One of our members, Philip Lay, has drawn attention to a recurring complaint - that the pedestrian approach to the town centre from the railway station is far from ideal. In many ways it is better than equivalent journeys in some other towns, and there are some good and some very good buildings on the way. But first impressions to a newcomer might be the broken down railings on the corner of Ranelagh Road and Princes Street. The two busy streams of traffic crossing Princes Street are not too difficult to negotiate thanks to pedestrian-controlled traffic lights. But then comes the major hazard of the Civic Drive/Franciscan Way underpass system.
The condition of this is rather better than it was because the Borough Council has made efforts to clean and maintain it but tiled surfaces, railings and steps are fairly easily damaged. However, if you've kept on the right hand side of Princes Street, you can avoid the underpasses but you end up in Cromwell Square. On the other side of Princes Street and making directly for the Cornhill you must use the underpass or dodge between the traffic coming down or into Civic Drive.
Many pedestrians hate such subways, especially after dark. It is interesting to see that the consultants of Urban Initiatives in their current work on a master plan for the town's development have apparently understood this whole problem. One of their suggested solutions, a new pedestrian route towards Cardinal Park and the Waterfront, might be welcome, although it wouldn't fill the need for a better direct route to the Cornhill.