Last night, July 17th, there was a protest on Nottingham Road attended by around 150 people, motorists who stood with their brollies and placards in what they saw as righteous indignation because they are now legally prevented from travelling down Burton Road onto Shearing Hill and have to use the new road which links with the Colwick Loop Road. Burton Road is now a bus plug. This means access for buses and residents only (this is in the original plan). However, the people who are now demonstrating and flourishing a 5,000 signature petition don’t realise that access for residents was always part of the plan. That there are nothing like 5,000 residents within the bus plug area makes you realise that people have, in a way, completely ignored the consultation process and only picked out the bits that affect their immediate day to day activities…
Motorists from Burton Joyce and Carlton have agreed to boycott the bus plug so, in effect, they now have the new road bypass and the old route past residential development and Carlton Le Willows school. Whatever the irate motorists say, they are asking for two roads…
The protest had media coverage, Quentin Raynor from East Midlands Today happened to be passing by with his video camera. There was one policeman who parked his car across the bus plug preventing cars going through but also (by mistake), preventing the beleagured 100 bus getting through at one point.
I live not far from where they protested. I have a very different perspective on the road development and the potential of the bus plug to create a green lung for the residents and staff and pupils of Carlton Le Willows School.
I think about the Big Wheel and how bus and train services can be improved into Nottingham. I think about why the consultation process for this new road was so badly attended in 2005 and consider two things: one why everyone assumed the road would be built automatically, as if by robots (not people) and also that they assume if a road is built, further housing would follow.
Tacitly, everyone seemed to accept that these things were givens so they didn’t attend the meetings, so secondly, they aren’t able to consider any potential community bounty from this bus plug and the developers weren’t able to build in anything with environmental or cultural worth.
I think about this new road in terms of how the Big Wheel might be applied to this situation and how new and better services along the new road and through the new bus plug might make a difference for everyone. I want to see more calm traffic free areas because I know that traffic pollution is muh more important than people realise. I don’t think people like the 150 irate motorists really consider what a difference this bus plug can make to the lives and futures of people who live, work and go to school in its area.
But would irate motorists join a meeting with Nottingham City Transport, Central trains, the residents and the staff and pupils of Carlton Le Willows School? Residents and school staff and pupils can only benefit from the bus plug. For too long traffic congestion along main roads is a given and never addressed.
How difficult is it to really address community and health issues when your home is on a very busy main road and your local school sports field overlooks car pollution and traffic noise.
Residents take advice from health professionals ‘ walk, jog, run’ (but on a busy, noisy, polluted road?). It seems absurd that Carlton Le Willows students run around a sports track developing lung and heart capacity so that they can breathe in car fumes, be distracted by traffic noise while they train and go to and from school.
The bus plug offers the possibility of some respite from the onslaught of cars. Does anyone really consider how the health of residents and school populations are affected by their location on a main road?
The irate motorists have a 5,000 signature petition. How many of those signatures are of residents who want a developing quality of environmental life? Have any of the signatories really thought about how precious that piece of green space could be to everyone in the future? Over from the bus plug is the contractor’s site which is the last bit of green space that the residents of Linden Grove look out into. That is potential green space and could become part of a real development of worth for young people. A place they could enjoy. For years the residents must have looked out onto the green space thinking ‘ this is going to go sometime’ but if it does have to go why can’t some creative temporary accommodation be made that acknowledges how horrible it is to live in traffic and on a main road?
Why is it that motorists think that their cars are more important than the overall quality of environment for everyone, especially, the young and the old?
Because the residents who live on the bus plug and the staff and students of Carlton Le Willows School, just like the irate motorists are part of the planning process and somehow the planning process has been going on outside most people’s lives.
So much so that their expectations of the planning process and politicians are very low.
Is this fair to the next generation? What thought are we giving to how young people receive their future? If the bus plug was left to grow and develop then the relationship between the school and its local community would develop. So many people in the area have a relation with the school but because the school is on a main road, people local to the school forget it. Main roads and traffic are not only dangerous to health but also to accessible connections with their community. When things are slowed down people will consider involvement and engagement, people will feel connected with their local institutions such as as schools, police, local decision making.
Outside my house I can see the new road. It’s wide, traffic lighted and lamposted. Cars surge pass our house in much the same way as they did before the new road was built. Traffic surveys prior to its development suggested that further down the road on Shearing Hill, over 6,500 cars pass every day.
I’ve never lived on a main road before and it wasn’t until I’d been here over a year that I began to really feel that I wanted to do something about it. Tonight, 17th July, however, there was the motorist’s protest attended by around a hundred and fifty people against what I see as the only glimmer of environmental hope the residents nearby and the pupils of Carlton Le Willows school have. The bus plug along Burton Road and Stoke Lane.
We run (away from the traffic) in the morning, across the road down the farmer’s field, past massive electricity pylons to the river. When you run or walk far enough you can imagine it’s all not there, down by Stoke Bardolph lock. I used to dream while they were building the new road that I could divert all the traffic away and would concoct amusing bollard schemes to lead all the traffic away but, eventually I just got used to it and began to plan my eventual escape, looking for little glimmers of pedestrian orientated hope in an every day way.