Look At It This Way with Jacqueline Morley - June 24, 2011

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Hypocrisy thy name is Morley. I admit it. I’m not as progressive as I thought. It’s time to park my double standards and declare I’m not keen on the new “shared space” Prom layout near Blackpool Tower and can’t see that changing any time soon.

Maybe it’s because this key part of my daily route to work has been denied me for too long – and I’m still negotiating parts of the Prom still closed to two-way traffic.

Perhaps it’s because I’m sick of having to hire a Sherpa rather than satnav each time I tackle the north face of the town centre.

I have simply had it up to here (no Gazette video available, alas) with any works, regardless of whether they repair roads, potholes, replace tramlines or install other things.

The hypocrisy is, I usually like what they achieve, such as St John’s Square, the tram depot, Great Promenade Art Show and Brilliance, although great metallic music-blasting glowing triffids would have worked better on one of the headlands, rather than Birley Street.

You can stick Carnesky’s Ghost Train where the sun doesn’t shine, and I’m not keen on rental bikes, cycle routes that start and end within yards, or climbing towers where you see climbers even less frequently than queues for the ghost train or rental bikes.

Our new-look Central Prom looks the part, although I was perturbed to see landau horses register their disdain on its immaculate surface.

But when you’ve got coaches heading right for you, and pedestrians crossing only when they can see the white of drivers’ eyes, it’s a white knuckler for the gee gees too.

Shared space. It works on the continent, we’re told, although my hire car didn’t survive a car park in the south of France last week.

It all sounds a bit Emperor’s New Clothes to me. We need a small child to loudly declare (ideally not from the A&E department) that this road is not a road. Whether it’s an accident waiting to happen at the height of the Lights, or the depths of the bevvied up stag and hen season remains to be seen.

It’s a Promenade. You promenade there, perambulate, and now undulate, in the hope others will wish to share their space and shift so you don’t have to put the wind up a landau horse or clip the toes of a bride heading to the wedding chapel opposite.

Blackpool isn’t the right shape for semi-pedestrianisation. I blame the Romans. They must have loved Preston and hated us. And if the Victorians had banked on how big tourism would become, they’d have rented out penny farthings and built bigger, straighter roads.

It reminds me of the year our Illuminations were hailed a triumph of “dynamic black space” to justify all the unlit bits. Having survived the old Lights depot fire the other night Postman Pat may need to get back to SpecSavers... On yer bike, postie!