Is it just me ... or is it getting busier in Whanganui?

There seem to be more and more cars on our roads and now only the early bird gets the parking space, while we shuffle nose-to-tail up and down Victoria Avenue hoping to slip into a vacant spot.

I know we have had a population rise of 700 folk last year, so that probably means a few extra vehicles in town, and most motor dealers report a healthy rise in sales as the two-car family adds an extra run-around for the teenager of the house.

So are we slowly heading down a rapidly-gridlocking road to Auckland-esque traffic snarl-ups? Heaven forbid.

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The increasing number of roadworks can't be helping the general impression of motoring log-jam. Our alert appears to have moved to Def Cone 1.

And the introduction of a "shared pathway" (for pedestrians and cyclists) in the city centre has turned St Hill Street into a morass of holes, diggers and single-lane squeezes.

One blessing has been the removal of traffic lights at some intersections and their replacement with a tiny circle of cones forming a roundabout — our very own Coney Island.

This has thankfully speeded up traffic flows and prevented tailbacks but, alas, it is only a temporary reprieve. The traffic lights will return — and be added to. It all makes for a slow grind for drivers.

Of course, it is important to cater for pedestrians, cyclists and that greener, petrol-free future.

And I appreciate that Joe Motorist has become a general whipping boy, what with fuel taxes and the "drive" to get people on to public transport.

It's all worthy and well-intentioned stuff but, funnily enough, it is not what goes through your mind when you are trying to get home after a long day in the office and you find yourself trapped between traffic lights, roadworks and someone who isn't sure where to go because the arterial landscape had changed dramatically.