Junction to turn me Tory?


To digress… I’m not a libertarian, I would not be happy with no traffic regulation at the junction of Iknield Port Road and Ladywood Middleway in Birmingham, but I think the recent roadworks there may have turned me Tory.

I was quite happy with the light touch regulation a massive great roundabout provided. There was often a bit of a queue in various directions but it was manageable – especially on a bike. Now, however, following significant public expenditure we have a re-modeled road layout, the place is festooned with traffic lights and no one seems to be able to get anywhere in a hurry. State intervention has made things worse. Centralised authority by trying to micromanage our lives is getting in the way of us living our lives.

Except, hold on, the privileged elite traveling clockwise round the Middle Ring Road seem to be benefiting disproportionately well from this arrangement, maybe it is a Tory plot after all.

5 thoughts on “Junction to turn me Tory?

  1. Oh, god. I hate this. Roundabouts are fine – why change them? I noticed this in London a lot when I lived there. At the top of Crystal Palace hill there was a perfectly fine roundabout. Took me a few minutes each morning to negotiate it. Then, after massive expenditure on a lots of ugly traffic lights, it caused massive tail backs in every direction and my time to get beyond it expanded to 15 minutes. But why can’t a local authority see this? All they need to do is ask taxi drivers what’s the best way to keep traffic moving. And anyway what about all those lovely European reports to say that taking away all the traffic lights actually improves flow and takes away a lot of the road ugliness in our lives too.

  2. Road ugliness – I have a fantasy art project in which we past a huge bill board with the image of what you would see if the bill-board weren’t there.

  3. Waiting for the number 8A yesterday, near the cursed junction, I found myself ear-wigging two elderly local residents. After the obligatory cogitation on changing weather the Caribbean lady points to the junction and says, “They’ve done a good job, haven’t they? It’s much easier to get across now.” ??? They must know something we don’t.

  4. There seems to be a rule that whatever the political regime and however tight the public budgets there always seems to be money available to faff around with road junctions. The results of this faffing, as you have observed, often seems to make matters worse (esp. for the pedestrian and cyclist).
    Change is coming to the world of highway design, but unfortunately far too slowly. At MADE we are running training on Manual for Streets and its sequal Manual for Streets 2 which serve to make roads more human and allow more freedom in their design.
    This junction is probably part of a trunk route and therefore considered outside the scope of MfS. However, you don’t have to have to go to the continent to find busy roads that have been given a deregulating make-over. Ashford ring road in Kent has had the treatment. I think they may even have let artists have a dabble in its design.
    For signs of optimism have a look at Coventry’s proposals to spruce up some of its city centre in time for becoming an olympic city next year: de-cluttering, reducing carraige widths, removing signals, and even a radically designed junction. If motor-city Coventry can change, there must be hope for the rest of the region.
    Keep talking about this stuff and complaining to the politicians. We do not want them to think that the public realm is a purely technical issue that voters do not care about.

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