Thursday, 29 October 2015

Congestion blues

When the post arrived this morning I was annoyed to discover in a fixed penalty notice, fining me for driving in a bus lane two Thursdays ago, late, on my way to the monthly RUG meeting. I needed the car for a Chepstow trip to our suppliers after the meeting, and normally wouldn't dream of taking my car, since walking and bussing is so easy. I got impatient arriving at the highly congested junction of Queen Street and Newport Road. I couldn't get in to a stationary turning right lane without causing more congestion in main lane, so I drove on, did a couple of right turns to bring me back to where I could make a left turn for the exit I needed. At that point, there was another two hundred yard traffic queue to the lights, so I turned into the empty bus lane, forgetting about the new enforcement order. Of course buses and taxis should have priority, but when there's nothing in sight before or behind, the temptation to fill the empty space was too great. Serves me right.

I had to take the car into the office again today, for another Chepstow trip. We were quite late leaving and when we arrived back in town, it was dark. There was even more congestion at this junction, and no alternative route to get back to the office and park where I could drip off two bulky boxes of new radio purchases. Bob Dylan and the Band were performing at the Motorpoint arena, and doubtless the influx of concert goers added to the usual rush hour congestion. It took half an hour to move four hundred yards and cross the junction, having moved early to get into the correct queue for the lights. Last time's lesson learned.

There's no obvious way to do anything about this frightful bottleneck. I dread to think about the impact of pollution levels on local residents. At this time, city centre population is once more rising, due to construction of new student accommodation. The road passing in front of the newly refurbished Queen Street station is still too narrow for the number of cars needing to use it to reach the south side of the town centre from the east. Only when a decision is taken to redevelop the Capitol shopping centre site will it be possible to re-consider road layout and building design to eliminate the choke point. How long will that be I wonder?

Not long after I finally got home, Kath and Rhiannon arrived after rush hour traffic had well subsided to spend the weekend with us. Such a lovely consolation for time wasted in traffic queues. 

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