Rimrose Valley – What does Sefton Council want? And that could well be a very different answer to what it says it wants!

www.rimrosevalleyfriends.org/news/rvf-road-action-group-weekly-update/

The latest news is on the Rimrose Valley Friends Web site – see link above

Yes at face value Labour-led Sefton Council is upset over the plan by Highways England to build a new road right through the middle of Rimrose Valley Country Park but just hang on a minute how did we get to this point and what has Sefton Council actually done?

Firstly, the cart was put before the horse in that the new River Berth was constructed before the necessary improved freight transport access to it had been in any way determined. Sefton Council knew this as it was involved in planning process for the new dock.

That meant that the organisation that which we elect councillors to (Sefton Council) was well positioned to be able to see what was going to happen and to seek to influence the outcomes. So what has Sefton Council been doing to plan for and more importantly influence the freight transport access issues?

Yes we know that Labour Sefton Councillors want the new road but for it to be in a tunnel. They backed that solution, which as far as I know has never been fully investigated and was not a part of the consultation process recently conducted by Highways England. So a road tunnel was never going to be an outcome of that consultation now was it? Then of course when a tunnel was not selected as the preferred solution, which of course it was never going to be, the Labour Party shouted foul we only want a tunnel and just for good measure they added that it was rejected on cost grounds and that if it had been a highway issue ‘down south’ a tunnel would, despite the cost, have been the solution, or similar words to that effect.

So Labour have the perfect get out – they hide behind the sofa whilst the freight access project is worked up by Highways England, they call for/back a solution which was never seriously on Highways England agenda then they complain when that their preferred solution (the tunnel) is not selected!

What strikes me is that Bootle Labour have not been acting as community leaders here but more as community scapegoaters. As Labour has been running Sefton Council for some years now………. you get my drift.

And the real evidence, or lack of it, is in what Labour have done rather than what they have said. Where was their community-wide high-profile campaign to get Highways England to seriously consider a road tunnel solution?

So whatever Labour-led Sefton Council now says that it wants, which may well be what many folk want to hear, what they have done and indeed not done in the lead up to this situation is actually far more relevant.

My guess is that Labour-led Sefton council has let this situation arise because it suited its purpose. I would further suggest that it knew only too well what the likely outcome of the Highways England consultation process would be.

Sefton Council under Labour is part ofthe problem here not part of the solution to the problem!

Electric HGV’s powered by overhead lines – Is it a possible future?

From this to electrically powered HGV’s?

www.flickr.com/photos/mwmbwls/36419388584/in/contacts/

The link above is to a photo together with a short write up on Flickr but it’s really worth looking at as it could just be a possible future without diesel pollution.

Thinking of the air pollution in and around Bootle due to HGV’s accessing the Port of Liverpool (and of course HGV pollution everywhere else too) this must be looked at as a serious alternative to us all being poisoned by traffic pollution.

My friend Bob, who provided the lead to this posting says – I think the point to stress is that this is still experimental and that there would be a host of road management issues to address such as how overtaking would be organised; how to integrate with existing cars and non electric trucks at motorway junctions. There is also a big debate looming about platooning HGVs using anti collision technologies. It may be that dedicated truck ways are the answer – similar to the Leigh busway- although the trough/ dolly wheel steering guidance system could probably be obsolete by then.

The big plus would be if the existing road from the docks was put into a tunnel – electric trucks would be ideal for underground operation.

Photo credit on Flickr link is to Siemens.

Rimrose Valley Country Park to have dual carriageway road built through it!

Rimrose Valley Country Park map.

www.rimrosevalleyfriends.org/news/important-statement-road-to-be-built-through-rimrose-valley/

Truly horrifying news for the environment – see link above to the Rimrose Valley Friends web site which has the story as it looks today.

Idyllic view of Rimrose Valley Country Park

Time for Sefton Council to come out from behind its sofa and fight this plan. For too long Sefton has acted as though it was all but disinterested in the matter. Apart from jumping on a band wagon to suggest the new road be put in a tunnel as an alternative to wrecking the Rimrose Valley Country Park, what else has Sefton done?

And here’s a petition to sign if you would be so kind:-

www.change.org/p/secretary-of-state-for-transport-stop-the-dual-carriageway-through-rimrose-valley?utm_medium=email&utm_source=petition_signer_receipt&utm_campaign=triggered&j=124054&sfmc_sub=37791448&l=32_HTML&u=24084311&mid=7233052&jb=231344

Rimrose Valley Country Park – An idyllic oasis

Idyllic view of Rimrose Valley Country Park

With the potential threat of a road being driven straight through this country park I thought it was time to have a really good look at it. I had been previously but not for any length of time. I was not to be disappointed.

I set off on my cycle from our Lydiate home last Saturday morning quite early on a bright and sunny day. Joining the foot and cycle paths that lead into the County Park at Edge Lane I found my way via this footpath network through into what is a linear open space. It is in fact surrounded by the built up areas of Crosby, Netherton, Thornton and Litherland and ends in Seaforth half a mile from the Container Terminal.

Rimrose in the foreground and its threat in the background

You can see why Highways England have been eyeing up the land to get a new road through to the docks but what on earth will it do to this lovely oasis if they get the go ahead? I remain very much opposed to that plan but we will find out very soon what is going to happen.

What I found early on a Saturday morning was friendly dog walkers, fellow cyclists and a lovely ride through urban countryside. What’s more a very tame squirrel joined me for 30 yards or more running alongside my bike. I assume he was wondering if I had some food.

The Seaforth end of the Country Park which joins the A5036 Princess Way

Surely there can be little, if any, doubt that a road driven through the Rimrose Valley can only have negative consequences for our environment.

Rimrose Valley Country Park – Highways England’s announcement delayed.

Rimrose Valley Country Park map.

My understanding was that Highways England (previously known as the Highways Agency) were due to announce their preferred solution to increasing the capacity of the A5036 otherwise known as Dunningsbridge Road/ Church Road in Netherton on 8th August.

Of course the big fear amongst environmental campaigners is that they will plump to build a new road through Rimrose Valley Country Park. The ‘need’ for the increased road capacity is due to the Liverpool 2 River Berth being constructed at Seaforth by Peel Ports, a subject I have posted about many times before.

But news reached me yesterday via an e-mail from Rimrose Valley Friends, who are trying to protect the Country Park, that the announcement has been delayed until September. We are told that this follows a Highways England meeting with Mersey Mayor Steve Rotherham.

The significance of the delay/deferment is not presently known.

Here’s a couple of links to pages on the Rimrose Valley Friends web site about the expected announcement:-

www.rimrosevalleyfriends.org/news/highways-england-port-of-liverpool-access-preferred-route-announcement-due-080817/#

www.rimrosevalleyfriends.org/news/highways-england-port-of-liverpool-access-preferred-route-announcement-delayed/

Maghull – So what would we do if there was a plan to remove pedestrian bridges in Maghull as is planned just down the road in Netherton on the A5036?

This is one of those postings that I have been meaning to get around to for a while now because the issue was raised with me following the Champion newspaper article mentioned below. And no, before I start, I don’t have any inside information to say the Maghull footbridges are under threat.

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/would-you-prefer-cross-road-12619143

Firstly, the Liverpool Echo has the story of a proposal from Highways England (Previously known as the Highways Agency) to remove the pedestrian bridge over the A5036 adjacent to the the Park Lane/A5036 junction in Netherton – see link above.

The Aintree & Maghull Champion also covered this story in its edition of 8th February. A quote from Highways England in that articles says ‘Pedestrians & cyclists tell us they prefer road level crossings to bridges and underpasses’.

The Netherton footbridge is of a similar construction to the two pedestrian bridges on Northway in Maghull at the Hall Lane/A59 & Damfield Lane/A59 junctions but there is a difference. The difference is that the footbridges and indeed the Maghull A59 subway at The Square are controlled by Sefton Council not Highways England.

A59 footbridge at Damfield Lane, Maghull

The question I was asked was would it be reasonable to assume that Sefton Council may come up with similar removal proposals for Maghull’s two bridges in due course?

There’s no doubt that these bridges are a product of their time and modern bridges of this nature would be constructed differently to take account of disability access regulations – the steps on the ramps come to mind. What’s more the steps in the middle of the Damfield Lane bridge are extremely steep and I know some folks avoid using them. But the Maghull footbridges clearly serve a useful purpose as does the one at Park Lane Netherton because people do use them.

Steep middle steps to Damfield Lane/A59 footbridge.

Interacting with traffic on these busy fast flowing roads is dangerous so being able to use a footbridge strikes me as a sensible option for pedestrians. And let’s not forget that pedestrians/cyclists are the most important and most vulnerable things on our roads.

The Hall Lane/A59 junction is of course infamous for red jumping by northbound vehicle drivers, that’s why it has long had a red light camera on it. But surely, if there was no footbridge here, then the worry would be red light jumping vehicles and pedestrians colliding with horrible consequences.

The concern expressed to me was that at some point Sefton Council may say to Maghull folk ‘hey your footbridges over Northway are life expired and we want to put in Toucan crossings instead’ as Highways England have just done in Netherton. Frankly, I would have both footbridges and Toucan crossings as to me pedestrians/cyclists are king and Maghull is already badly split in two by the A59’s tarmac and steel barrier.

On the wider point of the A59 cutting Maghull in half, this is a serious issue. To my mind the free flowing of traffic along Northway has been achieved at the expense of pedestrians and cyclists. I have even heard folk call Northway – Maghull’s Berlin Wall.

I recall, some 10 years ago, that a gap in the central reservation crash barriers was closed up where the A59 crosses the Leeds Liverpool Canal. This means that those using the footpath out of the end of Avondale Avenue and up the steps onto Northway, which is used to connect with the path on the other side of the A59 that runs through St. Andrew’s Churchyard, has been made far more difficult unless you are prepared to hurdle central reservation crash barriers. My point being that the hurdling is done every day especially by school children! In other words the route is still being used but as well as having to look out for traffic you have to get over the barriers too. Clearly the interests of Maghull folk wanting to get from one side of the A59 to the other came secondary here to other highway priorities.

Underpass/Subway at the Northway/Eastway/Westway junction in Maghull.

It will be interesting to see whether when the two Maghull A59 footbridges become life expired Sefton Council follows suit with Highways England and proposes removal but that’s a challenge that has yet to be put before us and possibly it never will be?

With thanks to Keith for the lead to this posting