ON PAGE 7 of the current Chichester Society newsletter – normally an excellent journal – Anneliese Dennis of Sustrans, on the subject of the 20mph project, refers to ‘Chichester’s fine streets’.
What fine streets? I ask myself.
I have to drive an electric buggy when in town.
Having an eight mile an hour job, I can ride on the roads and not bother pedestrians, but so as not to inconvenience drivers more than necessary, I keep as near to the kerb as possible.
Badly-repaired potholes are everywhere. My buggy rattles (to whom may I send the bill for its maintenance?) and my heart bleeds for those with painful spines.
A particular horror lies just north of the railway crossing in Basin Road.
Last week a passing cyclist cursed it (politely) and sympathised with my discomfort.
The bricks along the north end of South Street have sunk and look and feel dreadful,
apart from reminding ratepayers how much they must have cost to be laid.
North, East, South and West Streets have small stretches of cobbles which are extremely uncomfortable to negotiate.
Several pavements do not have ramps suitably placed for buggies or prams – there are times when one must ride on the pavement, and slower buggies must anyway.
It is not easy to reverse 20 yards back along a narrowish pavement while cars hurtle past.
Several times kind young men have lifted my buggy on to safer ground. A particular hazard is the barriers that workmen have to put round holes in the road or pavement.
On occasions the space left has not been wide enough for the buggy to pass and all one can do is look helpless and hope for yet another knight in shining something to save the situation.
This happened to me twice at the south end of Market Avenue – is it Basin Road – opposite Christ Church – where the road is one-way-only for south-going vehicles.
The other was even more difficult, at the four-way lights system for buses leaving the bus station, cars turning north or south, and pedestrians.
I was on the north pavement wanting to turn right towards the Law Courts. It was impossible. Visualise a large lorry at the red light, also waiting to turn right. The driver looks down on this silly little buggy stuck on the pavement, gets out of his vehicle as the lights turn to green, half-lifts and steers it past the barriers on to safe pavement, gives me a cheery wave and climbs up back into his lorry. There is a lot of such kindness about, but it should not be necessary.
I know: repairs cost money. But full marks to Kingsham Road. Apart from the slow-down bumps which must be a curse to bus drivers, that road is a dream to drive on. As is Avenue de Chartres and the view in summer is gorgeous. Chichester does have two fine streets. Any more, anyone?
Mrs Marion Somerville