by Colin Campbell
THE traffic system in and around Inverness these days changes suddenly and without warning, with the installation or removal of barriers and restrictions. No-one knows quite what to expect from the transport department on a day to day basis. If it’s all being worked out on the back of an envelope, there must be quite a pile of discarded ones by now.
That’s the Reliant Robin way the council are currently running things.
But at the other extreme we have Bear Scotland, who operate on a different timescale altogether.
Last week a pedestrian crossing became available for use in Glenurquhart Road. A few new markings on the road and a couple of traffic signals doesn’t amount to very much.
But people who have been campaigning for it might have been expected to hold a celebratory street party given the time it’s taken to gain success.
Glenurquhart Road is busy at peak times and the addition of a crossing was considered necessary by people living there – about a decade ago.
And it’s taken just about that long to persuade Bear Scotland to install one.
There has never been a point blank refusal. But there have been surveys and consultations and consultations about the surveys and meetings and more surveys in a tailback of delay that at times has seemed never ending.
So it’s no wonder that local Councillor Bill Boyd, who has been most actively involved in securing the thing, was almost punching the air with delight last week.
Extracting a single pedestrian crossing from Bear Scotland is an incredibly long and exhaustive process, as they move at a crawl.
Their interminable reluctance to provide it was based on concerns that it would interrupt traffic flow and be a minor impediment to drivers. It’s clear where their motorised priorities lie.
The council on the other hand takes a very different approach. Given what we’ve seen in recent times they almost seem to regard drivers as an inconvenience they could well do without on their roads, as they adjust them to fit the needs of cyclists, and “spaces for people” pedestrians.
Bear Scotland takes years to agree to install a solitary pedestrian crossing.
But the council will block off a lane on a busy road running into the city before they’ve had breakfast.
It’s scarcely a smoothly synchronised traffic system.
No wonder drivers, and road crossing campaigners, can barely work out sometimes whether they’re coming or going.