Friday, 29 June 2012

A Tale of Two Islands

Blog P6224823blog P6194690A recent trip across the water got me thinking about two islands: the first island has a network of Green Lanes with a maximum speed limit of 15mph to encourage cyclists and pedestrians;  cycle routes cover around 100 miles of the island and there’s a 48 mile footpath which goes right round the island. Plus a reliable and economical bus service which gives access to pretty much everywhere.  The other island has one of the highest rates of car ownership and use in the world; it has a superb sandy bay with a four lane highway where there should be a tranquil promenade; this island seems to have more Porsches than Stuttgart and more 4x4s than a meeting of the Young Farmers. On this island, although the main town has a population of just 30,000, it’s completely clogged with traffic, in something close to gridlock on working days. Poor waymarking means that the round-island path disappears in several places (although locals say it’s there if you know where - not much use for non-locals). And access to some of the most beautiful beaches is all but cut off by private landowners. Of course, it’s one island: The Bailiwick of Jersey. Jersey is beautiful, with its broad sandy beaches and towering cliffs. But for an island of only 100,000 people, the traffic is absurd - something needs to be done: and building more highways is not the answer.

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