Different planets

PUBLISHED: 11:24 02 October 2008 | UPDATED: 13:37 06 May 2010

SIR, — Although Dennis Owen and I live in the same city I do not think that we live on the same planet as his letter (Herts Advertiser, September 25) seems to suggest he is living in a completely different world. Moreover his memory seems to be failing hi

SIR, - Although Dennis Owen and I live in the same city I do not think that we live on the same planet as his letter (Herts Advertiser, September 25) seems to suggest he is living in a completely different world.

Moreover his memory seems to be failing him too. His description of a clear St Peter's Street in 2007 bears little reality to the facts since even when the street was closed to cars it was besieged by contractors' vehicles and equipment as well as by the cars of their employees which could not be accommodated in the sequestered spaces in Bricket Road car park His apparent surprise that the street was clear(er) when closed to private traffic should not surprise him - what else would he expect? I wonder what he means "as normal" because "as normal" before the narrowing of the roadway last year can hardly describe traffic as free flowing. And now that we have the constrictions - made a little less so by the removal of the cycle lanes - we are never going to get free-flowing traffic, not even up to the 20mph limit dreamt up by district council leader Robert Donald and his LibDem cohorts. The only beneficiaries of the "enhancement scheme" appear to have been the contractors and their suppliers of the granite paving.

But what I find quite astonishing is Mr Owen's tendentious remark that his estimated 30 cars at a time using the street "have no business to be there". If he means they are not going to business within the street he may be right but on the other hand if he suggests they should not be allowed to use the street, he is way off beam. As long as they have paid their road tax and are fully insured, they have every right to drive along the street which is in fact the Queen's highway and a major thoroughfare. And there is hardly a suitable alternative as was proved by the earlier one-way system experiment.

I agree the street is almost permanently congested, a congestion which is aggravated on market days by many of the traders obstructing bus lanes in order to load their trucks which they should be able to do on the tarmac area of the sidewalk but cannot do so since so many of the traders have encroached on this area by setting up their own supplementary stalls beyond the limits of the area provided by the council. This congestion is compounded by the council's own refuse collecting contractors obstructing the bus lanes with their collection trolleys and even worse leaving these within the zig-zag lines of the pedestrian crossing.

I have long enjoyed John Betjeman's poetry having been an ardent admirer of Miss Joan Hunter Dunn since first making her acquaintance, but were John Betjeman (and Dennis Owen) to look at some photographs of street scenes in the first decade of the 20th century they would see congestion far worse than any that has been witnessed in St Albans at any time since.

The most disappointing aspect of Mr Owen's letter is his failure to suggest a cure. I made my own representations during the so-called consultation period but since this was merely a charade, no notice was taken of those or of many other more constructive ideas which is why we have been left with the present chaotic state much of which was imposed on us when Cllr Donald decided he had to "seize the moment" and let further millions be wasted on the scheme at the half-way stage when most people realised the dreadful state it was leading to.

PHILIP WEBSTER,

Townsend Drive, St Albans.

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