Most folk do not walk or cycle around the now infamous Switch Island where the M57 & M58 Motorways join with the A59, A5036 and the new(ish) Brooms Cross Road but it’s quite possible and even safe to do so. Indeed it’s probably safer than driving around it based on the almost daily road traffic accidents that happen there. However, if you do walk or cycle it you will come across this large boulder with 2 metal plaques set into it:-
The plaques record the 1st and 2nd phases of the reconstruction of the junction in 1998 and 2006. But what about the other phases? I think there have been 2 additional ones – one when Brooms Cross Road was joined to it and then very recently when major re-signage and safety changes were made. Now it could be that austerity means there’s no money for additional plaques, or the boulder’s not big enough for additional ones, or despite all the phases and changes the damn thing (the island not the boulder) is a bit of an embarrassment to Highways England so they are trying to keep a low profile? All 3 are, I’m willing to believe, potentially the case of course.
Click on the photo to enlarge it
This sign (I’m talking about the lower faded one of course) has been up on the Maghull boundary on the A59/Northway (Switch Island end) for a few years now but what purpose was it intended to serve?
Bearing in mind that drivers will have been going past it at 40mph+ and with it being both small with even smaller print on it, what hope has there ever been of its significance being noticed even before it became faded?
‘Our Maghull – Our Future’ is looking a little faded don’t you think?
Having become aware that at the junction of the Northway Service Road and Moorhey Road there’s no dropped kerb for cyclists to access the short path to the pedestrian/cycle crossing across the A59 I took the matter up with Sefton Council’s Highways Dept.
They’ve come back to me and there’s some good news – They say that the missing dropped kerb will be included as part of the Dover Road improvement scheme and will be one of the first pieces of work for that project. It seems the works are scheduled for the coming financial year but there’s no firm date as yet. Best present guess the autumn I understand.
Lydiate residents will most probably have seen the article in this weeks Aintree & Maghull Champion regarding requests for a bus shelter on the A59/Northway adjacent to the Kenyons Lane traffic lights.
I’ve also raised this with Merseytravel recently following a Lydiate resident asking for a shelter at this spot on the Lydiate & Neighbours FB Group in a thread that I posted about a bus shelter being removed in Moss Lane, Lydiate. The shelter being removed is one that served the old 311 route that provided a good service between Lydiate and Ormskirk.
Obviously the response as printed in the Champion is at best disappointing as there’s only one bus to Ormskirk from Lydiate these days i.e. the Arriva 310. What’s more it only skims the edge of Lydiate with just one stop on the A59/Northway.
I appreciate the difficulties of this A59 bus stop site but in reality, on such a busy road, you would expect not only a shelter but a bus lay-by too. However, I also appreciate it’s a cramped site and that Merseytravel have to prioritise their expenditure. Maybe a re-routing of the bus to travel through more of Lydiate would actually be the best solution. The most likely way to do this would be for the bus to cross Northway instead of turning onto the A59 so to serve the rest of Kenyons Lane, then Liverpool Road past the old windmill and back to the A59 at Robins Island. But this at face value simple change has its problems too as St Thomas’ School is on that short stretch of Kenyons Lane and I guess that at school coming and going times the bus would get caught up in traffic jams just like the 31/31A Lydiate circular bus does on Sandy Lane.
Arriva and Merseytravel can surely get their heads together here to try to find a way forward because this situation has come about mainly due to the former 311 bus being withdrawn by Arriva in August 2015. I covered the campaign to try to save that bus on this blog site – see link below:-
Yes of course the 311 was a commercial service and the 310 is too so I realise that Merseytravel have no powers to make Arriva think again about the provision of buses between Lydiate and Ormskirk. However, there’s a Bus Alliance in operation across Merseyside which Merseytravel and Arriva are a part of so at the very least they should be around a table trying to sort issues like this out.
And lastly, for now anyway, the underlying issue here is the Deregulation of bus services outside of London that was brought in during the 1980’s. My own view is that we lost control of our bus services when that happened and it was bad legislation. I’m told that Merseytravel are slowly working towards re-regulation of buses but I fear that that bus is only just about creeping along.
Anyone who tries to negotiate the hugely complex Switch Island will have seen that the recent upgrade/safety works by Highways England have all but been completed. The big question now is will it be any safer?
I’ve commented on this matter many times before as both a driver and indeed as a cyclist as I have witnessed driver behaviour.
To sum up, the problems as I have seen them are:-
* Too higher speeds approaching the junction
* Red light running/jumping
* Confused drivers veering from lane to lane
* Impatient regular users not allowing for the confused/lost drivers
One issue that comes quickly to mind is that towards the end of the M57 the speed has recently been reduced to 50mph and then even nearer to Switch Island to 40mph. That these new speed restrictions are almost completely ignored, you will not be surprised to hear, is pretty much all of the time. Indeed, the other day I reached the 50mph section, I slowed to 50 mph and had a horn blown at me because I had slowed down a fellow driver! My point being why are there not speed cameras on the approaches to Switch Island like at the end of the M62 as you near the Rocket in Liverpool?
Oh and another thing, this time from a cyclists perspective. Why have the street lamps which foul the cycle path around one part of Switch Island not been re-sited? Highways England have known about the problem for quite some time now:-
First a bit of personal history; we had our wedding reception at Aughton Chase in 1982.
If memory serves it then closed down in the late 1980s/early 1990s with the building subsequently burning down and becoming derelict. The site was in West Lancs Green Belt and it took many years for it to be released from that for development.
In the past 3 years or so houses, very big houses, have slowly been built across the site with big price tags on them. The site, I might add, is all within Aughton and therefore West Lancashire but it abuts the Lydiate/Sefton Borough boundary.
So why am I rehearsing this 30+ years of history? Well, it’s because of the impression I have gained whilst travelling past this prominent site next to the A59 Northway. Probably best if I illustrate things:-
Do you see what I mean? The high wooden fencing around the site is hardly appealing, is it?
Click on the photos to enlarge them