Ormskirk – traffic congestion solved by the new Switch Island – Thornton Link Road!

This must rank as one of the oddest and most ridiculous things that I have come across in recent times.

Lancashire County Council must be having an off moment if they think Ormskirk’s traffic congestion is going to be resolved in any way by the building of the Switch Island – Thornton Link Road in Sefton. Apart from anything else this soon to be constructed new road is miles away from Ormskirk! Do they really think that folk driving to Southport will continue 2 more junctions down the M58 to Switch Island, in the opposite direct to Southport, and then go north again via this hugely circuitous route rather than go straight through Ormskirk?

As an excuse for not solving Ormskirk’s traffic congestion this must rank as bizarre at best yet an allegedly credible transport document for Lancashire is proposing just this. Below is a direct quote from LCC’s West Lancashire Highways and Transportation Masterplan Consultation Draft dated November 2013:-

‘a study commissioned into the M58 to Southport corridor has suggested that with the opening of the Thornton – Switch Island link, traffic reductions will mean that a bypass will no longer be the most cost effective way to solve Ormskirk’s congestion issues’

Can you imagine sat navs taking drivers on this 10 mile or more detour when the direct route from the M58 (Junction 3) is through Ormskirk and on via the A570 to Southport?

Chester Station Train Crash

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-25016996

The BBC has the story.

I have always thought it odd that train crashes get high profile media attention whilst road crashes have to be really serious for anyone to blink.

I suppose it’s because our railways are so safe and accidents so rare whilst our roads are so dangerous and accidents so frequent.

Merseytravel – Yet another revelation

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/merseytravel-chiefs-spent-13m-taxpayers-6303426

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above.

I think it’s probably fair to say that you run out of things to say about Merseytravel and it’s almost the case of shrugging the shoulders and muttering ‘Oh just another chapter in this utterly bizarre saga’.

What’s probably the biggest unanswered question though is – When are there to be consequences or are the powers that be expecting more to be revealed before they tell us who is to face such consequences?

Passenger Focus publishes new research into bus passenger views on value for money.

Passenger Focus is a national group which always looks at public transport from the users perspective. This is a recent survey they did about bus services which, lets’s face it, are generally hardly of the quality to make folks leave their cars at home!

Interestingly, Cllr. John Fillis the Transport portfolio holder for Lancashire County Council told us all at the OPSTA meeting on 31st October (which I posted about) that the whole of Lancashire would fall within a Quality Bus Contract in the foreseeable future meaning the routes, ticket prices etc. will be specified by Lancs CC.

This is what Passenger Focus says:-

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We asked passengers about this as our 2013 Bus Passenger Survey showed that satisfaction with value for money ranged from 30-70 per cent – averaging at only 54 per cent. We wanted to understand what really influenced this.
The key findings are:
•passengers’ views on value for money are most influenced by getting a seat on punctual, frequent and reliable buses
•the attitude of the bus driver and the difficulties when trying to find information about timetables, routes and fares, also greatly affected passengers’ views
•young bus passengers are more reliant on buses than many other passengers and their needs for more flexibility to balance education, work and their social lives are not being met
•young passengers resent paying adult fares when they are still in education, training or low-paid work – they think that adult fares should only be charged from 18 years onwards.

Anthony Smith, Passenger Focus chief executive, said:

“Bus fares and passenger satisfaction varies widely across the country. In many places, bus fares increase by more than inflation each year. Passengers rightly expect buses to deliver them to their destination in relative comfort at the promised time.”

Please click the link below to download the report:
www.passengerfocus.org.uk/research/publications/bus-passenger-views-on-value-for-money

Parking problems around St Gregory’s RC Primary School, Lydiate

And before anyone says what’s odd about that as there are parking problems outside virtually every primary school, everywhere because very few children walk to school anymore, this is not about issues of that nature at school times.

No the problem here is when the School rents out its football pitches at the weekend as this brings with it many cars associated with the families of participating youngsters.

I have been getting concerns from residents about this for some time now and posted about the grass verge in Lambshear Lane (which runs down one side of the site) being churned up by the vehicles of parents etc. when weekend football games are on. Check out my posting of 29th January 2013.

The Lambshear Lane problem has to a large extent been resolved via the School agreeing not to open its access gate onto Lambshear Lane when such matches are on but the related problems in Sandy lane are a real road safety worry.

What happens is that cars get parked all the way along Sandy lane from its junction with Lambshear Lane right up to the zig zag lines at the Schools main entrance and this is a long run. The road has a bend (which leads to poor driver visibility) and it is too narrow for vehicles to pass each other without one having to put two wheels on the pavement on the opposite side of Sandy Lane where there are houses.

The whole situation is an accident waiting to happen because it can only be a matter of time before a pedestrian gets knocked over who steps out of a driveway onto the pavement only to find a vehicle there running along the pavement at speed! I watched the problem manifest itself with Cllrs. Andrew Blackburn and Wyn Maher only last Sunday morning. The photo below helps illustrate the issues.

rsz_sandy_ln_11_13

I have again raised concerns and hope that the School and Council Highways Officers can find solutions. My understanding is that the School does not want to allow the cars onto their car park due to potential security risks to the School but this unfortunately puts the problem onto the Sandy Lane which has brought resident safety complaints.

This is proving to be an intractable problem but I hope there is a solution out there.

OPSTA Meeting with Cllr. John Fillis – Lancashire County Councillor

I attended an Ormskirk, Preston & Southport Travellers Association (OPSTA) meeting in Ormskirk Civic Hall last night where the guest speaker was Cllr. John Fillis a Labour member of Lancashire County Council and its Cabinet member for Transportation.

Cllr. John Fillis speaking to the OPSTA meeting last night.

Cllr. John Fillis speaking to the OPSTA meeting last night.

It was a good meeting and John was not your usual politician turning up to say all the right platitudes; in many ways he was blunt but refreshingly straight forward.

He seemed quite optimistic about the Merseyrail Northern Line, that presently ends in Ormskirk, being extending firstly to Burscough and then on to Preston within the next 15 to 20 years. I Hope his optimism is well placed as this should be a no brainer of an objective.

He also said he was hopeful of getting a railway back into Skelmersdale after generations of there not being one since the New Town was built. But he said this would be on the back of rail freight into the Town associated with the expansion of Liverpool Docks.

An upgrade in just about every way of the Southport to Wigan line also had his support.

I congratulated him on his contribution because to be honest I have always found Lancashire County Council and indeed West Lancs Disrict Council rather disinterested in seriously improving the Southport – Wigan and Ormskirk – Preston Lines as they have always had bigger fish to fry elsewhere.

We shall see what becomes of all this but a positive approach from Cllr. Fillis was good to hear indeed and it builds on the work of John Pugh the MP for Southport.