In Plymouth we have suffered some 18 months of severe disruption due to the construction of what is called the East End Transport Scheme. Despite the great inconvenience the roadworks have caused, most people have accepted that it was necessary, especially in the light of the extra traffic a proposed new town to the east of Plymouth would generate.
I’ve posted about this before, and on Twitter I’ve also expressed by dissatisfaction. The tweets led to the Web Team at Plymouth City Council responding directly to me, and asking me to e-mail them with more details.
This is what I sent them:
“Now that the redevelopment along the East End is finally coming to an end, we have ended up with a snazzy new pavement all along the Embankment road shops. In various places there are build-outs, further extending the foot-way into the road. This is all very nice, except there is now even less provision for cyclists compared to before, as we now don’t even have those horrid cattle-pen style railings to lock our bikes to when we go to the shops.
Is the council deliberately setting out to be as obstructive to cycling as possible, does the council not understand that cyclists do indeed cycle to shops, or is this just an oversight that borders on pure incompetence?“
The Web Team were very good. They told me (via Twitter) that they have forwarded my e-mail to the Transport & Highways Team, and they even followed up by asking me if I’ve had a response yet.
Yesterday, I received a response in the form of a letter posted to my home address (even though I did not supply them with that, nor did I ask for a postal reply).
This is what they wrote in their letter:
“Thank you for your enquiry of the 27th October concerning provisions made for cyclists through the East End Transport Scheme.
f you have any further questions please contact us on 01752 668000 or email Plymouth.firstname.lastname@example.org.“
They included an out-of-date Eastender newsletter, and a map showing how all the new driving, walking and cycling routes through the East End work. The emphasis is on driving routes.
None of what they sent me addresses any of the points I have raised, and I was left with no doubt that they simply weren’t interested enough to even read what I had written. In fact, it is an infuriatingly dismissive response.
The Transport & Highways Team are actually contractors to the council, from Amey.
So there you have it: democracy in action! We have local counsellors who aren’t worth the effort to approach as they simply respond with “We’ll try and raise the issue with the Transport Team”, then never get back to you, and we have a commercial, private company masquerading as the council. Above all else, we have a situation where the people of Plymouth are simply ignored.
And do you know what is scary? There isn’t actually anything we can do about such absolutely stinking attitudes at all. Welcome to democracy! Well, at least Plymouth’s poor facsimile of it.