G4S – The public should not have to try to resolve civic issues like this

20 Jan

This shouldn’t happen. For sure, the G4S driver should not have parked in a way that treats pedestrians with such contempt, and the pedestrians who challenged her should be congratulated for performing their civic duty with calm and persistent determination.

But… Why have G4S not taken steps to ensure that their staff don’t park like this? Where is the leadership from our politicians who are meant to create appropriate laws and empower the police to act? Where are the police – why are they not enforcing the weak laws that do exist?

Please ask your parliamentary candidates what they intend to do about this epidemic of pavement parking, which only gets worse as the number of vehicles on our roads increases year by year. Do also pick up the conversation on this subject on our Facebook page.

Tell your story to the world!

7 Jan

Puddles and splashes – poll

26 Nov

A quick poll. Do please response in the comments section below if you have either been splashed or nearly splashed by passing vehicles when walking. If you were splashed then did you think it was carelessness on the part of the motorist or possibly deliberate? I was very nearly caught recently when a motorist chose to keep going even though to do so would mean that he would drive straight through a puddle right where I was standing.

Also if you have experienced puddles that make it hard or inconvenient to cross the road? The first photo below shows a problem that it would be so easy for our council to avoid. Why on earth does the road have to dip down just at the point where people are expected to cross? Why was this not tested with the dropped kerb was installed? Why was it not fixed with the road was resurfaced? Grrrr

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And then this one. Here a large puddle (and a stupidly parked car to make matters worse) creating significant risk of a major soaking for pedestrians including the two who are approaching.

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Ok, so the questions again:

  • Have you been splashed or nearly splashed by passing cars when walking?
  • Do you think it was deliberate or carelessness?
  • Also.. are there places where standing water on roads and the pavement makes it difficult for you to walk in wet weather?

Please respond below in the comments field:

Think ahead, think Streets Ahead – Campaign video from Guide Dogs

22 Oct

Check out ‘Think ahead, think Streets Ahead‘, an awareness raising video from Guide Dogs made by young NCS graduates in King’s Lynn. NCS describes itself as  ‘a way for 15 to 17 year olds living in England and Northern Ireland to make extraordinary friendships, learn the skills they don’t teach you in class and create unforgettable memories.’ Well done and thank you, a great job. Do please keep at it!

Driving on the pavement

26 Sep

Driving on the pavement is banned by the same law that bans cyclists from riding on it. Needless to say, every car that is parked on the pavement was driven on it first, but that is another story. This post is about people to consider the pavement as a valid alternative to the carriageway when the road is blocked by a bin lorry, traffic or other obstructions.

Many cars evidently do this to get past bin lorries on the Isle of White. Good to see the Hampshire Police at least highlighting the issue.

It not just a Hampshire issue though. Here is video taken by a cyclist of a motorist doing the same thing to get past another bin lorry

And a whole line of vehicles using the pavement to get past roadworks in Swindon.

And trying to escape the traffic chaos outside a school in Folkstone

And in Bristol where a car is seen being driven along the pavement towards a pedestrian.

In this one the driver of a car in this one decides accelerates past a cyclist, with two wheels up on the pavement.

Even the Royal Mail are at it. Here is a van being driven some long distance along the pavement (and no, the hazard warning lights don’t make it OK!)

Also report here of motorists driving on the pavement outside a primary school in Bolton and to get pass roadworks in West London. All of the above have been chosen to show what appear to be ordinary people driving on the pavement in ordinary circumstances, not whilst in a rage, drunk or when speeding or being chased by the police (which also happens).

Is this issue a nationally significant one? Have you experienced it yourself? Do let us know in the comments field below.

Reclaiming the term ‘road user’ from the motoring lobby

22 Sep

These banners, which were proudly displayed at a fringe event at the Labour Conference, give a clear impression that ‘Driver=Road User’ and ‘Road User=Driver’. This is totally unacceptable and marginalises all other road users.

This is not an isolated instance, and we need to be challenge it. Following the success of the ipayroadtax.org campaign, I suggest we complain whenever we see the term being used in this way.

Here are the banners in question.

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‘Strengthing’ maximum parking standards by weakening them??

20 Sep

I have just been alerted to the fact that the government is consulting on a change that would require local authorities to allow developers to provide as much parking within their developments as they wish ‘to meet market demand‘ with a suggestion that this would ‘tackle the on-street parking problem’. Consultation responses need to be in by the 26th September. Please ensure relevant organisations are aware of this one which needs a clear response.

The offending text is hidden away towards the end of this long consultation document. In this excellent article “Pickles and jam jars” in Local Transport Today (subscription) John Dales wrote:

“Nowhere in the introduction to the consultation (page five), or in the scope of the relevant section two (page 18) is there the slightest indication that there’s anything important about parking anywhere in the document. Nevertheless, under the section heading Reducing planning regulations to support housing, high streets and growth, under the sub-heading Supporting a mixed and vibrant high street, and last of all the matters listed under Proposal H: Expanded facilities for existing retailers are buried paragraphs 2.77 and 2.78 (under the sub-sub-sub-heading Maximum parking standards).

Paragraph 2.77 begins with the superfluous statement that “the Government supports the motorist” and ends by stating that “Parking standards are now a matter for local authorities”. Paragraph 2.78 reveals at once that this a lie, issuing the thinly-veiled threat that “the Government wants to understand whether local authorities are stopping builders from providing sufficient parking space to meet market demand”. In this way, smuggled in as being something that will somehow help retailers, we find a proposal that plainly has the potential to undermine both local democracy and sensible planning as they apply to all land uses, not just shops. We also see, in the phrase “meet market demand”, just how doctrinaire the secretary of state is when it comes to the use of private cars”

Here is the offending section in full (highlights are my own):

Maximum parking standards
2.77 The Government supports the motorist and wants to see adequate parking provision for them. For this reason, we removed the previous administration’s restrictions on the number of parking spaces for new developments. And in March
this year we published new planning guidance, which encourages local authorities to improve the quality of parking in town centres and, where it is necessary to ensure their vitality, the quantity too. Parking standards are now matters for local authorities.

2.78 We are aware that some local authorities appear to have adopted a more flexible approach, and this is to be welcomed, but the Government now wishes to understand whether more action is needed to tackle on-street parking problems. We want to understand whether local authorities are stopping builders from providing sufficient parking space to meet market demand. We also want to ensure that local authorities in their Local Plans have properly reviewed their parking policies and brought them up to date.

Question 2.16: Do you agree that parking policy should be strengthened to tackle on-street parking problems by restricting powers to set maximum parking standards?

Is it not a good idea to provide more on-property parking I hear some people ask? Well not really. When an area has a lot of cars then there will be a lot of commuting. When there is a lot of commuting the roads get full, public transport gets slower, cycling and walking get less attractive and even the motorists complain. When motorists finally get to the where they are going they find the car park is full and complain. In addition the density of housing reduces and commutes get longer making all forms of transport more expensive and commutes longer (LA is a good example of where this all ends). Planners have known for years that this is what happens, and the last conservative government accepted this in 1994 after the big road protests. Since then they have obviously forgotten. Let’s remind them! The alternative is denser building where places are closer together and within reach by public transport, bicycle or on foot.

Again – do please make sure that all the relevant organisation are aware of this consultation and the need to rebut it by the 26th September.

Incidentally I am also planning to look at the separate consultation as detailed in the ‘The right to challenge parking policies: a discussion paper‘ which has a closing date of 10 October 2014. More later.

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