I was at Fort William station with a couple of hours to spare on saturday after doing the 3 peaks walk and decided to wander into town. Amazingly, in such a small town, there is a pedestrian underpass – complete with busker, a rather upmarket one who was selling his own CDs and sang elegantly – between the station and the steps. This is to get under a dual carriageway built, presumably, to deal with the fantastic traffic jams they must get in the town with a population of all of 9900 at the last census.
This really is the height of car culture madness. Not, though, that it helps the cars much either. The dual carriageway means that the buses had to go past the station and come back on the other side in order to pick us up. No one benefits from this arrangement which must have replace – older readers please advise – a conventional pedestrian crossing which could now be a Pelican crossing. All for the sake of not making cars stop for people crossing into a station where a train an hour would be a peak period. Certainly it made me reluctant to go into town and must be a great deterrent to other potential shoppers. I just so wonder what went on in the heads of the people who devised the scheme. And, if still alive, do they realise their mistake.
At least according to the New York Times, in Europe we are reversing these trends: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/27/science/earth/27traffic.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha2 Not fast enough, tho. I’m afraid they are being rather optimistic, and it will take decades to reverse the madness of the Fort Williams of this world.