cars will just make things worse, as traffic leaving town will still need to negotiate the Southgates Roundabout, causing traffic to back up along London Road, and it will simply move the congestion and pollution of inbound traffic to the Millfleet – London Road junction.
So what can be done? An easy start would be to prioritise pedestrians. Over the last few years walkers have had to wait for longer and longer (up to three minutes at some crossings) for a ten-second crossing time whilst drivers are rarely stopped for more than 30 seconds. Pedestrian crossings should activate the pedestrian phase as soon as the button is pressed.
A town-wide 20mph speed limit would benefit cyclists and pedestrians and would smooth out traffic flow. Towns that have done this report that many journey times have been reduced as well as air quality improved.
How about a really radical, Dutch-style approach and replace the archaic ferry with a modern foot and cycle bridge across the river, using the old DelMonte site as a car park and bus terminal for people coming from the south and west. Invest in frequent, cheap bus services and upgrade the cycleway network to serve all villages within five miles of Lynn (roughly 30 minutes cycling).
Yes, it will cost – but much of the initial cost could be met by increasing parking charges and raising service charges on out-of-town megastores. The investment would be recouped quickly as footfall is increased in the town centre and the general health improves. It would also free up much of the land in the town centre currently wasted by car parks, which could be used for public space or housing.
Doing nothing is not an option.
Rob Archer, Friars Street, King’s Lynn