CAMILLE BERRIMAN: End is in sight for the traffic dance

A personal view
A personal view

Like many women, I can occasionally be blinded at the prospect of a bargain. Clearly, the January sales are bonanza time for this ‘professional shopper’, much to my husband’s dismay. However, recently I was glad to have my other half in tow when I was seeking that elusive bargain of the day.

Exiting the back of Bury’s Boots, fixated on hitting the arc, we both set about negotiating the melée of buses, taxis and traffic in St Andrew’s Street.

When passengers are boarding a bus at the Central Walk bus stop this can be dicing with death, as I found.

We did the familiar hesitant walk into the road. Every weekend hundreds of town centre shoppers do the same traffic dance. It involves taking a couple of steps in front of the stationary bus and listening. Not hearing any other vehicles, we took another couple of steps into the road to do what I have termed the ‘observation bend’. This involves gradually leaning forward from the hips and peering to the right, past the bus, to see if it is safe to cross the road completely.

At this point, I was nearly taken out by another vehicle. It was not another bus, or a taxi, but a black Vauxhall Astra inhabited by a group of young men.

My husband pulled me back just as I was about to lose the tip of my nose (no Pinocchio jokes here please – I heard them all growing up) and I was hauled to safety just as one of the car’s occupants shouted some choice words at me.

Blinded by the prospect of a bargain I might have been, however I had not lost all sense. After all, I’d done the St Andrew’s Street traffic dance AND observation bend!

But how many other people have had similar near misses while trying to cross from the town centre to the arc? I would estimate many hundreds since the arc opened nearly five years ago. So it was good news to hear that long-overdue and much-needed remedial work is now starting in this street. Let’s hope it makes the passage from old to new safer – and more appealing – to the many thousands who visit our town every week.