Traffic in Lichfield

The current national concern about how road traffic can effectively be brought under control was reflected in the Society's meeting on Thursday 24th May. Mr Mike Pearson of Tamworth Borough Council described the principles whereby the Tamworth traffic problems had largely been solved. These included the provision of adequate car parking, strong support from all interested parties, the provision of adequate finance and the coordinated timing of consultations and inquiries. The purpose of these changes had been to pedestrianise the town centre and to remove through traffic. Inability to achieve the creation of 100% rear service roads to property had led to the imposition of strict controls on the timing of deliveries to commercial premises. It was noted that the banks presented a particular problem since the movement of large sums of money requires special security considerations, preferably away from the more vulnerable quiet areas of rear access.

A recent publication is reported to have stated that pedestrianisation produces a 25% increase in trade. Mr Burns-Mace, as President of the Lichfield Chamber of Trade, had accepted an invitation to attend this meeting and confirmed that Lichfield traders were not in opposition to pedestrianisation; but he drew attention to the cost implications of servicing and delivery. He suggested that ways should be found to slow down traffic through the City centre.

A lively discussion acknowledged that the problems of Tamworth and those of Lichfield would require different solutions owing to their very different geography. Strong pleas were made for parking areas to be no more than 8 minutes walk from the city centre; however others advocate the closure of all city centre car parks and the introduction of perimeter car parks with an 'airport style' public vehicle service. Cycleways had strong and justifiable support, a partial solution which is entirely environmentally friendly but dependent on responsible usage. Where exclusion of motor traffic is not practicable then speed humps and chicanes can effectively calm traffic.

The meeting concluded - but its subject will run for a long time yet. Our intoxication with independent transport is a habit we are all loath to kick. It will take unpopular and courageous action to persuade us to subordinate our selfish interests to the common good and a cleaner environment.

Ivor Mitchell
May 1990