Archive | March, 2012

On excursion – pavement parking Ha Noi style

9 Mar

This blog is very much about highlighting the need for action on pavement parking issues in the UK, however the Google alert I have set up for ‘pavement parking’ has been throwing up various article about a saga playing out in Ha Noi, Vietnam at present.

The current situation was summed up by one recent visitor who said: ‘Hanoi has great pavements, but they are useless as they are full of motorbikes‘ and the newspaper article announcing the ban this February explains: ‘The ban was brought in to try and ease traffic chaos and create more rooms for pedestrians, who are forced to climb over vehicles or walk on the roads to avoid parked vehicles‘.

When reading the article it becomes clear that there is also a well developed system of charging people to use these pavement ‘parking lots’: ‘One worker named Huong at a parking lot run by Hanh Ly Trading and Service Co Ltd in Nguyen Xi Street told the Viet Nam News she knew about the ban, but the local authority had issued no notices. Le Ngoc Anh, a resident in the Old Quarter’s Hang Chieu Street, said the ban should be carried out immediately as parking lots in the Old Quarters usually occupied all the pavements and encroached on the roads.

I like the way the article goes on to talk about people driving ‘huge slow cars’ with one occupant: ‘Ha Noi is home to about 3.8 millions of motorbikes and almost 400,000 huge, slow moving cars that often carried a single passenger. Among them, about 184,000 cars and 2.3 millions motorbikes are operating in inner city.‘ The population of the Metropolitan Area is 6.5 million so over half of the population appear to have a motorbike and under 10% have a car.

However…. there was clearly been a bit of a political backlash, and Vietnam News reported today that the ban is to be ‘eased’ stating that ‘Ha Noi has approved a Transport Department proposal to lift the ban on parking by all vehicles on the pavements of some streets in the inner city to meet the overwhelming demand for parking spaces‘. The article then explains that any parking: ‘would have to meet requirements including leaving at least 1.5 metres for pedestrians and not blocking the entire pavement‘. The 1.5 m bit sounds sensible, however if that is the case then why the need to say ‘not blocking the entire pavement‘ in the same sentence? Is there already an acceptance that the 1.5 meters is not going to be met?

In other parts of the city, however. there are moves to impose a ban on parking: ‘The HCM City People’s Committee has asked authorities in districts to take drastic measures to stop pavements being used for parking as well as for commercial purposes. Nguyen Trung Tin, deputy chairman of the city’s People’s Committee, said that districts should strictly impose fines so that pavements could remain clear. He asked that the city to revoke the licences of shops that used pavements for parking vehicles. “Each district had to impose a deadline for pavement clearance and ensure that deadlines were met,” Tin said.’

Finally, here are a couple of youtube clips of traffic in the city, not for the faint-hearted, but it seems to function in a crazy sort of way! You can see how the pavements are completely blocked by motorbikes at one point in the first video.

British Parking Awards 2012!

8 Mar

OK, so by some odd and completely random route which had absolutely nothing to do with this blog or any associated campaigning I will be donning a suit tomorrow and be heading for the  2012 British Parking Awards‘ ceremony in Park Lane, Mayfair. In case you are curious, I believe that I was invited because I wasn’t interested in car parks or parking and would talk about something more interesting! Little did they know….

Anyway, I will report on the event in due course after finding out who won the following awards: Enforcement Award, Parking and Environment Award and the Exceptional Customer Service Award. I will be less interested in the Best New Car Park and Best Car Park Refurbishment Awards!

British Parking Awards 2012

 

Mervyn Lambert Traffic – blocking pavements again

7 Mar

I did a post about Mervyn Lambert Traffic recently after they had left a number of traffic signs blocking the pavements around where I live. I called their emergence line and to their credit someone jumped into a van and drove 50 miles to come and move them and we even had a friendly and productive discussion about the issue in site. Unfortunately… they have gone and done exactly the same thing again – this time on a much busier road.

In response I have now removed the offending sign into safe keeping and have invited them to come and collect it from me. I do realise that this might create some inconvenience for motorists on the signed diversion, however it will create less inconvenience and risk for pedestrians (including kids heading to school during this morning rush-hour). Talking of risk, anyone who considers removing signs in their patch should be aware that it is illegal to move traffic signs and one can get a £1000 fine; I am taking that risk because I believe that it is necessary to do so to get these companies to pay attention and obey the law, and because I don’t believe they would take me to court given that I have evidence of their offense, and of course I would love to head what the court would say if they did! One also needs to carefully consider if the removal of the sign could create an increased risk or a collision – if in doubt leave them where they are a phone the company and get them to sort it. The picture below shows this particular offending sign. Do notice that the legal footway ends where the tarmac ends and the concrete starts with far less than the legal 1 meter minimum of on-obstructed footway.

Mervyn Lambert Traffic across the pavement again!