Footbridge solution to rail crossing saga in Lincoln is winning public over
Hundreds of people have visited two exhibitions about Network Rail's congestion-busting idea for new footbridges over the railway in Lincoln.
The concept of erecting pedestrian bridges, with lifts, over the level crossings in High Street and Brayford Wharf East is out for consultation and proposals will be submitted later this summer.
Network Rail wants to improve safety and end misuse at the crossings.
People were invited to discover more during information events at the Waterside and St Mark's shopping centres over the jubilee weekend.
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Katrina Spurr, 55, who lives in Sincil Bank, Lincoln, said she wants to see a swift resolution.
She said: "I still don't think that trains that don't stop here should be allowed to come through.
"It is easy to talk but if these plans come through I think we'll all be better off."
There are currently about 120 trains that pass through each day and the typical average barrier downtime is two to three minutes per train.
Officials at Lincolnshire County Council have predicted a worse-case scenario of the barriers being down for 40 minutes in every hour by 2013, due to a planned increase in rail freight.
Stewart McKechnie, 48, who lives in Dunholme, said he hopes the final design for the High Street will complement the street scene.
"I first came to Lincoln in 1984 for the RAF and the city has changed enormously since then," said Mr McKechnie, who works for Siemens in offshore wind farms. It is really important that this is done right and they need to maintain the train link to London.
"But with the High Street bridge in particular, it has to fit in with the aesthetic of the shopping centre and the High Street."
Retired banqueting chef Graham Samuels, 68, who lives in the west end of Lincoln, said: "My daughter once told me to drag myself into the 21st century, and quite frankly, that's what should happen with these crossings. Any improvement is welcome."
Lincolnshire County Council's assessment is that two sections of Brayford Wharf East and High Street would need to be made one-way for traffic to accommodate the bridges.
The authority wants access for both pedestrians and vehicles maintained at ground level over the crossings and this issue is still being discussed with Network Rail.
Retired civil servant Alan Waddington, 73, from Metheringham, said: "The bridges will certainly solve the problem of delays due to barrier downtime.
"As a pedestrian, I don't see that only having pedestrian access via the footbridges is a problem."
Karen Boulton, owner of Greens Health Foods, in High Street, said the bridges solution was the best answer to the issue.
"There's definitely a will to get this done," she said. "It just depends on how long it will take to discuss it and how long it will take to complete."
Mike Wells, who runs Candypops sweet shop, in High Street, said: "I think this is brilliant – it's the best solution.
"I think people will get used to having to go over the pedestrian bridge."
Network Rail spokesman Rachel Lowe said that 100 people had visited the display in the Waterside in the first couple of hours of it opening on Friday, June 1.
"What we have picked up is that people's views are generally favourable that something is being looked at to try to solve the problem," she said.
"Understandably, people said they wanted to see more detail, and that will come out of the design process."