Friday, 18 January 2008

Only One Way for shoppers to go after this fiasco?

Over the years I have sat in on many discussions, meetings and debates about the new Maes development .
I have seen many ideas passed around the table and many more ignored.
I can even remember (about five years ago) Councillor Dafydd Iwan speaking (as the then chair of Caernarfon Partnership) when he remarked “If we don’t do something soon, we will be forever driving round the castle to get by in Caernarfon.” (The plan at the time was to try to cut down traffic flow into town.)
Was I the only one there thinking: What’s wrong with driving around such a wonderful castle?
I couldn’t understand the obsession about trying to reduce traffic into town. Traffic into town meant that people wanted to come here and people who want to come here, well quite frankly, people who want to come here will spend here. QED!

Surely traffic wasn’t that bad that it was gridlocked? I remember queuing for a few minutes to get into town but it was never as bad as how Bangor is now, no where near as bad! I should know as I’ve been a driving instructor since 1984 and drive on these roads daily.

Doesn’t the town rely on people coming in to town to shop? Wouldn’t our shopkeepers prefer a few queues forming instead of empty shops?
Well, all that was then and I’m afraid this is now…. and it seems that my worst nightmare has come true.
You can no longer drive into town through Bangor Street (The Town’s Main Access point!).
The only way anyone can get to the Maes now is by diverting via the by pass or past Victoria Dock… Isn’t that going to cause more traffic problems come summer?
If one diverts past Victoria Dock then the road takes you through the town walls which are very narrow.
If on the other hand one takes the other route then one must manoeuvre round the buses at Pool Side, which as already reported has been the scene of more than one accident. One a fatality I may add!
It’s becoming a nightmare to shop in town as well as a big inconvenience to residents living in Tre Gof and the other streets behind the Post Office.

Once here then finding a parking spot is impossible, without forking out on council car parks.
What’s the idea? Why do they think making it harder for shoppers to come into town is a good idea?
Is it just me or am I missing the point here?
I am all for improvements and I also hope that the Maes will look great once it’s completed.
But who will see it if we are driving them away from town?

Has anyone made an impact study on the one way system and how it will affect our businesses? Has anyone considered the loss the Harbour Car Park will have as cars are diverted from the town centre?

I have always been of the opinion that if things are made difficult then people won’t bother. Access should be made as simple as possible and only time will tell us how this one way system will affect the town.
If we make it difficult for our visitors to come here then they will go elsewhere. If accessibility is better at Bangor then our businesses will lose out! Simple fact and very true!

I also understand that Taxis will be limited to single figures in the Maes - today I counted 18 taxis parked there, so where will they conduct their business?

There is a ‘Retail Guru’ (whatever that is) due in town shortly to tell us where we are going wrong. It seems that part of the problem is staring us all in the face. If I owned a business on Bangor Street or in the centre of town I would be very concerned.

The Caernarfon Online website has already received a shed full of e-mails complaining about access into town , with many saying they have even ignored the No Entry signs at Bangor Street.
I have to admit I saw these plans in their infancy and thought at the time that it didn’t make any sense, but now I have seen it in the flesh so to speak… I am more convinced that this will be the final nail in the town’s coffin.
If not this, then round the corner we have a major by pass being planned that will give Caernarfon a wide berth and that’s to come in the next few years or so.

Can you blame business owners setting up elsewhere?
Then again maybe I am the only one out of step here and everyone else thinks it’s an excellent set up?

What do you think?

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