Tuesday, 28 January 2014

3.Trafalgar Roundabout completion results in "a white knuckle ride." Twitter road rage. Insipid stones. Myriad problems for drivers. Traffic lights for Malpas Road and overhead signage is essential.

 Trafalgar Roundabout, Truro.
L-R. Morlaix Avenue, St Austell Street, Tregolls Rd, 
St Clements Hill, Malpas Road. 
There are often very long tailbacks from every direction

The £2.25m roadworks on Trafalgar roundabout have finally come to an end, but the story continues. Cornwall Council has recently admitted there are ‘teething problems’ and 'glitches', a bland understatement of the myriad problems facing everyone heading for the roundabout.

Arch Hill (B) to Trafalgar roundabout (A) is over a mile away

Today the West Briton has put the roundabout on its front page with a photo showing a long queue of traffic from as far away as Arch Hill. There is also an excellent editorial, a leading article.and readers' letters on the subject. Astonishingly a council spokesman told chief reporter Miles Davis  that "Trafalgar is performing better than anticipated."

Drivers are frustrated by long delays at the traffic lights, which take a long time to change. Malpas Road drivers are blocked from crossing over to the centre by queues of mainstream traffic, and a narrowing in the road just before the exit point has led to single traffic and further delays. The lack of overhead signposting for St Clement, Malpas and Morlaix Avenue causes dangerous driving when drivers get in the wrong lanes, swerve and switch to get back on track. Abbreviated directions St Clem, Mal and A39 are shown on the actual road, but these are usually covered by vehicles.

Drivers and cyclists have been venting their feelings on Twitter since last November on Trafalgar roundabout @TrafalgarTruro, among them Lee Trewhela, the Arts Editor from The West Briton on Malpas Road.

"What the hell is going on at Truro's wonderful new Trafalgar roundabout, cars backed all the way down Malpas Road?!" 

 "Cut up again on Cornwall's new white knuckle ride -Trafalgar roundabout #Truro - 6 times in a week. #IJustSurvivedTrafalgarRoundabout."Mark Picken@mpad_mark

 "I've nearly had 2 accidents this week because some drivers have no idea what lanes to be in! The lights are awful too!" Laura Prynn-Tann@_iamlaura_@WestBriton

Another Tweet: "the markings are a clue people. Just seen 2 cars drift across lanes."

"Trafalgar Roundabout is shocking #truro #poorplanning #howmuch #waste #endlesswaiting."Ben@Benjaham

Drivers wanting to turn left from Malpas Road onto Morlaix Avenue 
are held up by drivers wanting to go straight ahead. 
The only solution to the Malpas Road problem would be to install traffic lights.
Malpas Road:   
roadwork "improvements have widened the mini island above for pedestrians,
but narrowed the former two lane access, so vehicles tend to go one by one
either straight ahead or left to Morlaix Avenue.
 Drivers from Malpas Road wanting to go to St Austell Street, St Clements or the A39  up Tregolls Road have to cross the roundabout.  Malpas Road is at an awkward angle to it, and drivers there are blocked from reaching the centre by incoming traffic turning right. No lights have been provided for Malpas Road traffic, and it is tedious but sometimes necessary to turn left onto Morlaix Avenue in order to do an about turn at the Tesco roundabout, going backwards before getting out of town.  Malpas Road is a 1¾ mile cul de sac leading to Malpas village and popular pub. The road is lined with a large council and other housing estates, flats, houses, a restaurant, Boscawen Park, a cricket pitch and over 20 businesses, including the offices of The West Briton, Cornish Guardian, and BBC Radio Cornwall. Many people have two cars and the road is very busy.

 Of course there have been some improvements:

The new lane closest to the roundabout has made things easier for inbound drivers from the A39 and local traffic onTregolls Road to turn right onto the B3284/St Austell Street. Access to Morlaix Avenue has also improved from this direction.

The new bus lane turning right across the by-pass for buses travelling southbound on Morlaix Avenue onto Quay Street has been cunningly incorporated without losing any of the lanes. Buses are not causing any significant hold--ups so far on either side of Morlaix Avenue.

Access for pedestrians is safer with the new pedestrian crossing between the police and petrol station on Tregolls Road.

The new Shell garage has been back in business since October, as when it was being rebuilt drivers had to go up to the other end of town to Sainsbury's or out of town.

The recent changes at Trafalgar roundabout were vital to improve traffic flow of up to 40,000 vehicles a day and to prepare for the Truro Eastern District Centre development of a Waitrose supermarket, Cornish Food Hall, Park and Ride, recycling centre and 98 Poundbury type houses.  A rumour is going round that Roman remains on the site have been discovered which may fortuitously hold future roadworks up.

Insipid clusters of stones can be seen on the new Trafalgar roundabout.
Short of venturing onto it, and without a zoom lens, 
this is the best photo I can muster at present, taken on a Sunday
Watch this space.

The roundabout has been given a new look with mounds, grass, and incipient trees. Two small conifers can be seen in memory of the giant leylandii which was cut down when the roundabout was reduced in size to create an extra lane. There are also clusters of some uninspiring modern-looking stones, and some ugly green and black boxes. During recent gale-force winds some of the newly planted turves and soil blew into the road, temporarily adding to the chaos.

The roundabout was named by Truro’s loyal city fathers to mark our victory  on 21 October 1805 at the Battle of Trafalgar - an apt name for the current battle to get round it.

To be continued…

http:// http://www.rambulation.com/2013/05/truro-trafalgar-roundabout-is-like-bomb.html