The first is the news that Devon County Council (DCC) have short-listed two options for up-grading the North Devon Link Road: either to improve certain junctions (cost £35million) or up-grade those junctions and, in addition, provide more 3-lane overtaking opportunities. They have concluded that doing nothing is not an option. That is the good news.
In any event, I suggest that the lesser option, improvements to junctions only, should be rejected. Although I expect this would improve the flow of traffic, I expect the improvement to be marginal, whilst the disruption will be substantial and could continue for a considerable period. Moreover, if this is done, government is likely to look at the Link Road problem as solved, thus precluding any further improvement for the foreseeable future.
Adding more overtaking lanes should help. One thing that is obvious to anyone using the road is that the disparity in speeds between the slow vehicles (lorries, caravans, tractors etc.) and cars is dangerous. Complain about bad driving if you will, but it is a fact of life that some drivers will become frustrated when stuck for miles behind a slow-moving vehicle. Some of these will then attempt dangerous overtaking manoeuvres, and some of those will end in accidents. Something needs to be done, and done quickly. If we can’t have proper dualling, then more overtaking lanes is a must.
And they plan to employ wardens to “help” us understand the new regime. I assume they will “help” us in the same way that traffic wardens “help” us to park – by handing out penalty notices if we fail to comply with the new rules. OK, what happens if I pay for a green bin and my neighbour, unbeknown to me, fills it with his garden waste? Or worse, what if he fills it with something forbidden? Will I be fined? I can see this generating more venom and more hatred than do the traffic wardens!
It is in all our interests to have refuse collected and disposed of quickly, easily and efficiently. To my mind, this does not happen at the moment. The recycling rules are too complicated. My son-in-law comes from Portsmouth. He tells me that there waste is sorted after collection, by people trained to do so. This, surely, is a better way.
The plans that have so far been put to NDDC are inadequate. Rather than take the system we have now and bolt on cost-saving measures, it would be far better to take a step back and ask what would be the best system we could have now, and how do we get from here to there most expediently. Simply moving some of the cost of refuse collection from NDDC to the individual or to DCC (who have their own problems) will not do.
Sad to see Coconut Bus on the High Street is closed. I have had some very enjoyable smoothies from there and it provided a healthy and interesting alternative to the other cafés along the street. It seemed to me that it was gradually building a business, so perhaps someone else may give a similar venture a go. A bit of variety is no bad thing.
Brian Greenslade is proposing to up-grade the Tarka line with through trains to London. I wish him luck with his quest, but I doubt he will get very far. Whatever is done with that line, it will always be a slow rural line. However, there is no reason why some improvements can’t happen. I have recently had an American family staying with me, followed by some Czech friends. Both, as it happened, came here by rail. Both complained about the Tarka line. The Americans had to stand te whole way, whilst the Czechs had nowhere to put their luggage. Surely, we shouldn’t need to put up with this!
Finally, thanks to all those of you who have asked after my health following my accident on a mobility scooter. I am pleased to say that, apart from the odd twinge, I am pretty much back to normal. That’s all for this week. See you next week.