I support stopping the flow of traffic through Victoria Embankment that was introduced on 3rd August. I believe there is the potential for significant advantage to Meadows residents and users of all the facilities along the Embankment. This change is now the real opportunity to find out what will actually happen with closures, and I know the overall impacts are to be reviewed every month. If the change is to be kept beyond next year, it still needs a full and extensive public consultation.
For some time, there has been a body of public opinion calling for through traffic between Trent Bridge and points west of The Meadows to be prevented. At least 500 vehicles a day were making that journey and that meant noise and pollution in The Meadows.
Plus, the Embankment supports recreation on the riverside, around The Memorial, at a bandstand on the fields for football, cricket and at the special places supporting paddling, adventure games and the mini-cycling network. The presence of traffic, often travelling above 20 mph, does take way from the pleasure of using the general area.
And indeed, on occasions, the through traffic is stopped – for the Riverside Festival, concerts, cycling & running events, commemoration and for car parking to support Forest home games and Test Match days.
But we’d not considered making those changes permanent. So what happened?
The Public Health Emergency highlighted how people were less vulnerable to Covid-19 if they were fitter and if their breathing air was cleaner. The Government responded by saying to councils (as highway authorities) that they would provide extra money to introduce schemes that promoted cycling and walking. Nottingham proposed a range of schemes that were so ambitious that the Government awarded extra money – and one of those proposals was to improve walking and cycling along Victoria Embankment.
I support the change as the emergency measure it is. Which means it’s introduced but can’t be made permanent without the more normal extensive consultation, often associated with letters to many local residents and public consultation meetings. And I am surprised that announcements through the media, and shared by social media, left as many saying they didn’t know the changes were coming as they did. The barriers are also not going to feel permanent, cos they do have to be moved, and they may not state.
Any kind of change is also going to take time to bed in. Car drivers think they know the way, despite whatever diversion signs say. Satellite navigation devices are also not updated frequently and are not aware of diversions. Other changes might affect route selection – part of Wilford Crescent East being unavailable to traffic cos of construction, Collin Street being closed (after 20+ years of trying), and the A52 over the bridge at Clifton not being fully available. But schools are closed and shops and offices are not open to the extent they were.
So I support the change. I believe the best way to find out if the change is suitable, is to continue until we at least know what the impact when traffic volumes are back to much normal levels.
Then we assess the benefits of friendlier space is against the drawbacks.
The potential drawbacks to assess are –
– transference onto more residential streets in unacceptable levels, including on smaller streets;
– delays to public transport;
– and arguably, impact on the Nottingham road traffic in general.
The obvious concern for The Meadows is the parts of Bathley Street and Wilford Grove used by the NCT Green No. 11, and streets off such as Wilford Crescent East, Collygate Road and Turney Street.
I am surprised that traffic might prefer Bathley Street and Wilford Grove given how traffic has to traverse vertical deflection and often has to wait for oncoming traffic to pass; Meadows Way is a much more relaxing route to drive around.
Otherwise: Knowledge of the changes will increase with time. We can listen out for people who have challenges to their mobility.