Motorists left up the junction
WHEN I was a boy, which was an aeon before the invention of computer games, the highlight of my weekends was to go to the Saturday morning film club in the Palace Cinema, Letchworth. Looking back, I realise now that it was a small place but kids packed it
WHEN I was a boy, which was an aeon before the invention of computer games, the highlight of my weekends was to go to the Saturday morning film club in the Palace Cinema, Letchworth.
Looking back, I realise now that it was a small place but kids packed it out every week to view with wonder the latest daring doings of Batman and other comic book and celluloid heroes.
And after coming out into the rain or bright sunshine, it was my habit to go into Munts the toyshop further along Eastcheap to spend the rest of my pocket money on a Dinky car.
I built up quite a collection and - having no idea that I would be sitting on a small fortune in the 21st century if I simply put my purchases away in a cupboard without even opening them - each one was ripped from its box, which was discarded, and played with.
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Many suffered a real bashing as they whizzed round the lounge carpet. Bashing into the settee never caused much harm but the dining chairs were much more dangerous.
But the real paint chippers were other Dinkies which got in the way.
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Imaginary roads appeared as my cavalcade of cars took to the Axminster.
There must have been some weird and wonderful layouts created in my play.
But I can't imagine that I would have come up with anything as bizarre as what hapless drivers have to contend with right now as they come off the A1(M) at Junction 9 northbound with the intention of turning left to go into Letchworth.
As some have come to know at their cost - and others at risk of damaging their neck muscles - there is a slip road off the slip road especially for those heading for the garden city.
And exiting that onto Letchworth Gate necessitates swivelling round in your seat almost to be facing backwards to see if there is any traffic coming.
Even doing that does not work for some because door pillars or other bits of the car block their view so they have to resort to hanging out the window in a desperate bid to check if they are OK to proceed.
The fact that this appalling piece of road design is a disaster is proved by the number of shunts that have happened there in the couple of months that it has been open.
It has become an instant accident black spot. Why the designers could not foresee this happening at the drawing board stage is beyond me.
The premise of the dedicated slip road is that vehicles can safely exit from there when the new traffic lights on the roundabout are on red. But what has been discounted is the possibility of traffic using the original slip road - maybe through ignorance or a fear of going onto the dedicated slip road - and still turning left at the top.
When that happens, the wallop factor becomes high.
Now, hopefully, reason will prevail. Acting on complaints, the planners are having another look at the troublesome junction and "should improvements be necessary" aim to make a start on them by the end of the month.
Let's see what they come up with.