Archive for April 2013

Update on the safe walking pavement

I've had a few telephone calls the last couple of weeks and met a couple of people about the need for a safe walking road. Short of the long is this; everybody thinks it is a good idea, but it is about finding the money.

Next week I have another meeting with Anders Mellberg, who is the department manager at the kommun for Streets and Parks. In that meeting will be Lars Höjetun, responsible for traffic section in the same department.

Nothing is official, but we've looked at where we want it to go, the reasons why we want it and the justification for having it and everyone I've met or spoken with agree, it is a good idea.

Next week I'll be meeting Trafikverket, the people that actually own the road and will be the ones that actually have to pay for it and hopefully, with the support of Skellefteå kommun, we will be able to move forward.

After all, Skellefteå is the idea place. If we can't get enough ideas in to cover the estimated cost of 1.5mn kr to make this safe walking road a reality, then something must be wrong, especially with the size of the contingency budget that is going to be needed to get this road done in the first place.

A quick update, hopefully a bigger one in a couple of weeks and if you see something at ICA over the next few days, please take notice and a little time to read, in particular with the reference to 'trottoar' or as I'm calling it 'safe walking road'.

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New road from Bygdsiljum to Burträsk yet no safe walking option

We've just had a meeting in Bygdsiljum where WSP and Trafikverket told us about the plans to fix the existing road connecting Bygdsiljum to Burträsk, a distance of just over 20km, at a cost of and I'm quoting now 'a minimum of 50,000,000 kr'.

During this meeting I sat and listened. After it I confirmed a few things with a very nice chap from WSP, Christer Lindström. The main point I was trying to get confirmed was why there is no pavement for safe walking to be added to the 1.5km stretch of road in Bygdsiljum that's used by many people, some with children in prams, when they start this work.

Christer didn't know, but he did tell me that if Skellefteå kommun told Trafikverket to do it, they'd be able to add it to the plans, so I'm hoping it comes down to just the kommun.

But I learnt other things in the meeting too. One thing that interested me was that the road is going to be made wider at certain bends, for safety and comfort.

This got me thinking; should safety and comfort on the roads only be for those driving and shouldn't people walking on the road, also be entitled to this feeling of safety and comfort?

In Bygdsiljum, because of industry and location (we're pretty much in the middle of Skellefteå and Umeå as well as Robertsfors and Burträsk) we have a lot of 'heavy' traffic. Every day you will often see a fully loaded 18 wheeler driving through the village and if you've never stood on the road when one of these have gone past at 50kmh, it can be a nervous few seconds.

And many people walk on this stretch of road. Sometimes, there are people going in both directions and for drivers, I'm sure that can't be comfortable. When you also meet another vehicle coming from the other direction and there is someone in the road walking, you sometimes, especially if the other vehicle is an 18 wheeler, actually have to stop to let them go first. Again, not comfortable or safe for any of the people involved.

They start on the new road in 2015, which means there are over 18 months to find out who at the kommun can help get this problem fixed.

Bottom line; there should be a pavement in Bygdsiljum for safe walking because surely, when going out for a walk, pedestrians have as much right to feel as comfortable and safe as drivers.

Just to add, I've contacted Skellefteå kommun asking who needs to be contacted about making safe walking possible. I await to hear.

April 12th update: The kommun got back to me this morning and they've promised that someone from 'road development' will get back to me next week.

My immediate thoughts on them getting back to me are neutral. Half of me thinks that anyone that says this isn't a good idea is mad and that if they can find 50mn SEK for a road they should be able to find a small percentage more for the safety of residents within their kommun, especially considering the amount of heavy traffic and that they've already spent time and money figuring out that safety for the driver is not having to slow down when they shouldn't have to.

But the other half of me thinks that Bygdsiljum have tried for many many years to get this so there must be a reason why they are not doing it. Like I said, neutral.

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