My local Labour party have just put a leaflet through our door promoting the idea that Suffolk County Council (the transport authority) should ‘re-open Rope Walk’, which is a local street recently blocked to motorised traffic, rather than install traffic calming in the neighbouring streets which is what the County are proposing.
The silly thing of course is that it is still ‘open’. Well… it is certainly ‘open’ to the numerous pedestrians, mainly students, going between the newly rebuilt Suffolk College which fronts onto Rope Walk and Ipswich town centre. It is also ‘open’ to many cyclists using local cycle route 4/national cycle route 1 to get from the east of the town in to the town or the railway station. Needless to say, the only form of transport to which this road is not ‘open’ is the type of metal box that people sit in that we call a motorcar. This is what it looks like now currently:
Curiously, in their leaflet they suggest that opening Rope Walk to motorised traffic again would ‘reduce rat-running through Kings Avenue, Oxford Road and Milner Street‘ and would end ‘the farce of traffic jams on St Helen’s Street‘ (which is the main arterial road into town).
However… back in 2009 the Borough Council explained that Rope Walk was being closed to motorised trafiic in order to ‘significantly improve pedestrian and cycle access along Rope Walk, and to reduce rat running in Rope Walk and the surrounding roads‘ (my emphasis).
The Borough and County Councils are also grappling with illegal levels of air pollution from motorised traffic on Grimwade Street, which is next to Rope Walk and which falls within an ‘Air Quality Management Area’.
As it happens the Borough council is also engaged in the implementation of major £21m current transport scheme to make Ipswich more attractive to pedestrians and cyclists, of which the changes to Rope Walk made in 2009 form a important part. To quote ‘high quality paving materials to link in with previous improvements and provide a continuous shared off-street cycle and pedestrian route between Rope Walk and University Campus Suffolk‘.
Here is their leaflet. Notice the invitation to email them with your thoughts at: You can contact them using firstname.lastname@example.org.