Archive | January, 2012

A happy Mr Toad!

21 Jan

Mr Toad will be delighted that he can continue to park for free in Westminster. Colin Barrow, the councilor leader (Conservative) said he would step down in March after announcing that the council’s controversial plans to actually charge people to park cars in one of the richest places in the country during evenings and on Sundays was to be scrapped. Paul Dimolden, Westminster’s Labour group leader said that he had paid the “ultiminate price for his poor judgement”. Don’t you just love party politics! I find it curious that this is the second place where Conservatives have been pressing for tougher parking restrictions and where the local Labour group has been opposing it.

A very happy toad! (copyright image)

Police with teeth – at least in Nottinghamshire

20 Jan

Nottinghamshire Police in the Broughton Astley & Walton area have put out a warning that they are going to get tough on pavement parking. here as a screen-grab from their website. I just wish other police forces would take such a clear stand in support of vulnerable road users!

Notts police get tough

Notts police get tough

To quote:

There are rules in parking which are,

1. Drivers must leave enough room for a double buggy pushchair or mobility cart to get through

2. Must NOT park on dropped kerbs for wheel chair access!

3. Must not park blocking driveways!

Encroachment, obstruction, interference and nuisance

17 Jan

Suffolk County council explain on their website, that they “have a duty to protect the public rights of passage on the road and footpath network”; also that they have a duty to ensure that roads are free from “danger, encroachments, interference, nuisance and obstructions” and that their officers “are sometimes required to deal with businesses and individuals who obstruct or otherwise interfere with the rights of the public to use the road.” OK, so why are they not ‘dealing’ with the owners of these vehicles (and bins) who are encroaching on the highway, creating danger and interfering with the rights of the public to use the road, and use the pavement in particular?

Almost onto private property, but not quite!

Encroaching on the pavement from both sides at once

Ouch. No chance of getting along here.

Bins everywhere but no action from the authorities

Encroaching from both sides

A Parcelforce van this time, optimism knows no bounds!

Same old story, big car, small hard-standing and a pincer movement

More big cars ‘stealing’ part of the highway

A nasty tow-hook on this one

The pavement is impassible and the dropped kerb has been broken up by the weight of vehicles

These two vans have claimed this pavement as their permanent parking space

I will ask the council and my MP, Ben Gummer about this and see what they have to say.

Dropped kerbs and dropped pavements

15 Jan

There was a time when ‘dropped kerb’ meant exactly that, in other words the pavement was on the level except for a narrow strip at the kerb-edge where it dropped. What we have these days could better be described as ‘dropped pavements’. Why does it matter? It matters because with the old design pedestrians, and buggy/wheelchair users had a level surface for the majority if not all of the width of the pavement; with the modern design much of the pavement is on a slope with frequent abrupt changes in level for pedestrians. Here are some examples, firstly showing traditional dropped kerbs:

A traditional dropped kerb beside a vege – totally flat pavement

A traditional dropped kerb without a verge – 80% of the width is flat

Compare that with a modern ‘dropped pavements’, where the entire width of the pavement is on the wonk with steep entrance and exit ramps for pedestrians across much of its width. Here are a few examples:

A dropped pavement (err… plus modern wheelie-bin) – much tougher for many pedestrians

In this example 1/3rd of the ‘pavement’ is underwater when it rains!

Long length of ‘pavement’ on a slope, + bins of course

In this example there is a completely unnecessary ‘step’ between the pavment and driveway

‘Harm to local amenity’

15 Jan

The government is evidently going to publish plans on Monday to prevent councils in England fining householders who break ‘minor bin collection rules’. They claim say that councils should only be able to act where they can prove that a householder is causing ‘harm to local amenity’ and that ‘only those causing real problems for their community will get punished’. The aim of this legislation seems to be to reduce the powers of authorities over rubbish collections, however in Ipswich bins are already causing ‘harm to local amenity’ as can be seen in all but one of the cases features below :

May Gurney – if at first you don’t succeed….

15 Jan

Taking the advice of the old saying which goes “if at first you don’t succeed then try, try and try again” I have again confiscated some of May Gurney’s signs  after finding them illegally blocking the pavement (signage must always leave 1 meter clear for pedestrians). As always when I remove their signs like this I email and tweet using the twitter handle (@maygurney) and invite them to come and collect them.

We are making slow progress though. There was no obvious effect to my complaint in October 2010 – we exchanged friendly emails but nothing changed, and then when I confiscated two illegally positioned signs a year later I didn’t even get any response at all beyond the standard automated email acknowledgement. Only after I had removed a 2nd set of dangerously positioned signs did I finally get an email and phone response promising action. They also arranged to collect the four signs that I had in storage for them by that time.

Unfortunately they are still blocking pavements so we need to keep going a little longer! In this latest incident notice that:

  • the road works themselves are almost entirely on private property and hardly intrude onto the pavement, let along onto the carriageway which is not affected at all (so there is no logic to warning motorists of a narrowing road)
  • the signs are causing far more inconvenience to pedestrians than the road works themselves (even before one of the collapsed).
  • oh yes, and notice that the other pavement is blocked as usual by a car, so that pavement is not easy to use either.

Two signs ilegally obstructing the pavement