Archive | August, 2011

25K pageviews and a new facebook group

24 Aug

Pedestrian Liberation has just topped 25,000 page views since it started and is now regularly getting 2,000 page views a month which seems like a great time to launch a new Pedestrian Liberation Facebook group where people can discuss issues, ideas and plan responses. If you are interested in creating a better pedestrian environment then please sign up to the group and get talking. The group is ‘closed(open)’ which means that the discussion is only visible to members of the group(visible to everyone). There is no restriction on joining. Just just click ‘join group’ and you are in.

Fyi, here is our usage since we started:

Pageviews on Pedestrian Liberation to August 2011

And just here are the search terms people used to find the site over the past month. My favourities include:

  • “which campaigns deals with pavements,road signs
  • “can wheelie bins be left on dropped kerb
  • “how to convince parents not to park their cars outside school gates for their own children’s safety
  • “why are cars allowed to park on pavements?
  • “how much does cow need living space” (not sure about that one!)
  • “why are roadsigns placed on pavements to block pedestrians?
  • “are people allowed to park on dropped kerbs?
  • “cars obstructing pavement law definition uk

And here are some of the more popular search terms:
is it illegal to park on the pavement 25
pavement parking 10
road works 6
road obstruction sign 6
raised crossing 6
pedestrian liberation 6
leicestershire pavement parking 5
dhl unmarked 4
archway road highgate during world war 2 4
pedestrianliberation.wordpress.com 4
can wheelie bins be left on dropped kerb 4
example of road life 3
council yellow line enforcement private land 3
parked on footway 3
road work signs 3
biased maps 3
unloading on a dropped kerb with double yellow lines 3
fast lane speed mph 3
council clearing pavements campaign 3
destroyed road 3
roadworks 3
rectangular bananas 3
legislation for parking vehicles on footpaths for business purposes 3
welwyn garden city 3
is it an offence to park a vehicle on a drive that obstructed the footpath 3
signs for pedestrians on paveement 2
parking lot paid space toy car 2
paving leaflet 2
pavement obstruction law uk 2
pavement kerb 2
without favour or affection malice or ill will 2
alternative parking 2
highway maintenance cars 2
which campagins deals with pavements,road signs 2
safety beacon leaflets 2
new forest cow in road 2
office people 2
damaged pavement 2
parking pavement narrow road 2
problems pertaining to pedestrians and law enforcement of pedestrian offence 2
street parking laws pavement blocking 2
pedestrian liberation cycle track act 2
to be treated with contempt 2
is it illegal to park on a pavement 2
highway maintenance van 2
parking on pavement leaving 1 meter 2
road works diagram 2
car sticker wheelchair pedestrians 2
no parking on pavement 2
is the pavement common land 2
is it illegal to leave bins on pavement 2
apc overnight depots in ipswich 2
west yorkshire police rogues gallery 2
footways use 2
chapter 8 road work sign positions 2
openstreetmap speed limit time 2
street slabs 2
how to convince parents not to park their cars outside school gates for their own children’s safety 2
other road pavements 2
is it legal to park on pavement? 2
parked on dropped kerb outside my own garage in cardiff 2
driving on pavement law 2
map speed limits milton keynes 2
no parking on the curb sign 2
parking on double yellow includes verge and footway 2
problem pertainig to pedestrian and law enforcement of pedestrian offences 2
asphalt pedestrian footway 2
child bending over puddle 2
speed limits for ipswich 2
i hate stickers 2
car walking 2
stevenage footpaths 2
department of transport parking on footpaths 2
why are cars allowed to park on pavements? 2
netherlands 130km 2
are you allowed to park on the pavement 2
cause unnecessary obstruction by motor vehicle 2
broken pavement 2
funny parking in the uk 2
zigzag traffic lights 2
no pedestrians 2
dpd 2
yellow lines parked pavement case 2
trek highway services 2
traffic management signs 2
are cars allowed to park on pavement 2
safety signs laws for works on pavements 2
archway road 2
sandwell school parking campaign 2
is it an offence to drive over a footpath to gain access 2
bollard planter 2
new paving designs 2011 2
broken slabs 2
speed limits on urban a roads 2
summer streets 2011 2
local regualtions regarding obstruction of a pavement 2
tnt lorry 2
road traffic act parking on pavements 2
is it illegal to park on the pavement 2010 2
what are the benefits of using email with regard to speed cost 2
range rover classic passenger safety 2
dpd van on fire 2
law on construction along the highway and busy street 2
no wheelchairs 2
lamp post damage 2
wheelchairs 2
dropped kerbs law 2
cumnor primary school 2
illegal to park on pavement 2
how much does cow need living space 2

Police officers arrest and fight each other in parking rows

23 Aug

Back in October 2010 a PC Roderick Lund was awarded £5,000 in damages after suing his own force for unlawful arrest, false imprisonment and using unreasonable force in relation to a parking incident! It seems that Lund’s next-door neighbour, who was himself a retired police superintendent reported Lund to the police saying that his car was causing an obstruction. Duty officers arrived, agreed and asked Lund to move it which he refused to do saying that he had had a drink. The conversation became more heated with Lund challenging the duty officers motives; Lund was arrested, led away in handcuffs and detained for 10 hours. I wonder if these officers might like to return and deal with the cars and bins that seem to be regularly left obstructing the pavement of the same street.

police offices arrest each other (copyright image)

Of course, this is all pretty tame compared to South Africa where the police traded blows and drew guns on each other when traffic officers attempted to tow a police car belonging to another force.

SA cops trade blows (copyright image)

At least the people involved in the above incidents lived to tell the tale which was not the case for one off-duty policeman in Baltimore who was killed in a dispute over a parking place in which he was hit on the head by a rock in 2010.

Fighting on the home front and elsewhere

22 Aug

First the real fighting. Two businessmen were shot dead in Forest Gate, East London recently after asked a driver to move his vehicle from behind their hotel. In Carlisle a driver who headbutted a special constable in a parking row has been electronically-tagged.

Over in China there have also been deaths. In one incident four workers were apparently killed and 16 injured and others were blown up with dynamite after a fight broke out over a parking space in Longnan City, Gansu Province, China and then there was the incident in Qianxi, Guizhou, China where hundreds of people rioted, set fire to vehicles, blocked streets and injured several policemen after a local officials apparently shoved an elderly woman who had parked her motorbike illegally.

I am glad to say that things seem to be a bit calmer elsewhere. Possibly Britain isn’t completely ‘broken’ after all!

In Darwen local people are complaining about post office vans being parked across the pavement outside the post office.

Post office vans blocking the pavement in Darwen (copyright image)

Meanwhile, a local resident in Henley paid Oxfordshire County Council £2,000 to install bollards to stop pavement parking outside his house, only to be told that it is a conservation area, that the pavement was listed and that the bollards would have to go!

Henley – a row about bollards (copyright image)

Over in Tipton, West Midlands residents were confused when a short section of newly created red route (which gives priority for buses and bans parking) was removed within weeks and replaced by parking bays marked out half on the carriageway and half on the pavement!

New red route replaced with parking bay across pavement and carriageway (copyright image)

Up in Alnwick wheeelchair users are complaining about the fact that motorists are blocking the few available dropped-kerbs which allow them to cross the road. One man explained that “Unless someone has sat in a wheelchair and done it, I don’t think they appreciate the difficulties”.

Residents in Lynn, Norfolk say the problem of pavement parking is getting much worse. One person explained “It’s becoming almost impossible to walk down a pavement in most of the older part of the town without having to squeeze past parked vehicles. It’s not just scooter users that suffer, either. It’s getting increasingly difficult to negotiate a pushchair or even carry bags along our pavements.” Residents in a street in Worcester are fed up with their street being used by staff and customers of nearby businesses park who park their cars on the pavement and block driveways. Top Gear apologised for parking their electric car in a disabled parking bay.

However In Stretton, Staffordshire residents are complaining about parking being restricted to 1 hour only. One resident complained “I used to be a taxi driver before I retired and my taxi used to be parked outside all night long without any problem,” he said, “Now if my daughter comes to see me she can only stop an hour or she gets a ticket.” They are being offered an option of ‘no change, two hours, residents parking permits or to remove all parking restrictions. These residents do not in fact have any legal right to park on the highway at all!

But then there are the 40 residents in Wargrave who ‘packed a public meeting’ to complain about the loss of 8 parking bays in the village. One resident asked “What are we meant to do when we can’t get into the car park because it is full?“. Sigh!!

Park(ing) day 2011

22 Aug

Park(ing) Day is a global grass-routes project to convert parking meter spaces into attractive social spaces for a few hours on one day each year, thereby challenging the dominance of the car in a playful and effective way. The initiative, which started in San Francisco in 2005  had already spread to 183 cities around the globe by 2010 and Parking day 2011 takes place on 16th September in a few weeks time. This could be a good day to do some stuff in our local areas. Any ideas?

In San Francisco this initiative has already inspired the city authorities to convert parking bays into pavement extensions for cafe tables, park benches, bike racks etc on a more permanent basis. Very simple, very effective and very San Francisco. Do of course remember that in North American English the ‘pavement’ is the carriageway, or more accurately the paved road surface rather than the footway. Click on the images for more information and do watch the video. Isn’t it great!

Divisadero Street Parklet (copyright image)

22nd Street Parklet (copyright image)

Colas “We place the highest importance on safety”

17 Aug

I spotted this highway maintenance vehicle across the pavement today making it almost impossible for a group of pedestrians with young children to get past. I also noticed that their website saysWe place the highest importance on safety” and thatThe safety of the general public, clients and our own people is our top priority“. A workman nearby used the classic excuse ‘what about the cars – they are breaking the law as well’. In fairness the guy worked for another company and quickly got on the phone to get the vehicle moved and it was gone within 10 minutes. No excuse for it being there in the first place though.

For their benefit, here are the relevant rules for heavy good vehicles (Road Traffic Act 1988 section 19 and 20). Parking a heavy commercial vehicle on pavements is an offense except where “the vehicle was parked on the verge of a road or on a footway for the purpose of loading or unloading, and (b) that the loading or unloading of the vehicle could not have been satisfactorily performed if it had not been parked on the footway or verge, and (c) that the vehicle was not left unattended at any time while it was so parked“. This vehicle was unattended, there was space on the carriageway and it had been there for at least 30 minutes. It would be great if this law had been extended to all vehicles, but it has not been. I am dropping an email to the main contact for local authority work at the company to ask him to remind his staff of this law.

Colas vehicle illegally parked on the pavement

Absolutely no reason not to be parked on the carriageway

Update

I also noticed that one of Carillion’s signs for the works was leaving only 680mm for pedestrians which is less that the one metre which is required by law (Traffic Signs Manual chapter 8 clause D4.4.1). The guy I spoke to used the rather lame excuse that “we thought it was 1 metre” but said that it would be gone within 30 minutes anyway which seemed reasonable to me. At least he knew if should be one metre. He did explain that if they put it on the carriageway then they would get blamed by motorists who then hit it! Whatever the reasoning, it is great to have some laws on our side for some of this and it is well worth complaining.

Sign illegally leaving less than 1 metre for pedestrians

Police apparently reasssures motorist that persistent illegal parking is OK

12 Aug

I have reported this Jaguar car to the police on a number of occasions for parking in a raised crossing outside a local primary school over the past 9 months – the car even takes pride of place at the the top of our ‘Rogues gallery‘. I saw the owner in his car today for the first time. He told me that the police has visited him about 3 months ago and said that it was OK for him to continue parking as he was. I am very surprised to hear that because I have personally reminded the local sergeant about the Traffic Management Act 2004 (section 86) which says that it is illegal to block a raised crossing. Possibly the police were confused because there is also a single yellow line which doesn’t apply after 6pm. Whatever the truth is, it is clear that the guy didn’t stop parking illegally so the police can’t have done much to enforce the law.

The guy told me that he was moving today, so as a send-off here are some of the photos taken over the past 9 months including one taken today of the van he is using to move house parked up on the raised crossing as well! I will send a copy of this post to my local sergeant in a few days to remind him to respond to my last two letters on the subject. I will include any (polite) messages that are left at the end of this post over the next few days.

Jaguar still on the crossing in August 2011

Jaguar on the raised crossing outside the school in June 2011

Our friend the Jaguar driver again, back in May 2011)

Jaguar on a raised platform with a single yellow line in November 2010)

His removal van up on the raised crossing today!

Illegal signage on a dangerous road

12 Aug

I discovered recently that all signage left on the footway must leave at least 1 meter clear at the side, preferably 1.5 meters; the actual wording is “in no circumstances must the width of the footway be reduced to less than 1m, preferably not less than 1.5m” (Traffic Signs Manual chapter 8 clause D4.4.1). The sign in the picture below leaves a minimal 600mm beside a very busy and dangerous road. On a positive note, I found the Palmer Group, who put the signs there, very helpful when I phoned them and they said they would sort is ‘asap’. Given the narrow pavement and the big sign I will be interested to see what they do! Update: They moved the sign to a very suitable place within 12 hours. Great work and thanks… but next time please don’t wait to be asked!

Illegal signage – less than 1 meter available for pedestrians

I have also just produced a causality map for the area in question showing where people have been killed and injured by cars in the area over the past 25 years. Two people have been killed in that time (the two red dots), 12 people have been seriously injured (the 12 purple dots) and there have been many slight injuries reported to the police (blue dots).

Foxhall road casualties map