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Letters / Getting the hump

The whole of Shetland will be absolutely delighted that their three per cent rise in council tax is to raise an extra £258,000, barely enough to cover the cost of installing sleeping policemen along the length of the Esplanade (SIC plans extra draw on reserves plus council tax rise to balance the books; SN, 09/02/17).

Presumably this will save the cost of employing real policemen to occasionally take a wander down to the pier with a speed gun.

I guess typical SIC logic here is that if they build a few back-jarring, tarry-humps along the Esplanade they can get rid of the pelican crossings; presumably saving the cost of flying an electrical engineer up from sooth to change a fuse on the lights.

The Esplanade is obviously a very dangerous place; the road here is wide and almost dead straight with no other busy roads joining on to it. It is flanked by broad pavements, and affords good visibility its full length in both directions to where pelican crossings allow easy access from the Bressay ferry and car parks.

Such a lethal combination of factors require the SIC to reduce the traffic speed limit to 20mph and install boy racer challenging road humps.

Scalloway’s Main Street on the other hand is a pedestrian’s delight. Here the road is only about a third the width of the Esplanade with a narrow sidewalk on either side, occasionally restricted by lampposts. Busy shops, cafes, bars, etc lead out onto the narrow sidewalks so that passersby often have to step down on the main road.

The three car parks along the length of Main Street are never more than a few yards from the shops, so cars are forced to park on the narrowest part, right outside shops, thus restricting visibility along the street.

The speed limit for the two way traffic along Main Street is a mere 30mph, thus giving pedestrians plenty of time to jump back onto the narrow sidewalks, especially when parked cars open doors causing oncoming traffic to swerve towards them.

Today Scalloway is free of any unnecessary traffic restrictions, but a good number of years ago the SIC introduced speed-humps to Scalloway’s Main Street (this back in the day when the SIC couldn’t burn money fast enough).

Such was the cries of distress from pedestrians missing out on their daily exercise of jumping out of the way of cars, vans or trucks being driven at a legal 30mph that the SIC dug them all up again.

Why am I getting a feeling of deja vu?

Allen Fraser

Scottish Parliament election, 6 May 2021