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Winter stories and toilets

16 Feb

Just spotted this grit-bin plonked down across a pavement by Hampshire County Council. Shame that they couldn’t find anywhere for it which wasn’t blocking the pavement for buggy and wheel-chair users, especially as they had been to the effort to create a dropped kerb. The hedge could do with a trim as well.

Grit bin obstructing most of the pavement

Back in Ipswich, I spotted Ipswich Borough Council doing more repairs to the local pavements which is good, however I can’t help thinking that they could have organised the barrier around their roller and portable toilet a bit better. To their credit they did adjust it to reduce the problem after I had taken the picture, but why wait for someone to point it out? They continue to leave signs illegally obstructing the pavements, but that isn’t news any more so I will leave the pictures this time.

Workmens’ ‘stuff’ obstructing pavement whilst, err.. renovating pavements

Talking about toilets, I recently also spotted this portable-toilet/van which now regularly left parked half-way across the pavement in a nearby residential area. Do these companies check where their staff are going to park them before suggesting that they take them home?

Highway Maintenance toilet parked across pavement

New free car park now ‘open’

26 Apr

Some time back I blogged about an unusual sign which seemed asked drivers to park off the pavement while it was being resurfaced. The sign didn’t seem to question the cars’ right to be there. The good news (for motorists who park on that particular pavement) is that the work is now complete and the pavement is again available for parking. The bad news (for everyone else) is that we all paid for this work through general council tax which was only necessary because the cars had broken the slabs and we still can’t use the pavement easily cos of all the cars parked across it! Incidentally, on this particular street it isn’t practical for wheelchair users to use the road because of all the speed humps.

Here are a couple of photos. The first was taken after the work on this part of the pavement was complete, the second was taken during the works showing cars, signs and bins obstructing the pavement. Why can’t the workmen leave their signs on the road!

Cars back on the new pavement

Cars, signs and bins all causing problems

Do vehicles damage pavements. Err… yes they do big time

26 Mar

Some time back I reported about the huge cost of repairing pavements around the country (some £234m per year across the country). Since then I have been spending some time paying attention to the patterns of damage to pavements to see where the damage is and if it can be attributed to vehicles. The answer is very clear, the damage is coming from vehicles, particularly from heavy vehicles. Strangely this is the only class of vehicles which is specifically allowed to park on the pavement to load/unload. Paved pavements are particularly vulnerable.

This first photo shows a totally destroyed pavement on a local industrial estate that I visited recently. Notice the new asphalt pavement on the other side of the road.

Totally destroyed pavement

Here is another view. There are only two intact paving slabs on the entire path and these are around the base of the lamp post. I suggest that vehicles are avoiding that section of pavement.

Another view. The paving slabs next to lamp post are in good condition

And then I spotted this entrance across a pavement that was generally in very good condition. Notice the broken slabs just where a vehicle’s wheels would be putting pressure.

The pavement is only damaged where vehicles cross it

On my way home I spotted this a cement mixer lorry up on a pavement. This is actually completely legal; the 1980 Road Traffic Act gave vehicles over 7.5 tonne dispensation to park on the pavement to load and unload if this ‘could not have been satisfactorily performed if it had not been parked on the footway or verge’. (Section 19 and 20)

A heavy cement lorry up on the pavement

Please find alternative parking…

25 Mar

It is amazing how far pavement parking has permeated British culture. I spotted this sign yesterday which put a smile on my face. Is it saying ‘please get off the pavement that you broke for long enough for us to fix it so that you can carry on parking there‘ or is it saying ‘please don’t park on the road next to the pavement because we need unimpeded access to the pavement‘? Clearly it isn’t doing much good whatever it means as there are still cars all over the pavement.

Please find alternative parking…

Needless to say, the sign is blocking most of the pavement leaving only 950mm for pedestrians so as not to impede the more important vehicular ‘traffic’. I moved it out into the road far enough for wheelchair users and buggies to get past more easily.

A curious passer-by asked what I was doing. When I explained she told me that she worked for highways at the borough council and confirmed that pavement parking was a big, expensive and messy problem for them.

Repairing pavements again and again?

28 Feb

Some time back I reported that Cambridge County Council estimated that pavement parking caused £3m in damage every year. Suffolk council recently replaced a load of damaged paving along a residential street in Ipswich. In this photo first photo you can see a section of cracked and damaged paving slabs, then there is a section of new paving and…  wait for it… yes, there it is, a car back on the pavement on new paving.

Damaged paving, repaired paving and… a car back on the paving

And here is a close up. Notice that nearly every paving slab has been replaced on both sides of the road on the row of slabs closest to the carriageway where the vehicles wheels go. All the ones closest to the gardens are ok.

A close up of a car back on the repaired paving

£234m repair bill for damage to pavements by illegal parking

3 Jan

Cambridgeshire County Council estimates that the cost of repairing damage to pavements from illegal parking amounts to £3 million each year. Based on the population of Cambs this comes out at about £234 million per year for the country. This does not cover the cost of policing, installing bollards and other devices to stops vehicles parking illegally or the cost of compensation claims for trips and falls caused by this damage.

So.. when the motoring organisations complain about the £300m raised by councils from parking fines each year one can remind them that this only just pays for the damage caused to the pavements without considering the cost of collection!

Damaged pavement – photo by Alan Stanton

Broken pavement – Poynton Road London N17 Photo Alan Stanton

Broken pavement – Park View Road N17 – Photo Alan Stanton