Complying with the new rules

People walking along the watersides were following the new rules; Meadows play equipment was not being used; and London Road on a Tuesday at 5:15pm was near empty.

Walkers by the river and the canal are clearly respecting social distancing.
Play equipment was not being used.
The dentist’s receptionist was working via an intercom.
Traffic on London Road was very very light at 5:15.

Various streets have established their own small networks of neighbouring, using things like WhatsApp.

The Bridgeway shopping centre Chemists has a sign up advising people what to do.
Shopping was “one out, one in” at the Co-op who are also advertising a delivery service. Customers were waiting outside and apart from each other.

One Stop Shop, the chemists, the hairdressers and the Post Office share information on using notices on their shutters (as of 24th March, 5p.m.

No doubt there are people not following the the guidance, and that non-compliance might be most associated with expectation of some groups of workers and some locations more than others.
– – –
But I think it’s pretty clear that the vast majority are trying to follow the rules.

I remain concerned about journalists’ continued use of vox pops, including attacks on politicians (e.g. BBC 6 o’clock news).

Working through the crisis in systematic way

Across our neighbourhoods, or (in this 21st Century, I might more accurately say) extended networks, all kinds of people are making all kinds of arrangements to support each other when we are ill, or isolated, or socially distancing.
At times like these, people will be getting on with getting on.
And where they can’t, they will be looking to the NHS or the council or their social landlord or the emergency services to do what is necessary.
Including reporting neighbours who thought it was fun to have a street party yesterday to the Police.

Now as an elected representative, I feel this urge to do something more; and that people might expect it of me.
But the reality is people need a structured, organised and (dare I say it) a properly financed set of services to assist.
So I won’t be putting out any special leaflets to say I can help as an individual. Cos the systems should provide and I expect that of them.
Part of this is cos I don’t want to confuse any organised systems and messages.
And part of this is cos I might be carrying the virus and not know it.

What I can, should and do do is report failings in the systems set up to help.
I am going to expect that people know that I do that already.
Cos this ain’t the time to be trying to fix, or even make, reputations.

Meanwhile, my main political criticisms are –
1. if we are “at war”, all available capacity should be mobilised for a purpose through our public services; people no longer selling holidays, or serving in shops or on public transport, could be commissioned to help the public services; and others could be mobilised to keep their immediate neighbourhood looking neat (not litter or waste, obviously, but grass cutting and weeding);
2. councils should be told publicly that they are to receive finance to provide more capacity;
3. the economic packages should be emphasising funding people and consumer demand rather than financing businesses.

Planning committee – March 2020

New council housing on the former Eastglade school site, and challenges about how to boost its environmental features further.
New social housing by TumTum Housing Association of Woodborough Road, at the site of the former Woodborough pub site.
A homeless hostel by Framework on the site of the Mechanics Arms on Alfred Street North – with repeated assurances that the hostel would be continuously and well managed.

A third tram route could serve The Meadows

You have to squint, but the map shows 2 alternative routes for a tram service through Meadow Lane to Nottingham Racecourse – along Meadows Way east and Cattle Bridge Road and along Arkwright Walk and across Trent Bridge Island.

Nottingham City Council’s Exec Board has agreed the development of a business plan to provide a new tram route through The Meadows and extensions to the existing tram lines passing through The Meadows.
The new route to the Racecourse Park & Ride has the potential to relieve London Road should a further extension reach out to the A52 east of Gamston.
There are 2 potential routes –
– the more direct route out should serves Meadows Way east (with all the new housing planned for Crocus Street) and the Cattle Market (putting the market on the map in a very powerful way, serving the County football Ground and meeting the potential for more housing around the market);
– the less direct rout would have stops at Bridgeway Shopping Centre, near to Trent Bridge Island (bringing County Hall, Trent Bridge cricket ground and the City Ground) much nearer to the network and on meadow lane (serving the County Ground, the Cattle Market and new housing).
The target is to have the services running in 2028 or 2029.
A previous route reaching 2 destinations beyond West Bridgford both failed business cases some 20 years ago because the population densities to support the tram services were not high enough (West Bridgford does become quite spread out) and the tram savings are not high enough.

A range of transport improvements for Nottingham and Derby has been announced by government.
The Meadows needs these packages cos we need relief from the heavy traffic on and poor air from London Road.
But the most direct benefit will be the capacity for better and more frequent customer information to our bus stops.

Opposition calls for removal of all bus lanes

The closure of Clifton Bridge was debated in three parts at full council – 1. how to provide more capacity for transport in the future; 2. whether to support bus lanes or just open them to all traffic; 3. how Highways England should support the council and the Police when coping with the consequent problems.

CQ1: “fourth bridge across the Trent is … a sensible approach” – the Clifton Independents.
My supplementary questions –
Can the Portfolio Holder recognise that the grief suffered by the people of The Meadows goes beyond delays in journey time, and extends to inability to make journeys at all and increased air pollution. 
Does the Portfolio Holder share my frustration that the world of common sense does not count the tram bridge as a crossing, nor the footbridge as a crossing, nor the 2 rail bridges (albeit recognising they are both outside of the conurbation?
Isn’t the real insight to the future to recognise how cars are the most damaging form of transport carrying people and that what The Meadows needs is relief from people commuting by car?
Isn’t it evident that what The Meadows, the east of the city, West Bridgford and parts of the county needs is an attractive public transport alternative, and isn’t it evident that the tram has demonstrated modal switch, especially by reaching park and ride sites serving trunk roads, and and isn’t it evident that Nottingham needs a new tram line to service the Racecourse Part & Ride, and if the perhaps the county would be face up to it, a park and ride to serve the A52 east of West Bridgford? 
Does the Portfolio Holder share my heartbreak that in all of the chaos we have created with our railway network, more railway train services with extra park and rite sites does not even seem to be being explored?  

CQ2: “opening bus lanes to all traffic”
[Gotta say that “opening bus lanes to all traffic” is in fact closing all bus lanes – cos they’re no longer for buses.]
My supplementary questions –
When Chair of Transport Committee, I once witnessed a lorry parked on Maid Marian Way during the morning rush hour jamming the city and 2,000 people getting off their buses early, and walking down the hill into town along Mansfield Road? 
Doesn’t any request to close the bus lanes fail to understand how the bus network make this city tick? 
Does the Portfolio Holder share my frustration at the “common sense” shared on social media over a lane closure during this last weekend to enable around 500 more bedrooms for students, is both disproportionate and ignores how providing places to live in the city centre relieves the traffic network elsewhere, including on Clifton Bridge? 
Does the Portfolio Holder recognise that once again, it is the radical nature of Nottingham Labour Party, grounded in good planning and transport policies, that will have to carry the burden of defending the city against the panic and the jibber that the easy pitch on social media can represent? 

CQ9 “Highways England should be providing funding to the Council for short-term measures” 
My supplementary questions –
Can I congratulate the Portfolio Holder for the range of proposals put forward for relieving congestion during the loss of traffic lanes across the bridge.
Will the Portfolio Holder congratulate the highway officers who recognised that to free our buses and trams up and to bring relief to the residents of Meadows Way, they needed to close the western chord of Crocus Street to traffic and that they needed the Police to stop through traffic from using the western half of Meadows Way and Sheriffs Way as it runs through the New Meadows? However counter-intuitive closing roads to traffic at the times of a bridge failure may have seemed!!
Will the Portfolio Holder accept my thanks to our staff, and to the staff of the Police Service and to others who helped the public during the closures. In a time of pressure on finances for services, especially tackling drug dealing in our neighbourhoods, isn’t it a shame that time and money for tackling those problems has been lost? I believe Highways England should contribute to the relief of the problems they have brought.