‘No pedestrian/wheelchairs/buggies’ signs were put up in a street in Norwich and in Ipswich this morning together with ‘inconsiderate parking‘ notices on some cars. In Ipswich we also chalked the space left for pedestrians in mm onto the pavement. Parents and children on their way to school enjoyed the joke and supported our aims. The local papers turn up in both towns and people were happy to have their pictures taken and to do interviews. The local police sergeant in Ipswich was very supportive as it is an issue they find particularly intractable. Some signs were ripped down and one motorist tried to remove the chalk mark from the pavement. All in all it was a great success, lets see if the articles get printed now.
This first photo is of parents with the photographer outside a primary school in Ipswich next to the signs.
This next one is of a ‘no pedestrians’ sign in Norwich where the driver has left a 25mm gap for pedestrians! More photos were taken by the local paper and people were interviewed for the Norwich paper.
Here is an example of the width remaining being chalked onto the pavement. This needs proper ‘pavement chalk’, the thinner chalk I used was not up to the job really
And finally, here is someones attempt to rub out the news that they had left only 700mm for pedestrians! In some places signs were also ripped down – note for next year, use screws and create use aluminum-backed signs.
All round a success and one we can repeat in the future. Hopefully we will also get a good response from the papers. Just to reinforce the importance of what we are doing, there was an article in a local Blackpool paper yesterday alerting people to the dangers of pavement parking. Carole Holmes, a local campaigner for the visually impaired explained: “This is a growing concern for all visually impaired people because it is getting worse, we can’t drive so we have to use the pavements to get to the bus stops we use and should be able to get there safely.”
All too often the motorist parking across a pavement is placed in the role of being the victim by the local media as they were in this recent case in Aylesbury. To start with lets look that the language used in the article that appeared in the Bucks Herald yesterday. The title includes the words ‘victim’ and ‘vow’. As a reality check a victim is defined as being “an unfortunate person who suffers from some adverse circumstance” or “a person who is tricked or swindled“. A vow is defined as “A solemn promise to perform some act, or behave in a specified manner, especially a promise to live and act in accordance with the rules of a religious order“. Heavy stuff! Here are these unfortunate ‘victims’ as they appeared in the local paper.
The article then goes on to talk about a ‘simmer parking dispute‘ and a ‘blitz‘ of penalty tickets and quotes one of the victims as saying that parking on the pavement is the ‘safest option‘ and that ‘obstructing a pavement is not as bad as obstructing the road‘.
Finally the article goes on to give the facts which were that every resident had already received a warning letter, that the police were acting after complaints from people who were unable to use the pavements with wheelchairs and pushchairs and that the police claimed that there was plenty of space in the neighborhood to park legally.
So, what is the truth? Here are a couple of Google Street View images. The first one shows car parked well across the pavement in the area where the fines were given, the second shows that there is plenty of space about 250 meters further along the same road (click on images to access the Google Street View image in question).
Then of course there are the costs of this operation. Lets assume that the police handed out 20 tickets at £30 each. That will raise £600 for the government. What is the cost of this operation and what will be the cost of the appeal? I think we can with confidence say that it is more than £600, so another victim in all this is general tax-payer, and then there are the victims of the other incidents that the police have not able to attend to because of this storm in a teacup. I rest my case!