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Ipswich Borough council 1 Pavement grabbers 0

1 Aug

I am pleased to say that I spotted a warden from the borough slapping warning notices on bins that were being left permanently on the pavement today. He said that he had issued a total of 600 stickers today in various locations around town where complaints had been made and that he was expecting to receive about 60 phone calls tomorrow saying it wasn’t fair! He did say that in most cases it was an effective deterent, especially the bit about the £1,000 fine. He was however interested to hear that Preston Council were planning to confiscate bins from people who ignored the warning and charge a more modest £20 for their return.

Bins sporting nice new warning notices

And a close up of the notice.

Close up of notice – warning of £1,000 fine

Considerate Parking Initiative in Essex

30 Jan

A ‘Considerate Parking Initiative’ was started in Brightlingsea, Essex by a partnership of Essex Police, Tendring District Council, Brightlingsea Town Council and the Tendring Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership in December 2009.

Bogus parking tickets deliberately designed fool drivers, complete with the official logos and the right sort of plastic bag, were stuck onto the windscreens of vehicles which had been parked “inconsiderately”, but which didn’t break the law. The scheme won the ‘Living Streets Award’ and at the 2010 British Parking Awards and was extended in April 2010 and again in January 2010.

Inconsiderate Parking scheme launched

motorists – 2nd class citizens?!

27 Nov

Mr Herron from Sunderland has spent more than £100,000 of his own money campaigning to improve the status of motorists who he said had been treated as “second-class citizens” but didn’t convince the judge I am pleased to say.

He lost a court case where he claimed that the controlled parking zone in Sunderland city centre were too large and confusing for drivers and wanted the 39 penalty charge notices issued against him for parking on single yellow lines within the zone to be ruled unenforceable! 39 times? The markings must be very confusing or is this another case of willful ignorance? He also complained about “petty little bureaucrats”, “stealth taxes” and said he only wanted “fair enforcement” etc etc. He said that prohibitions in a controlled parking zone should only be enforced if every part of every road within the zone had been marked with either parking places, a single or double yellow lines.

Commenting on the Heron case, Paul Watters, head of transport policy at the AA said: “There is a need for greater clarity in the implementation of parking restrictions by councils across the country”. Paul Watters also recently suggested that every single dropped kerb should be marked with white paint to warn motorists not to park across them! For course the AA recently complained that fines for illegal parking should only cover the associated enforcement costs. Are the AA suggesting that fines should be massively increased to cover the cost of marking every dropped kerb and controlled parking zone in the country or is he expecting that cost to be also share out between motorists who already know the law and by non-motorists! I think I know the answer already.

Talking about democracy and fairness. I recently posted about how 88% of the ‘traffic’, ie the pedestrians, dropping kids of at a local primary school where on foot but only got 18% of the highway to use. Now that is 2nd class in by my recogning.

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….

Say thank you to a parking warden!

28 Jun

I was prompted to write this post after reading the sorry tale of ‘celeb’ Ingrid Tarrant’s outburst after being challenged by a police officer for parking in a bus stop; she drove off, resisted arrest and was convicted for ‘unnecessary obstruction, wilfully obstructing a Pc, resisting a Pc and failing to stop’ and was fined £2,700 with £1,200 costs. Not content with that she appealed, lost and received a further £750 costs yesterday. The appeal judge said “She has been able to persuade herself that she was in the right and the officer was in the wrong and that self-deception enabled her to believe what she had said.”

Personally I think that this ‘self-deception’ is behind the whole phenomenon; most motorists would probably grudgingly agree if challenged that without enforcement of parking regulations life in urban areas would quickly descent into chaos for everyone (including motorists), they would probably also agree that traffic wardens need to actually issue tickets and not respond to special pleading from every motorist who comes back to their car as they are issuing them.

The phrase ‘it’s a fair cop’ doesn’t seem to be considered to apply to parking offenses. If someone makes a racist remark or sexist remark it is likely to get challenged, but berating traffic wardens is still ok (just). Personally I think that change is coming and motoring culture is becoming a bit tired in many cities – possibly I am being optimistic, however people are starting to challenge this position, check out the ‘Traffic wardens are people too‘ article for further thoughts on the matter.

When I pass traffic wardens these days I say ‘thank you’ and appreciate them for doing a great job; and I have starting doing this more contentiously since being told by one warden that I was the first person who had ever thanked them for doing their job in their entire career! Isn’t that extraordinary – someone doing an important job (like police officers, nurses, firemen etc) but never ever get thanked for doing it.

I think that PL should do some more work on this at some point; in the mean time try saying ‘thank you’ next time you pass a traffic warden and see what happens. My experience is that they need a little convincing that one is even being genuine!