Op-ed: Visitors to Kingston-upon-Hull and locals trying to shop in the city centre have had a dismal year.
Ahead of the city's year in the spotlight as the UK City of Culture 2017 major works continue.
Before you tell me that you cannot undertake major improvements without some disruption here are some pertinent considerations.
Ferensway, a major road through the city centre, will close next week for three days. If all goes to plan the ensuing chaos will be brief. However for those who normally access this road it will be a big headache.
St Stephens shopping centre will still be accessible via its rear car park but expect traffic to be busy and slow moving.
Friday St Stephens' management tweeted "Planned closure of Ferensway 27-29 Nov. Our multi-storey car park will remain open. For any queries contact Customer Services 01482 313960."
Temporary bus route changes can be found here.
The city council has decided that works to improve lighting along Ferensway will be better completed in just three days accepting it will cause major disruption. The alternative however is a protracted affair.
An average 12,ooo vehicles use Ferensway each day.
Just how long will the rest of the works take?
Last year around October works across the city centre began.
Rather than a bit at a time huge parts of the city centre were dug up and cordoned off.
As autumn moved to winter pedestrians were faced with unsafe walking areas that were often waterlogged and muddy.
Shops in the city centre began to lose trade and some were forced to close their doors once and for all.
Having invested heavily in retail in the city centre the council were left with diminishing revenue.
Call it the domino effect or a downward spiral or what you will but it was and is bad news.
Hull New Theatre and the Feren's Art Gallery closed for major renovations. Both will repoen some time next year.
Sadly HULL will not be good to go January 1, 2017.
Some problems will be due to budgets and when money was or is released but it is a terrible look.
But do the changes represent best value for money and the people of the city?
Changes in the old town and former dock area are a mixed bag. They may have limited appeal locally.
While it will be great to attract visitors to the city in 2017 we have to look beyond that year. It is our time to shine but also our time to aim for a better future.
Unless you have transport the older areas of the city around former docks and the farly new marina are not easy to visit especially at night.
Hopefully the local council will have considered that and be making suitable arrangements.
Why so negative?
Health and safety has gone out of the window. Pedestrians have spent more than a year manoeuvring dangerous temporary footpaths.
It has been a difficult year and many people have stopped using the city centre hitting trade.
Will shoppers return when the work finally ends?
As Christmas rolls around again the unfinished city centre will not attract visitors.
In late May we wrote a report and titled it "HULL CITY CENTRE DISASTER ZONE AND EUROVIA."
Like many people were angry; angry that work was weeks behind; angry that a foreign firm had been awarded the contract;angry that having watched "workers" at various sites across the city centre we had concluded they were having a laugh at our expense!
Will our year as City of Culture make it all worthwhile and will the city ever be ready?
[Renovations are costing round £25 million]
The weather was dry which could be why a seemingly record number of people turned up for the event. It was however a windy night with a winter chill in the air.
As the crowds swelled and the published timing of 6.30p.m. passed, sadly some plants in flower beds at the front of Queen's Gardens were trampled. We spotted one child busily trampling the plants intentionally into the ground as his mum was distracted. As we shouted out 'stop that' mum spotted him and he was severely reprimanded.
But overall it was a good fun event; there were was a slight police presence but that could have been as the location is fairly close to one of the central police stations in our city centre.
The event was good humoured and fun; it included a few acts who performed their hearts out but that meant the event was later than expected and a problem for some families who had brought young children along.
We thought there would be chaos getting a bus but we managed that quickly; the route was slightly diverted due to traffic closures close to Queen's Gardens.
Passengers on our bus were a little squashed but good-natured and many of us were chatting away when three or four stop ahead of ours something hit the bus window. Some said it was at least one shot if not two but it could have been a heft stone or stones we guess.
Either way a bottom deck window shattered in its frame but stayed in situ. The corresponding window on the top deck similarly shattered but you could see a huge hole in it.
The driver ordered all passengers disembark and as we passed saying we only had a few stops to walk home the driver commented he wished he had too!
No person was hurt but it was incident to mar the evening’s event.
Young thugs and idiots have occasionally thrown rocks at buses in the past but after using local public transport for more than 60 years it is my first encounter.
The only personal downside was I forgot to take my camera. There are many images etc. online though.
At one point Neil Rudd, host of the night's event, asked the crowd to raise their cell or mobile or smartphones as one, all lit up; he remarked how cool that would be and that he would post it on social media and show just how many people were there. For this none using mobile phone local though it only went to show just how many people rely that bit too much on having their phone to hand 24/7.
But of course those people had a great set of images and footage thanks to modern technology!
St Stephen's Shopping centre Hull also had their lights switch on Thursday but it slightly clashed with Queen's Gardens display. It would have been warmer n the shopping centre but the fireworks were not bad for a council struggling financially.