Milton Keynes was built with a grid system and a redway system which allowed cars, cyclists and pedestrians to live side-by-side without annoying one another.
Sadly, the current Labour-controlled Milton Keynes Council is working hard to take away what makes the new city so great to people who live and work here.
From the outside MK is often derided for a ‘lack of soul’ or people who think it’s just full of Concrete Cows and roundabouts. But they don’t realise it’s the roundabouts that make it the best place to live.
You only have to look at the Stacey Bushes roundabout, which leads onto the A5, to see how well the system works. With the traffic lights currently out of action the traffic is flowing much better.
It’s not just roundabouts, though, underpasses are a key part of the reason traffic in Milton Keynes is generally so good. This means fewer pedestrian crossings which, as well as being safer for drivers and walkers, means cars don’t have to slow down and stop constantly.
But it seems the wonderful way the city works is coming to an end with the Western Expansion Area (WEA) – Fairfields and Whitehouse.
Firstly, despite residents living in these two estates for years now there are still no safe crossing points.
Secondly, now work will finally begin but the council has totally ignored residents’ wishes for underpasses to be built rather than pedestrian crossings.
This will see speed limits reduced from 60 to 40, following with the council’s other recent changes to speed limits in the Stony Stratford/Wolverton/Greenleys area – and will see a rise in stop/start traffic.
It will be frustrating for drivers who’s journeys will become longer and will see a build up of pollution in the area.
The council needs to listen to residents. 161 of 240 people who took part in the consultation process wanted underpasses, 48 preferred a footbridge, while just 31 wanted signalised crossings.
The reasoning for no footbridge is supposedly down to there not being enough space either side of the road which, if true, is understandable. But suggestions underpasses are not affordable is ridiculous when the WEA has been planned for over a decade and the council has reserves of £201m and have put up our council tax by a considerable amount over the past few years.
This, of course, is also a Labour Council which doesn’t even have the most councillors in the city. The Conservatives are the largest party in Milton Keynes, but Pete Marland and co are still clinging onto power.
There will be claims these crossings will only be temporary while other options are considered, but there’s no point kidding ourselves MK Council are ruining our roads, and will continue to do so.