December 2020

In Support of Walking Ruthin’s oldest conservation & heritage organisation is asking Ruthinians please to reserve judgement on the new pedestrian-friendly changes to Well Street and Market Street till people have thoroughly tried and got used to it. The Ruthin & District Civic Association welcomes the improvements that make walking around Ruthin that little bit safer. There has been some negativity towards the scheme, principally from motorists (rather than walkers) who preferred the old two-way traffic system. Opinions certainly remain divided. Most of the ‘noise’ is on social media but this certainly doesn’t mean that the majority of residents believe it to be a bad idea. Some may like it and others may have no strong preference. Let’s not forget that it’s designed to make life safer in a virus-laden world. Its feature is to increase the reservoir space for pedestrians to allow us all to distance from our fellow walkers. After all, we all have to get out of our cars at some time and actually walk around town and, as such, there’s an immediate benefit from the measures. Beforehand, pedestrians had to hop from pavement to pavement if they wished to avoid other people and this resulted in a choice of brushing up against someone or facing motorists with little inclination to give way.  It’s certainly clear that some people don’t fully understand some of the issues. There are a few myths to bust: No one has removed any on-street parking. People who visit Market Street or Well Street are not disadvantaged any more than they were before. Nothing’s changed on that score. Neither street had any (lawful) on-street parking during business hours. Market Street car park is yards from The Square and Costa. Dog Lane is yards from Well Street. Both regularly have spaces and if they do not there are alternatives. There’s no shortage of close town centre parking. The distances are certainly nothing compared to Broughton Park or Chester or Wrexham. The temporary nature of the barriers, planters and poles is deliberate. This is a temporary measure to gauge reaction and to test it out. It would be unthinkable to spend huge sums only to find that the system has to change (there are going to be tweaks) or even come out altogether. If or when this becomes permanent, we should hope and expect a decently designed scheme. What we have is better than orange cones and battered red signs as in some town centres. This isn’t pedestrianisation but it does try to make the pedestrian area better and safer for us all. We all have to leave our cars at some point. We should be considering pedestrian priority in town, especially across the Square, but the current scheme is neither that nor full pedestrianisation. For those motorists who feel their freedoms are restricted, we should perhaps remember bus users, usually older & much more vulnerable, who for years have managed to access the whole town quite well and with few complaints from two central bus stops outside County Hall. Chair of the Ruthin & District Civic Association, Anne Roberts MBE, said, “This is a trial and one that is aimed at improving the lot of pedestrians walking around town. There is a concern that the views of some will set back the aspiration to make parts of the town including the Square pedestrian friendly. During all Market Town of the Future exercises, the majority view certainly was to improve pedestrian movements in the town and RADCA has held a long-standing aspiration to do so”.
Archive from 2013 Historic Interest