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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Even Google can't cope with Kettering Town Centre

I was bored so I decided to look at our house on Google Streetview. After I'd done that I decided to look at the street where I work. It's right in the town centre and in the middle of Kettering's notorious one way system. It seems that the street isn't on Street view. OK, no problem. I rather expected that. After all, the traffic system is a trap for the unwary.
The traffic mess all began about twenty years ago when a branch of Wilkinsons opened. They very conveniently placed a pedestrian crossing between Wilkinsons and the shopping centre doors. The street was the main north-south thoroughfare through town.
The inevitable result was gridlock in the town centre. Cars just couldn't make any progress along Newland St without shoppers walking straight into the road and bringing traffic to a halt.
The simple and cheap solution would have been a pelican crossing linked to the traffic lights fifty yards away. It would have cost a few thousand at most. But no, this is Kettering Borough Council that we're talking about.
They appointed consultants with a brief to stop traffic from clogging up the town centre. The result was staggering both in terms of the cost and the ineptitude of those who carried it out. Overnight it made rat runs of previously sleepy and traffic free streets. If you didn't know the town it was impossible to travel from south to north without either driving through a pedestrian precinct or through one of the rat runs. It was a fiasco.
Eventually the Council caved in to pressure and asked the consultants to revisit the brief. One expensive consultation later and they came back and said that they'd fulfilled the brief to the letter, therefore there was no problem.
They were asked to stop the traffic from clogging up the town centre and they had. The fact that it now clogged up the side streets was neither here nor there.

Sometime last March a google car tried to negotiate the town centre traffic system. The driver failed and the evidence is there for everyone to see.
Type NN16 0BN and follow the arrows. The driver should have turned right into Montagu Street but instead made an illegal left turn into Gold St. He continued along the pedestrianised street to the junction with Meeting Lane. He must have got confused because Streetview stops there. I wonder if the poor chap is still driving around and around, trying to get out?

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