04/07/2015

Widening of the A12 & the knock on effects to non-drivers

As most will know the Government are planning to add a 3rd lane to the A12 in both directions & try make it a motorway like A road between M25 & Colchester. Now all the news about this has been focused on the destruction of buildings that are next to the road itself as well as if the widening of the A12 will actually improve traffic levels (IMO it will do nothing of the sort) & this is an issue to be discussed elsewhere but I like to highlight another more important issue that has been ignored. This would be the use of the A12 by non-drivers as in pedestrians & cyclists. You're probably asking how or where they use the A12, well if you ever travel along the A12, you might've seen paths along it between junctions. They are a mix of paths & shared paths creating what are safe links to towns along the A12 for those walking or cycling, relics of when this road was a typical standard 2-way road & when it had businesses along the whole length before it was dualed to 'ease traffic congestion' (that worked out well didn't it?) & forced cyclists off the A12 & onto these paths.

Now if you travel by bicycle along the A12 to & from Chelmsford you'll pop on & off the A12 with these shared paths to a 'reasonable' route to get to & from Chelmsford & these same paths link the towns to businesses along the A12 too so pedestrians can walk to them safely.


So where am I going with this, well these paths are right alongside the A12 & if a 3rd lane in both directions is constructed then these paths would disappear. Gone would be the link to Chelmsford from Colchester as well as other towns in between, gone would be the links between towns & businesses along the A12 for those walking & cycling. This would mean those cycling would have to seek alternative routes that would be longer, unsafe & undesirable for most.


This would result in those walking would more likely have to give up walking & use a car & the same for most who cycle, adding to the traffic on the already congested A12 & really would defeat the object of a 3rd lanes to reduce congestion on the A12. Though to be honest I am doubtful a 3rd lane would help ease the traffic on the A12 & reduce the problems on it daily, but that's another debate...

So what exactly can we do? Well the 3rd lanes on the A12 are looking to be done whether it is good idea or not, so we need to work with it to help encourage walking & cycling along the A12. As both sides of the A12 will be dug up to add these 3rd lanes, then this is the best time we can actually build even better segregated cycleways & foot paths to replace the outdated unmaintained unsuitable 2-way narrow shared paths on both sides.

 

 

There are plenty of examples of this where it has been done before. Netherlands have some great examples & even along motorways (now that would be cool to have here). It's even being done in London now so why not the A12 or any A road like it to be honest? As shown in the pictures I found on the internet.

 

 

And if we went with this idea then why not go along the whole A12 from Colchester to Chelmsford so then anyone can cycle along the whole A12 & not have to hop on & off it at every town.


It isn't that much further to travel & it'll be easier to stay on the A12 & do the whole distance, could even go around Colchester too with the A12 & give another alternative to travel to other parts of the town without having to go through the heavily congested town centre. Even drivers know what it is like to travel through a congested town with constant starting & stopping at every junction, its tiring with all that concentration.


We could even push the idea even further & do the 3rd lane & segregated cycleway & paths all along A12 right up to Ipswich. Would make getting there or anywhere along it more feasible by walking or cycling, works out less to travel to than to Chelmsford too.


And to be honest these routes as a segregated route would also be beneficial to drivers too as well as the 3rd lane, the more appealing the route is for those wanting to walk or cycle the more would likely others would walk or cycle than drive so less traffic on the A12. So it would be a win win for everyone in doing this. Having this done would give a choice for all who wants to travel & be able to in a safe convenient manner no matter what method of travel they like to use.

So we just need to spread the word on this & get the Government, Councils & Councillors to listen & supply the need for all & not just for those who drive.

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