We’ve got a bit more information since we posted about access to the new hospital and it looks as if, fortunately, it may not be too late for safe cycling and walking access to the site.
Our post triggered a huge reaction, going a bit viral on Facebook and getting more view and comments than anything else we’ve ever posted, and the story was picked up by the Standard as well. Pretty much all the comments we have had back have confirmed that people feel the existing crossing is dangerous and likely to get more so once the hospital opens and traffic increases. And it seems that everyone would like to see the viaduct opened as the best way to complete the route to the hospital and beyond.
Many of you took the time to write to your councillors about it and some have posted their replies (thanks too to councillor Tom McAughtrie who took the time to comment directly on the site. From what we’ve heard, the planning process for the hospital is not complete and the issue of traffic and transport will be discussed at the detailed planning stage. There seems to have been almost no detailed consideration of these matters yet, at least with our elected representatives. However all of the councillors’ replies that we’ve seen have been broadly supportive of our concerns:
Access has not been forgotten about there are a number of issues including cycling and public transport that need to be actioned between the council and other bodies. You can rest assured we will be doing our best to address the issues raised.
The following is extremely interesting as it somewhat contradicts what we’ve heard from officials (but good news if so):
at no stage should anyone have to cross a road where traffic is doing 60mph. There will be a light controlled crossing at the hospital entrance.
there is time before the hospital opens to address the concerns you raise
We’ll be keeping an eye on the planning process and doing everything we can to ensure that this doesn’t get brushed back under the carpet. We’re also meeting with the NHS to discuss the way forward, and we know that Sustrans are keeping a close eye on these developments. We’re continuing to explore ways that the viaduct could be opened, if at all possible
So what now? Well, if you haven’t already written to your councillors, then we urge you to do so. You can find out who they are and send an email directly via Write to Them, or there’s a list of members and their contact details on the council website. We need to make sure that when the matter does get before the planning committee – and ideally well before then – that cycling and walking have been built into the plans. That will only happen if there is the political will to do it – and that means letting your elected representatives know that it’s important to you.
We will update you further as soon as we know more.