HEDON’S WEDNESDAY MARKET is one of the features of living in Hedon. It provides additional variety to that provided in our local shops and is a regular attraction that brings visitors and shoppers into the town.
However, the setting up of the market on a Wednesday morning does bring with it some problems as resident Mr Alan Hudson explained on our Facebook page after getting caught up in town centre traffic a couple of weeks ago:
“Did anyone else get caught up in the traffic chaos in Hedon this morning?” asked Mr Hudson on the 14th January 2015, “…traders were unloading on one side of Market place, a van parked on the other side.
“Traffic was backed up down George St and St Augustine Gate. A car would probably have got through but a school bus would have had no chance. Time for a traffic warden at this time on a Wednesday morning!”
The Hedon Blog took Mr Hudson’s comments to last week’s Hedon Town Council public meeting and offered to take some photos on a Wednesday morning. Today I spent just over 30 minutes from 8am being a ‘traffic watcher’ and have arrived at the following conclusions.
The traffic this morning flowed quite quickly and there were no major problems, congestion or hold-ups. However, when school buses picked-up at the Market Place bus stop it indicated some of the problems that could occur if a large vehicle stopped for more than a few minutes in the main road; being unable to pass the bus because of the market traders’ vans, traffic quickly built up behind it and you could imagine how very quickly St Augustine’s Gate and George Street could clog up with long tail backs. In extreme circumstances those tail-backs could lengthen to affect Baxtergate in the east and the main road (New Road/Fletchergate) in the south.
Only two vans were unloading for the market at this particular time and stalls were being erected next to the stationary vehicles. By observation of the scene then it may have been possible for the vans to have parked nearer the kerb rather than next to their pitches whilst unloading? This would allow some room for traffic travelling north to overtake the bus (or other stopped vehicle). But whether today’s situation with only two traders’ vans is the norm – or if there are usually more than two unloading at the same time – requires further investigation. It obviously would make sense if the traders did stagger their arrival at the market.
The other thing to note is that despite the Market Place being a ‘No-Parking’ area from 6am on a Wednesday, there were at least three cars parked there. Some traders arriving at this time obviously wouldn’t have been able to set up their pitches.
In the case of an accident or the breakdown of a large vehicle (or the road being blocked otherwise) you can easily see how horrendous congestion and hold-ups could occur. But in the normal setting up of the market, then such delays in the traffic flow could and should be avoidable.
Of course traffic problems cause annoyance to motorists, and if they happen frequently enough on a Wednesday morning, it will prompt some to question whether the Wednesday market is worth the bother. A frustrated Mr Hudson said: “Perhaps we should get rid of the outdated market. I would think everything they sell can be bought locally.”