Switch Island – Too complex and the junction with Brooms Cross Road does not work

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-42946503

The BBC has the story on its web site – see link above

During my time as a Sefton Councillor I was involved in pretty much all the activities which eventually led to the building of Brooms Cross Road.

It all started with us marching through Thornton to try to get the new road project back on the agenda of Sefton Council. It had previously fallen off that agenda with the demise of what was then called the ‘Blue Route’. That former project would have seen a great deal of tree loss through Ince Woods and it fell pretty much for that reason. Here’s a couple of photos of us marching back around the turn of the century:-

Cllr. Geoff Howe and a young me on this shot marching with Thornton residents. My placard says ‘83% of Thornton residents want a relief road’.

Thornton residents marching to get the new road built.

The campaign gathered momentum and we managed to get all-party support for the new road (without damaging the woods) on the then balanced Sefton Council where no one party had a majority. Then I went, as Sefton Leader, to try to gain support from regional governmental bodies which existed at the time but are now defunct. We got that support.

I’ve read recently that some folks think that Sefton Council was asked to make a financial contribution to the project late on. In fact Sefton was always putting money into the project, indeed it was the promoter of the new road knowing full well it was going to have to put money in the pot.

The junction of the road with Switch Island has of course been the big issue especially as so many accidents have occurred there since the new road has been open and connected to an already complex junction.

Photo taken during the construction of Brooms Cross Road This is the Switch Island end of the yet to be completed road

I recall being shown a computer programme by the Highways Agency (now called Highways England) which predicted traffic flows and how they would change with the new road in place. I must admit to being sceptical at the time but the professional engineers said they had taken account of all the issues and that the plan would fly. It didn’t.

With the benefit of hindsight and the experience of watching what goes on at Switch Island my view is that the junction is simply too complex. What I mean by this is that new or irregular drivers encountering it have a bewildering array of signs and road markings to take on board. Unsurprisingly, they get things wrong and then have to swing across lanes, often without the due care required. Add into this the small minority of irresponsible regular users who expect to be able to fly through the junction at high speed (often running red lights) then you have a heady brew and accidents are always going to be on the cards.

The new lane indicator lights are innovative but how much they will actually help is yet to be seen. What I can’t get my head around is why speed/red light cameras were not been installed a long time ago. Surely dropping the vehicle approach speeds and taking the manic red light running out via such cameras would dramatically reduce the accidents, would it not?

Does Switch Island need fly-overs? Well yes it does and it has needed them for a long time now. Surely A5036/Dunningsbridge Rd docks trucks should be able to access the M58 without having to negotiate the island/junction and the same with traffic coming off the M57 wanting to travel down Brooms Cross Road.

And a final thought, beware of those promising to sort out Switch Island because with increased traffic it may only get worse, especially if no speed/red light cameras are installed.

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Maghull’s Independent Councillor re-launches NHS Walk-In Centre Campaign

Below is my press release to the Aintree & Maghull Champion in support of Cllr. Matt Gannon’s campaign

Former Sefton Council Leader backs NHS Walk-In Centre Campaign for Maghull

Former Lib Dem Sefton Council Leader Tony Robertson is throwing his support behind Independent Cllr. Matt Gannon’s push to get an NHS Walk-In Centre in Maghull.

Says Tony “We fought but sadly lost this battle once before so I am pleased that Matt is giving it another go.

Back a few years ago local councillors led by former Sefton Lib Dem Cllr. Geoff Howe put South Sefton and then the merged Sefton Primary Care Trust under a lot of pressure to deliver an NHS Walk-In Centre in Maghull to serve the East Parishes part of the Borough. We made progress and were told that Maghull Health Centre was to be rebuilt, that a Walk-In facility would likely be included and that the money for the project had been allocated. But when we made the information public the NHS ran for the hills, denied it all and subsequently did nothing about rebuilding the Health Centre.

We were badly let down and were also told by the NHS that Litherland Walk-In facility (in the old Litherland Town Hall) was meant to provide a service to the East Parishes communities of Lydiate, Aintree Village, Melling and Maghull. Trouble is the public transport connections to it from our part of the Borough are appalling so those without cars can’t access it.

I wish Matt well as Labour, who took all 9 local council seats on Sefton Council, did nothing to progress the campaign and it has taken the election of a non-Labour councillor to get the fight back on track.”

*****ENDS*****

Cllr. Tony Robertson
Lib Dem member of Lydiate Parish Council
28th July 2016

Maghull Nostalgia – Before the Meadows Zebra Crossing & Roundabout

Here’s a bit of local history with a road safety theme.

Long-term Maghull residents will know that there has not always been a Zebra Crossing and mini-roundabout at the junction of Hall Lane and Liverpool Road South by the Meadows shops and pub.

Before - Late 1980's at the Meadows corner with no Zebra Crossing or mini-roundabout. Geoff Howe and fellow campaigners Sandra Morgan and Andrew Blackburn are in shot.

Before – Late 1980’s at the Meadows corner with no Zebra Crossing or mini-roundabout. Geoff Howe and fellow campaigners Sandra Morgan and Andrew Blackburn are in shot.

This meant that pedestrians trying to cross the road and vehicles exiting Hall Lane were at quite a disadvantage. Sadly there were a number of accidents at the junction, which is on a sharp bend. The final straw was a youngster being run over and a campaign was launched to get the junction made safer. The lead campaigner was a certain Geoff Howe who’s daughter had been knocked down. Fortunately his daughter recovered but Geoff was determined to get some action taken by Sefton Council.

After - Zebra Crossing and mini-roundabout in place thanks to Geoff Howe's campaigning.

After – Zebra Crossing and mini-roundabout in place thanks to Geoff Howe’s campaigning.

AFTER - a 2nd after shot. Just look how the shops behind have changed.

AFTER – a 2nd after shot. Just look how the shops behind have changed.

Of course he won, with the backing of Maghull Town Council, and subsequently Geoff became a Town Councillor and Sefton Borough Councillor, ending his time as a councillor as Mayor of Maghull.

Click on the photos to enlarge them.