What a joy it was to be in Winchester to watch the Olympic Torch go by.
It was not so much the torch itself, more the ‘magic hour’ when the traffic finally stopped and people took over the streets. For once you could hear people walking, talking and having a good time in parts of the city usually dominated by traffic. Suddenly you could see that Winchester has a large number of beautiful squares, currently filled with nose-to-tail traffic, where, with a bit of transformation, people could meet, drink coffee, and generally enjoy life.
Sadly, we do not even have names for these squares. The one at the junction of High Street and Jewry Street could be named Barclay Square, or, perhaps preferably, to draw on the historic name of Jewry Street, Scowrtene Square; the one outside the West Gate could be Westgate Square; and the one at the junction of City Road and Sussex Street could be Fairfax Square. I attach photographs of joyful crowds in each of these.
The day proved that it would be possible to have less traffic in Winchester and more people. It must have been fantastic for business. The arrangements really worked. The railway station was busy, and for the first time the park-and-ride car parks and their buses were well-filled, earning their upkeep. Even at 3pm there were only 273 empty spaces in the South park-and-ride. Unusually, there were even family groups walking into town along Stockbridge and Andover Roads.
Let’s hope WinACC can persuade the Councils and BID that traffic reduction would allow residents, traders and visitors to spoil themselves, and allow everybody to enjoy Winchester. With a bit of careful planning, and sensible reengineering 11 July could be the template for the future.
|Pedestrians in Westgate Square||1.43 MB|
|Pedestrians in Scowrtene Square||1.33 MB|
|Pedestrians in Fairfax Square||3.89 MB|