My View, John Hoare, Walking back to happiness

John Hoare, Chairman of South Yorkshire Transport Users Group
John Hoare, Chairman of South Yorkshire Transport Users Group

I found an interesting article recently, which had been published in a national journal that I read.

The author asked the question: ‘Why is Britain such a dangerous place for walkers?’

His view was that the answer seemed to be that no one speaks up for pedestrians.

Cycling has a powerful lobby.

That is especially the case after British successes and with the recent coming to this part of the country of the Tour de France.

Motorists have many organisations to represent them.

And we have a government which came in promising to ‘end the war (what war?) on motorists’.

Local authorities are pilloried for enforcing no waiting and parking regulations as though these fines are extortion from a persecuted class.

Yet everyone walks and everyone crosses roads!

Is Doncaster a friendly place for walkers? I suggest that it is a much better place in which to walk than it was 20 years ago.

Much of the town centre is now wholly or partially pedestrianised.

And it is my belief that it is an enjoyable place to walk, look or shop as a result.

Yet do you remember just how much opposition there was to this when it was originally planned?

The ring road, which should never have been constructed so close to the centre as to destroy historic streets and buildings, is more civilised, especially with good crossings to North Bridge and St.George’s Church.

We have got rid of most subways. Most of the borough has 20mph limits in its residential streets.

What more can be done to make Doncaster safer and more pleasant for those of us who are walking and crossing roads?

Completing the 20mph residential zones to slow down the traffic should be easier now as regulation has been reduced.

There are a few black spots that remain, like the awkward route from the St James flats and the Stirling Centre into the town.

We could do with a marked crossing from Tescos to St.George’s Church. Some of the traffic lights give barely enough time for anyone less than fully fit to make their way across the road from one side to the other.

Every additional pedestrian slows traffic and aids crossing the road.

Readers will doubtless add their wants to the list.

But, overall, I think our town scores well for the pedestrian.

* John Hoare is a former Doncaster Councillor and served as a cabinet member for transport. He is now the chairman of the South Yorkshire Transport Users Group.