Going Spare

So I was at a meeting yesterday (hang on, didn’t I quit my job so I didn’t have to go to meetings any more? What happened there? And I’m not even being paid to attend them, although there was cake). It was a ‘stakeholder meeting’ which means people make proposals about how they could improve some local streets, and the council puts a stake through the heart of anything at all radical, although they were willing to accede to ‘heritage style’ lampposts and possibly ‘heritage style’ street signs as long as they were standard heritage style and not some sort of off-piste made up heritage style in case all the other streets started wanting them too.

However, one semi-radical proposal did look as if it was sneaking under the cooncil ‘ooh we couldn’t possibly do that’ radar. There’s a road that runs through Bigtown that is a sort of spur of the one-way system that was designed back in the sixties when we were all going to swoosh everywhere in our cars at all times, which means it’s a bit of a nightmare if you’re not swooshing along in a car but trying to cross it on foot or negotiate it on a bike. As it’s two lanes at one bit and only one lane further along, there’s actually no reason why it couldn’t go down to one lane all the way along which would free up space for all sorts of possible uses from parking to a contraflow bike lane. Even the planning and roads guy seems to have agreed that this would be doable without hell freezing over or opening the Hellmouth which everybody knows lurks beneath Bigtown and can only be appeased by ensuring that the number of parking spaces never diminishes by a single spot.*

All was going quite well, until the guy responsible for digging up the roads piped up. The problem with taking away a lane from that road was that if you had to dig it up to do any work on the utilities, then the road would have to be closed, which obviously would never do, even though there’s another major road running parallel to it with another four lanes of traffic capacity. Whereas if we kept the other lane as a spare, then we would never have to close the road ever and there would never be a traffic jam in Bigtown again, probably. So no road capacity must be removed ever in case we might need it sometime in order to dig up other bits of the roads. End of argument. I was so taken aback that I couldn’t see the flaw in his logic until I got home and told the other half and he pointed out that if the utilities were all under the bit of road that was being taken away then you’d never have to dig the road up again anyway, you’d just have to dig up the pavement. In fairness to me, I do have to point out that I’d been sitting in a meeting with multiple council officials for almost two hours at that point, so my brain was rapidly losing the will to live.

Still, at least we will get some nice heritage-style lampposts…

* at least I think that’s the reason why you must never suggest anything that might affect parking in any way.


4 Responses to Going Spare

  1. commuterjohn says:

    Obviuos answers to simple problems would have needed to have been passed by a special meeting of the County council at a time which was convenient to them no sooner than 13 weeks away in any case. So not much lost there anyway!

  2. John Gibson says:

    It was a ‘stakeholder meeting: Do you not mean a cakeholder meeting.

  3. disgruntled says:

    commuter John – don’t be daft, an obvious answer to a simple problem would never get through the council process..
    John G – there should definitely be more cake holder meetings…

  4. […] I was at another of the local street design stakeholder meetings (what can I say, they serve cake). All was going well until I suggested that pavement cycling along […]

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