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Langholm 20's Plenty For Us

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Published on Sep 24, 2012

Additional description uploaded 13th December 2012:-
Thanks to everyone who commented on this video. This footage was made with a simple cheap pocket camcorder (Kodak Playful) having an F/2.8 lens aperture. No zoom, distorted angle, or any other kind of ''effect'' was used despite libelous remarks in the local newspaper. I.e. a ''letter to the editor'' claims ''The video has been very carefully made to show the High Street inundated by lorries; the pictures are taken at an angle to make them appear bigger and obviously at a time chosen to show a High Street virtually empty.'' The silliness of such a statement illustrates the depth of ignorance and denial from a local politician unable to face the truth.
The footage truthfully shows exactly what you see when standing normally on the pavement.
Many people seeing this film immediately think we should be campaigning for a ''bypass''. In fact for several decades there have been proposals for a Langholm bypass. Route options have been discussed, plans were presented. But the bypass is usually deemed unviable in engineering and cost terms because of the difficult topography of Langholm. Our town is set in a valley where 3 rivers meet, and it's hard to even imagine where the road can go and what effect on the landscape and general environment would be. Furthermore there are nowadays many valid environmental objections to the construction of any new road anywhere.
Selkirk, 30 miles further up the A7 has a similar traffic problem (though it's easier to build there than in Langholm). Recently Selkirk folk almost believed they were going to get a bypass, but their hopes were dashed by the Scottish Govt. Remember that Government's strategic priority is always ''the efficient movement of goods and vehicles'' between Edinburgh and Carlisle. Official thinking is why should £38 million be spent on a new road round Selkirk (and probably double this for a Langholm bypass) when this would only ''save'' a few minutes of travel time between Edinburgh and Carlisle and benefit only a few thousand townspeople? Let's face it the well-being of Border townspeople is, to the government, low priority. Moreover there is even an argument from some local traders that bypassing the town could adversely affect a town's economy, even though it could be pointed out that few cars en route to Edinburgh (never mind the truck drivers glued into their cabins) stop and shop here, especially when our streets are blighted by the traffic. So we are stuck in a classic ''double-bind''.
Much of the traffic through Langholm (or Selkirk) is useless and harmful to our town's well-being but there is little hope for a bypass in the foreseeable future. Even if we could optimistically imagine it being built by say, 2032, how are we supposed to live for the next 20 years!? One thing we can do is try to tame, and reduce the aggressiveness of this traffic and also perhaps appeal for as much of the traffic as possible to be shifted elsewhere.
The Langholm 20s Plenty For Us campaign wants 20 limits for ALL streets and roads in the town, not just the High Street.
There are only 4 road entrances/exits to the town via the river valleys which meet here, so in practical terms this means we only need 4 'gateway' entrance signs plus some repeater signs along the streets. The town would then become the best and least expensive wide-area 20mph 'zone' imaginable!
For townspeople it would be of great benefit for our streets to be slowed down to a pace compatible with the function of a historic burgh. Also this would attract visitors and tourists. If the prime aim is still a bypass then 20mph limits in the bypassed town would still be invaluable. The earliest possible implementation of 20mph limits throughout the town will be a huge improvement in the town's liveability.
Actually there are even more radical solutions than constructing a bypass. E.g. a ban on heavy trucks from using this road, forcing them to divert off the A7 at the earliest possible opportunity, e.g., to the M74, even if this means making them go from East to West using the Edinburgh-Glasgow M8 to connect with the M74 to Carlisle.
An even better solution is to call for immediate investment in rail and full restoration of the Edinburgh-Carlisle Waverley line which was closed in the 1960s. The Waverley line never went directly through Langholm. Instead it went through the next valley, Liddesdale, passing just 8 miles from Langholm but it gave us a wonderful eight mile branch line which served our then thriving tweed industry, (sadly now all but gone).
As a matter of interest see what can happen when we occupy the streets. Take a look at another Youtube video ''A Few Impressions of Langholm Common Riding 2012'' showing the town , when the High Street A7 is closed and the townspeople dance in the street on the last Friday in July.

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