Monday, 11 July 2011

News Of The World Gone But Another British Tradition Lives On ... The Queue!

I was down in the Central Belt for work last week and had taken a copy of the Nairnshire Telegraph with me to read during a pit stop on the A9. A metropolitan colleague laughed at the front page story about traffic lights. I scolded them, explaining it was the Nairn equivalent of the Edinburgh trams.

Working in Nairn today I nipped out for a quick bike ride to Auldearn and back during lunch and look what I saw. Okay, not the best piece of photojournalism you're likely to see but hopefully you can make out it's a queue of traffic all the way to the Auldearn turn off on the A96. That's almost two miles.

The infamous traffic lights (several sets have been installed at various points along the A96 as it goes through Nairn - a good thing in my view as it means you can cross the road without taking your life in your hands - apparently to offset the increase in traffic caused by the new out of town Sainsbury's but perhaps also because a large housing development was earmarked for the other side of town) aren't operational yet. The queue today is because the new roundabout at the entrance to the new supermarket is being tarmacked.

What was really disappointing was every single vehicle I passed in the two mile queue had its engine running. There were no signs to indicate what a long wait they'd have and ask them to switch off. It'd save them a bit of money and it would reduce pollution.

Lots of vehicles meeting the end of the queue were doing u-turns and going back to Auldearn to take the back road to Cawdor, suggesting they were through-traffic. A lot has been made of the need for a Nairn bypass and I agree it's a "no-brainer". But intriguingly objectors to housing developments have been saying there should be a bypass before more people live here. I don't recall the same point being made for the supermarket development.

Queues through and into Nairn will be more common with an out of town supermarket. These will possibly ease when the bypass arrives.

But as the Inverness Courier revealed recently the study into the bypass route and the new dual carriageway to Inverness is delayed. Therefore the question for those who represent the community is: what are you doing in the meantime to make public transport, walking and cycling easier and more attractive options?

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