Today we see a very negative SKIPP press release about Cuckoo Corner, (only to be expected really in the circumstances) last year they had 100 trees going, then 100 year old trees going, damage to the park, broken promises etc- none true and now a whole article about 28 sets of lights causing delay and all before the junction is even finished!
Truth is the A 127 pedestrian crossing had to be removed to build the 3rd lane, so the lights were turned on early to help pedestrians, but the detector loops are still to go in, the sequencing sorted and the lanes to be opened -oh and yes the signage and planting and much more still has to go in too….
There are three ‘sets of lights’ on the arms of the 3 main roads entering/ exiting the roundabout and upto 4 sets controlling movements around the roundabout thats 7 sets not 28 sets. All sets of lights require more than one post so that all motorists and road users can see them.
To see how the junction will work in real time visit here the short simulation starts with the Bell junction before moving to a relatively basic model of Cuckoo Corner- the point is that the lights will better distribute the traffic depending on the amount cars appeoaching the roundabout thus allowing for smoother circulation, once one gets a green light on the roandabout junction one will be able to pass through all the remaining lights on green unless doing a 360 when one will have to wait once at a red. The lights will be adapted for differing times of day and differing traffic flows, the loops will detect the start of a queue and cause the sequecing to adapt.
i actually went through last week from West to Eas quite quickly but there was a queue East to west, but then thee was also a lane closure and works further along, today I went through, again west to east very quickly when usually at that time i would have held up from about KFC and there were no queues beyond about 4 cars in Priory Crescent.
As the trees come down, to enable the works to improve Cuckoo Corner, it easy to forget that this is just one piece in the jigsaw to improve Southend for residents and business. Southend Council has a programme of works exceeding £25m, the schemes include providing a new central seafront area with fantastic new lighting columns and a really great feature fountain for when the tide is out, a new Warrior Square Park is taking shape and to reduce congestion two bottlenecks on the A127 are funded for major improvements (Cuckoo Corner and Progress Road) whilst at Victoria Station a major public realm scheme is underway. Add to this the go ahead for the airport and Southend Council’s plans for a new museum and library in partnership with the college and university and the bigger picture starts to be come clear. Hotels are opening, regenerating and expanding, the new Garon Park pool has attracted Olympic interest, hoteliers are talking to Olympic organisers. All these works are pouring money into the wider Southend and Essex economy through the contracts, around £1m a month from the airport works alone and its only just started.
Southend is on the cusp of becoming a really exciting place to be, with good job prospects, a thriving economy based upon a cross section of opportunities, from tourism to precision engineering and avionics. The University and College are expanding, Metal is forging ahead, our beaches and parks are award winning and the Council is investing wisely in the public realm.
Nothing happens overnight and this is certainly true in respect of Councils and Goverment, indeed it has taken some 5 years to get all these schemes to fruition, to be able to tap into the funding, to prepare the everending business cases and to put everything in place, so now, as we start to deliver them, there is an almost tangible excitement about them. However, we need to continue to work to promote the town, to be ready for the next funding round when it comes, as eventually it will, we still have the Bell and Kent Elms, we still need a better road to the East avoiding the central areas, we still need to plant trees and maintain and improve our streets, we still need to address the smaller Cliff slips and so the list goes on. Yes there’s lots to do and its also important that we can continue to improve the council, to offer good value for money, to offer excellent customer services as all these improvements help Southend residents and businesses on a daily basis.
Southend’s Conservative Administration has been keeping its fingers crossed awaiting confirmation of the funding for City Beach, promised but not signed off weeks ago and at last that confirmation has come.
City Beach extends from the car park opposite the Kursaal to the Pier, it is a fantastic project to smarten up the somewhat tired existing area, it will also see the road altered to provide more pedestrian space, new public areas includng the new Mariner’s Square with a new fun water feature, very good for when the tides out! Ultra high digital lighting columns will replace the old illuminations extending day into evening and a new promenade- Royal Promenade, with improved beach access too.
Work commences early 2010. Work will not interfere with the summer season.
City Beach is the last of 4 projects planned for a Better Southend, bringing greater prosperity for residents and improved access. Progress Road- junction improvements, Cuckoo Corner- major circulation improvements and landscaping, Victoria Station- a new junction and public square- Station Square. All will be complete by Spring 2011.