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Yet another low quality waterfront car park

6 Aug

A new Car Park at the Waterfront. Now, where have I heard that before? I think I’ve lost count of the Car Parks in this area now. This was a space that we were interested in as it is or was a large unused space that had some potential to be a really nice public space, but instead it is being used for yet another Car Park when the existing ones are still underused and mainly empty.

One very noticeable feature of the Car Park is a very nice covered bike park. Its great to see them using the space in different ways and that they are thinking of cyclists though its placement does seem a little strange.

I spoke to an attendant and asked if there was going to be any further development to cheer the place up and he said that improvements may be made to the area when business picks up and it starts to make some money. I say “good luck” if the other Car Parks in the area are anything to go by.

So the new Car Park has shown early signs of moving in the rightdirection in being friendly not only to Cars but lets hope that some further development see’s some tree’s and flowers green the place up a bit. Amongst the modernity of the new waterfront it would have been great to see a picnic park area adding some life and loveliness to all those buildings and Car Parks instead of the easiest and laziest way of making money.

Ravenswood – progress!

19 Jul

Shortly after my last post I received a call from a local Councilor who said that he shared our concerns with the parking problems at Ravenswood primary school. We had promising meeting and hopefully will be working together to get something sorted. I provided him with a copy of a presentation about our work and methods which he seems to like.

If you have any ideas or would like to offer any help then please leave a comment, hit us on twitter or email us at Here is the presentation:

Ravenswood update – more permissions needed..

16 Jul

You may remember about our plans for a garden outside Ravenswood primary school in Ipswich to stop damage to the verges there. We are now working with the officials to see if we can do something and initially the local police officers from the safer neighborhood team were very supportive, however when we were ready to start there was then a problem and it seemed that additional permission from certain officials. We want to try to work with the authorities on this one so we will need to wait for an answer and get on with other work for the time being.

Here is what the area looks like at school pickup time which was co-incidentally the moment that the Google Streetview car drove past. There are cars all along the verge and in the bus stop:

‘Get a real job’!

13 Jul

We have noticing the responses we get when we comment on people’s poor choice of parking. Recently I was taking a photo of this beautiful piece of parking when the owner returned.

He asked me what I was doing and then got quite angry when I pointed out that it was because he was parked across a pavement, a dropped curb and a pedestrian box. He told me to ‘get a real job’ and drove off!

This is a very different from the response from the one normally given by people who are ‘found out’ doing something that they know is wrong and where they half expect to be challenged. The normal response in such situations is to apologise or make some weak excuse.

‘I had to park on the pavement’

13 Jul

I noticed a post on a forum today by a man living  in West London who complained about getting a parking ticket for having one wheel on the pavements. His question and the responses nicely present the whole debate and in particular the level of irritation from the pedestrians who suffer!

This is what he said:

“I have just received a parking ticket for parking on the pavement, ticket states ‘parked with 1 or more wheels on any part of an urban road other than a carriageway (footway parking)’. The road was very narrow hence the parking on the pavement & there was no parking restriction signs. I wasn’t the only car parked this way (irrelevant really) but given the width of the road pavement parking seemed sensible if only for access for emergency vehicles, I even folded my wing mirrors back to provide additional clearance (I thought I was being a responsible citizen but there you go).

And here are a sample of the many responses against his position:

  • “But the pavement is for pedestrians, if its too narrow, park round the corner next time?
  • “If you can’t leave room for emergency vehicles on the road, then park elsewhere and walk.
  • “This is the problem with cars getting ever wider – such as the new Mondeo. They may look great in the designers mind but are less practical in the real world.
  • “Irresponsible pavement parking really bugs me, I will confess I wasn’t always especially careful with the pushchair whilst squeezing past some of the pavement blockers I used to encounter when the kids were small. (and once my daughters arm was quite badly hurt when it got trapped in tiny gap between car and pushchair)
  • “I am happy you got a parking ticket. When me and my wife walk with our 1 year old son in a pram, we have to risk our life and his to walk in the road because some inconsiderate driver has parked on our pavement! Our child buggy is quite wide and doesn’t fit in the gap most motorist think is suitable.
  • “As said above, I don’t think the choices are (1) Block the pavement or (2) Block the road. It should be to park somewhere legal, even if it’s further away.
  • “My nephew is a firefighter – called to a fire in an industrial estate – narrow road where the police had many times asked the local businesses to move the cars. On this day, his senior officer told just “go for it”. he severely damaged 8 cars, and bent the bumper on his Scania fire tuck. The police charged the business in charge of the vehicles parked (a) for parking partially on the pavement, (b) for causing obstruction, and (c) for parking the wrong direction in a one way street.

There were also a few comments supporting the guy though – I particularly liked the suggestion that ‘the government’ should move the disabled, blind, elderly and parents with tripple buggies into ‘special areas’ – I assume he is thinking of ghettos. Nice!

  • “I don’t hate pavement parkers at all. It’s often the best place to park, sometimes the only one. – And we all know how annoying it is to suddenly get into trouble over something that has always been perfectly all right until that moment… People are going to say: what about the disabled, the blind, the elderly, women with special wide triplet pushchairs… The government should arrange immediately for all such people, and those in similar categories, to live in streets where no one has to park on the pavement. It’s easy when you know how.
  • “In some places, there are more cars than people who use pavement. So, parking with one set of wheels on pavement is actually better than blocking the traffic flow. It’s a musical chair game. Unfotunately you’ve got caught – so have to pay up.

And his response to all of the above…

“I thought I had a valid point, but it seems the anti-pavement parking brigade want to dominate without any discussion. Shame really.

Clearly though there is a large and pretty motivated ‘anti-pavement parking brigade’ out there as he calls us, and that it really good news for our campaign!

Parking on pavements is now ok!

12 Jul

A recent blog post in the challenging blog titled “‘Crap Cycling & Walking in Waltham Forest’”  tells us of the case of a pavement parker who won an appeal by arguing that he had done it lots of time before and hadn’t been fined. The appeal adjudicator recommended that the council reconsider any further pending fines. He also said that CCTV cameras should not be used for issuing parking fines “because that wasn’t what they were designed for. They were designed as a deterrent to theft and anti-social behaviour”.

A council spokesperson plaintively commented that “Parking on the pavement is illegal unless signs permit it. We are getting increasing numbers of calls from wheelchair and buggy users and parents complaining about the lack of space caused by cars blocking the way, which is why we increased enforcement in the area”.

Be aware that London has special powers to fine pavement parking. Cars even a little bit on the pavement can theoretically already be fined unless there is special signage and marking saying that their can.

Same old….

Whats this? Another car park…

5 Jul

Wow, could this be the densest collection of car parks in the land? The Waterfront in Ipswich is now home to its sixth Car Park which I don’t understand considering the numerous others don’t get used. We spoke about these Car Parks in a previous post and the same questions apply here, mainly couldn’t this space be used for something better?

As you can see this is a picture of the new Car Parks tariff. I t seems very reasonable and could be the cheapest Car Park in town but will that matter when the others in the same area aren’t being used.

Perhaps we had better try to brighten it up a bit.

Junior Speed Watch

22 Jun

Children from Perry Beeches Junior School in Birmingham have joined forces with  the members from the West Midlands Police to monitor the speed of traffic outside their school and to catch speeding motorists.

They found that the 30mph was being broken by some motorists even though the approach is clearly marked as a ‘school zone’. Using speed cameras they caught six vehicles speeding the fastest of which was clocked at 40 mph. Check out a video of the event published by the police on their facebook page.

The statistics are compelling – a pedestrian hit by a car at 40 mph has a 90% fatality rate which drops 2.5% at 20 mph.

The same approach was previously used outside Southmead School in Bristol where school children working with the local police using speed cameras caught 25 speeding motorists who were then given a choice to take a survey presented by the pupils or receive a fine and three points on their licence!

This is a great example of how to empower pedestrians to challenge the ‘rights’ some motorists think they have to drive where they like, at a speed of their choosing and then park all over the place! Let’s have more of these junior speed watch events around the country.

“You can’t park on that!”

22 Jun

Oh dear! This car seems to have been parked on a pedestrian who is now is now stuck and in terrible pain! Ok, so of course it is really just a set-up dreamed up by those fine Pedestrian Liberation folk in Woodbridge to draw attention to pavement parking and have some fun at the same time!

As always there is of course a serious message, which is that cars on pavements often force pedestrians onto the road with all the inherent dangers of getting knocked down or whatever.

We like this idea and are now planning some follow up sessions with a broader cast of characters who get into difficulty when trying to negotiate or cluttered pavements – stay tuned for more fun!

On the Verge of destruction

10 Jun

Pavements are not the only area affected by bad parking, grass verges also fall victim and suffer irreversible damage. Drivers may think that they are doing the right thing in not blocking the road but there are few grassy areas left in towns due to roads and paths so they should be looked after.

We sent the Pedestrian Liberation Parking Warden out to investigate an affected area by Ravens-wood primary school. He was not impressed! The entire area had been turned to dust/mud depending on the weather.

He was also very unhappy at dropped kerbs which had been installed to help parents with buggies being used by vehicles to get onto the grass – not the idea.

Most verges are owned by the council who are expected to repair the damage with all of us local ratepayers covering the cost. Strangely it is not currently illegal to park a vehicle on the verge (unless there are parking restrictions on the associated road).