Monday, March 25, 2013

Guiseley - The All-Consuming Traffic Black Hole

English: The Station public house, Town Street...
The Station, it's good that it is a nice looking pub because
you'll spend an age staring at it.
I thought to myself this morning, just for a change, instead of visiting the Tesco in Ilkley that I would visit the giant Tesco on Cabal Road in lovely Bradford instead.  Why visit Tesco when you have Morrisons on your doorstep I hear you ask ? Well, I have some vouchers to spend so in effect it is food for free.

A nice little run out to Bradford, that sounds good, a change of scenery and a different drive from my normal shopping run.  And then I reach Guiseley.

In many other towns the traffic control system has been designed in such a manner as to facilitate the flow of traffic through the area, conveying each car to its desired destination with as little hindrance as is possible.  Indeed, in the aforementioned Bradford the City Council have designed the roads in such a way as to channel all traffic on a trajectory that entirely avoids Bradford altogether, thus taking the driver's gaze away from the giant hole in the ground that used to be half of the city centre until the council knocked it down, dug it up and then put blue boards around it and forgot all it until the end of time or the second coming.

In Guiseley though the traffic control system has been built for the sole purpose of bringing all the traffic on the roads in West Yorkshire into Guiseley and then leaving it there.  Stuck at a traffic light. Forever.  Any jaunt that requires you to pass through the middle of Guiseley requires you to add lengthy amounts of time to your journey.  If you plan to be passing through in rush hour you should consider carrying essential emergency supplies, water say, a sandwich, perhaps a medium length novel or the Times Literary Supplement.

Perhaps the good burghers of Guiseley thought that if you spent truly exceptional amounts of time staring out of your car windows then it would add as free advertising for the businesses on the roadside, but as I sit staring forlornly at the window of a closed down panini emporium I can tell that this visionary media notion has failed to pull starving drivers from their stationary vehicles.

Further down the road you may have the misfortune, well, when I say may, I mean you will be parked in a line of stalled motor carriages for some considerable period, outside KFC.  KFC is one of those places where you don't really want to be staring in the windows.  This is because, as with late night minicab queues and the taproom of the Knife & Spleen, some of the people that dine at fried chicken emporiums are the sort of people who take violent objection to eye contact, the sort of people who ask, vehemently, "what are you looking at?" as foreplay to a head-butt.

It isn't that Guiseley is an awful place, far from it, it's alright. In fact, that could be taken on as Guiseley's slogan - "Guiseley, it isn't Ilkley, but it's alright."  Perhaps they could punt for the slightly less aspirational "Guiseley - at least it isn't Shipley."

Still, having taken in the sights of The Station, The Regent and Coopers, and watched the same man have a pint in all three hostelries before calling in at the Lotus Chop Suey House for sweete and sour pork and fried rice, you are now stuck between staring at the patrons of the American south's premier fast food chain, or gazing aimlessly over towards the leisure centre where the man carrying the take-a-way has vaulted the wall in order to relieve himself of six pints of Madston's Old Ferret.  Looking toward the head of the rank of vehicles there is a man driving a Morris 1100, this isn't because he is on his way to a vintage car rally, it's because he set off  through Guiseley in 1971.

The most terrible thing about this whole journey, and one that readers familiar with the area will have picked up on right from the start, is that I can be terribly absent-minded when driving. Indeed had I not been happily singing along to Professor Elemental and had paid rather more attention to where I was going on the approach to White Cross, then I would have taken the correct turning and never had to experience Guiseley's hellish gridlock at all.

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  1. Dave Podmore9:29 am

    Mr. Soul, a brilliant piece of writing. Thank you for starting my day with a very knowing smile.

  2. Hi Mr Soul,

    Yep bob on - I live in Guiseley, and if you want to get anywhere by car you need to take to the hills! At the weekend, to get from one end of Guiseley to the other, it's quicker to go via Otley!

    The new single lane past KFC has increased queues but at least there are less punch ups now - the two lanes used to cause all sorts of 'friction' between drives as they cut each other to shreds just to be first to Maccy Ds!

    I get the impression that in a bid to get people out of their cars (Taxing and high fuel prices hasn't worked) new road schemes will be designed to a certain extent to hinder the motorist! Or is that just too cynical?

    Thanks for the good read.