BSCF's Comment on Continued Car Park Chaos

Letter to Herts and Essex Observer

This letter was published in the Herts and Essex Observer on 13 March 2008

The Editor,
Herts & Essex Observer,
12 North Street,
Bishop's Stortford,
CM23 2LQ
7 March 2008

Dear Sir,


It comes as no surprise to read that traffic chaos has hit the Jackson Square car park yet again (Observer 6 March).

As we pointed out to Herts Highways some three years ago, it is the inevitable consequence of placing the entry and exit points to the car park the wrong way round. Traffic trying to leave the car park hits the queue trying to enter it almost immediately and cannot get out as a result, as your picture illustrates. It would be difficult to think of a more elementary mistake in highway design.

It should be remembered that the multi-storey car park is simply a slightly larger replacement of the car park in the same location which functioned perfectly acceptably for many years without causing gridlock. This was because the entry and exit positions were the opposite of those now in place. Consequently, traffic waiting to enter could queue in Adderley Road without impeding departing vehicles which could join the main traffic flow straight away.

Apart from expense, it is difficult to see what a second exit into Adderley Road will achieve. It might move the gridlock out of the car park and on to the road, but will not deal with the basic flaw in the current arrangements. Either the present entry and exit points will have to be swapped or, if they remain where they are, the same improvement could be achieved by reversing the one way flow in Adderley Road, Station Road and Dane Street to anti-clockwise. Though more expensive, this might have the longer term benefit of directing traffic leaving the station car park (and any future goods yard development) away from South Street rather than straight into it.

The consequences of this mistake are serious. As your article makes clear, it could prejudice the commercial health of the town as a shopping centre. But it also raises the question of where our local planning authority, EHDC, should obtain advice on the transport implications of complex development proposals which are likely to come before it, such as the station goods yard or the suggested schools relocation. Herts Highways' advice has led to the replacement of a car park which did work with another one on the same site which doesn't. Can their advice really be relied on when EHDC comes to take much more difficult planning decisions?

Perhaps Herts Highways should stick to potholes. There are plenty requiring their attention.

Bishop's Stortford Civic Federation