More Triffic Traffic

I started off responding to Kitty Hawk’s comment on yesterday’s entry – then realised that when you find yourself writing a forty-line comment on your own blog, you’re wasting perfectly good blog material! Yes, maybe some things could have been done better, although I’m not a traffic engineer, and what seemed simple to me may have been a complete no-no to them. But based on my limited knowledge of traffic management, I’d have thought –

a) After a while, the lights were switched to “permanent green” for traffic leaving the city on the main trunk routes, maybe that could have done sooner. Although of course, those people who “knew a back route” got REALLY held up once this happened!

b) More active crowd management might have stopped the crowds blocking the main bus operating areas a bit more effectively – but with something like 50000 (that’s not a typo, I DO mean fifty thousand) people choosing to walk rather than wait for a bus, nothing was going to keep the roads clear.

However, some points which people stuck in the jams might not have appreciated:
1) More important than anything else, the five emergency ambulances that left the seafront treatment areas heading for QA Hospital all had an uninterrupted clear run through. Had fire, or other emergency vehicles, needed to come south to the seafront, they’d have also got through without trouble. The main reason why it wasn’t possible to use some “normally inbound” roads for outbound traffic, was the need to preserve a “Red corridor” for these vehicles.

2) Say what you like – to shift 250 000 people from the southern tip of Pompey back to where they came from, in “only” three hours, is still damned good going to my way of thinking!

3) Like any other kind of event response, this was the art of the possible – Portsmouth only has the roads that it has, and while some one-way streets operated “reverse flow” for the duration, some “Give Way” priorities were changed and as I’ve already said, traffic lights adjusted to speed things along, no-one was about to build new roads just for this event!

NOTE: – these are the thoughts of someone who was there as a voluntary1 member of the communications backup team – and OUR operation went really well. I’m not a traffic specialist and I still think they did as well as they could have done!

1 Yes, voluntary. This is my hobby, and I took two days off work to do it. I MAY get a small cheque to cover travelling expenses but I’m not holding my breath!

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