CITY cab drivers claim the £153,000 spent on changes to Chichester railway station last year have actually added congestion and made it even more hazardous for pedestrians to cross.
Some insist the forecourt is an ‘accident waiting to happen’ and their damning comments come in the week when workmen were forced to dig up a pedestrian island at its entrance after it was put in the wrong position.
Traffic was bad before, but now there’s nowhere for cars to drop off or pick up so they wait on double yellows and block cars driving throughEnzo Caira
West Sussex County Council has blamed the contractors for the island blunder and insist tax-payers will not have to foot the bill for the correction this week.
Its position made it difficult for large vehicles to turn right into the station, and a council spokesman said: “The situation is that the pedestrian refuge at the entrance to Chichester railway station was incorrectly positioned when it was built by the contractor.”
The island was built last November as part of a £153,000 spend on improving the forecourt for pedestrians and building a cycle path to connect to the city centre.
But this week cab drivers said the work had added to long-standing congestion problems and that widening the island by the taxi rank had created a bottleneck the other side.
Enzo Caira said: “The whole thing was totally ill-conceived. Traffic was bad before, but now there’s nowhere for cars to drop off or pick up so they wait on double yellows and block cars driving through.
“It’s an absolute disaster. Pedestrians now treat the station like a precinct and school kids cross wherever they like. It’s an accident just waiting to happen.”
Jim Rendal said: “It was a waste of money in the first place and now they’re wasting money digging the island up. It was awful at the weekend with the buses from Goodwood and it’s an absolute nightmare when it’s busy.”
And pointing to a van that was parked on the double yellow lines, he added: “That’s a classic example, there’s nowhere for them to park so they block everyone else.”
Owen Watkins added: “I think it’s dangerous. There’s cars coming in and out all the time and people everywhere.
“I’ve seen cars coming in on the wrong side of the road because the new layout is confusing. It’s laudable what they tried to do, but it just doesn’t work.”
West Sussex County Council strongly denied the work had made it more dangerous.
A spokesperson said: “The improvements made here make the station forecourt clearer and safer for pedestrians, cyclists, taxis and motorists.
“There are now clearer signs for motorists and taxis when they arrive at the station to pick up or drop off passengers.”