Archive | road works RSS feed for this section

#mayguerney – ignorance, or simply contempt for pedestrians?

23 Feb

May Gurney have excelled themselves this time. It is not uncommon for them to obstruct pavements illegally, but they normally leave more than the 640mm they did yesterday to the right of the first sign in this picture, followed by 950mm to the left of a second one. Neat to make pedestrians weave one way and then the other. Why? did they not think, or don’t they actually care? Needless to say, both of these leave less than the mandatory 1m and advisory 1.5m of pedestrians.

Image

I have emailed the company, explaining that I have removed the first sign into storage for health and safety reasons. Given how ineffective emails have been in the past, I have also suggested that they refund my costs, which I have calculated at £5 for the email and £5 per week, or part thereof for storage. I have reminded them that they also own me £1 for a phone call made to Anglian Water when they blocked another nearby pavement some time back. I have offered to give the money to Living Streets, and suggested that they can make a cheque out to that organisation if they prefer.

No idea if this will wake them up, but emails, complaints and blog-posts alone have achieved absolutely nothing over the past 2 years.

Update

Fyi, I have received no reply at all to my email telling them about their sign being in storage. The sign continues to rot beside my garage. By my calculations storage costs after 6 months stand at £100 with £6 administration totalling £106.00.

I think I will write to them one more time and then reuse/recycle the sign if they apparently have no further use for it!

 

Welcome to Ipswich!

15 Mar

I am sorry to write such a direct post about my town, but I have being blogging on this subject for 18 months and during that time have had numerous conversations with just about everyone in authority locally, including the police, Councillors, council officers and my MP and absolutely nothing appears to have changed, if anything, a minority of motorists are getting even bolder and are parking further onto the pavement. During this time I have also become aware of the sheer number of different obstacles encountered in a small area. Do remember however that all is not lost, far from it. We are getting on the case and our job is to keep highlighting the issue in a way that the authorities can not keep ignoring and one day someone who is in a senior authority position will finally get enough courage and confidence to grab the issue and deal with it effectively.

There are many examples of where issues have suddenly been addressed after years of neglect. I believe that for years the French authorities accepted much higher levels of road deaths than occurred in the UK, until the son of the minister of transport? was killed in a traffic collision, Since that event the authorities have been having considerable success with a campaign to bring the figures down (I can’t now find a reference to this – can anyone confirm it). The French are currently introducing numerous additional road safety initiatives and produce particularly hard hitting information campaigns. It is also encouraging how cyclist safety has finally been getting very powerful media support from new sources, notably from The Times. The next step for this campaign might be when a major national newspaper to takes up the pedestrian cause in a big way with clear campaign demands.

Until something changes we need to continue to bring pressure and information to those in power who will one day realise that they just have to address it and that there is considerable support from people to address it. Until then I will continue to draw attention to the issue. To that end, here are a few examples of what pedestrians around my area have had to put up over the past 48 hours!

First off, there is the Tesco delivery truck this morning. The driver said that he had received no guidance at all on where it was acceptable to park and where it wasn’t (not that I believe that really, possibly it is more a matter of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell‘). The driver was parked so far up onto the pavement today that I could hardly get past at all without being scratched by the prickly hedge; the local guy in his wheel-chair would have no chance. As usual there was a space for the driver to park on the other side of the road, but that would have increased his drop-off time by, ohhh, possibly at least a minute and we all know that for Tesco ‘every penny counts’!

Tesco delivery - no space between van and prickly hedge

Tesco delivery – no space between van and prickly hedge

Next up, we have a delightful combination of bin day and road works. The road signs from May Guerney do at least leave the legally required 1m clearance this time, but unfortunately they create a chicane for pedestrians when combined with the bins that have been left scattered as usual across the pavement by the council making it impossible for my wheelchair-bound neighbour to use the pavement. Possibly he should just stay at home on bin-day? Or possibly the council should instruct their staff to return bins onto drive-ways where they are available and road-works signs should only be used where they are actually required for safety reasons!

Bin day and road works. No chance after council have littered pavements with bins!

So now we move the the next street where the bin collectors have left the bins neatly scattered across the pavement next to the cars which was also oh-so-elegantly up on the pavement making the pavement completely unusable. The bin-collector I spoke to was unapologetic and indicate that he was completely happy with how they had been left. His parting comment was ‘it is a kerb-side collection, not a garden collection’ which was clever of him! As regular readers will know I have been banging on to the local council about their bin collection policies for months now with no apparent effect.

Bins left on pavement by council and cars on pavement. No chance!

More bins and another car up on the pavement

Finally, we have a new ‘dropped pavement’ being constructed nearby. The council refer to them as ‘dropped kerbs’, but using the current design they lower the pavement on a slope across the whole width of the pavement. I have previously requested that they keep the majority of the pavement level as they used to in the past.

A new dropped-pavement being constructed – more sloping pavement to deal with.

And here is the result. And to illustrate the slope, I place the football at the curtilage (where the pavement joins the property) and watched it roll across the ‘pavement’ into the carriageway before settling in the gutter. Not helpful for wheelchair and buggy users. Do also notice the road-works sign (see below).

Sloping ‘pavement’, ball rolls into road

Finally, just past this dropped kerb I came across a road-works sign left illegally with less than legal minimum 1m space required for pedestrians. Given that I had discussed this issue with the person from the Nation Grid Gas only yesterday, and given that the road-works were highly visible, I have now removed the sign into safe keeping joining the sign from Mervyn Lambert which has still not been collected incidentally. As usual I will now email their marketing people and let them know that they can come and collect it from me.

Illegally positioned sign by the National Grid

Update

Almost at the exact moment that I pressed ‘post’ on this blog post my MP, Ben Gummer, contacted me indicating that he was going to work on the issue and was on-side. Very good news.

On a more irritating note I jumped through a bunch of not very clear hoops to get an email address for National Grid Gas from their website, but when I sent my email to that address I was told that it was no longer valid – at least they had the decency to automatically forward to the new addrress. They do also seem to be having a bit of bother with the word ‘correspondence’. “This email address is no longer valid. Your email has been forwarded to the correct address of Northampton.enquiries@uk.ngrid.com. Please use this as the correspondance address for future reference.

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!

Mervyn Lambert Traffic Management – ‘a safer method of Traffic Management’

25 Feb

Traffic Management explain on their website that they offer ‘a safer method of Traffic Management’ – curious, given that they have almost completely blocked a pavement in Ipswich with motorist diversion signs forcing pedestrians into the road. These signs leave about 300mm of width of the pavement, which is less than half that of a typical 2′ 6″ internal doorway in a house and far less than the absolute minimum of 1 meter required by law. I phoned their emergence number this morning (which was helpfully printed on the back of one of their signs) and asked them to move them in the next few hours. Lets see what happens. (see below for update – very impressive response time and attitude – thank you).

400mm for pedestrians

400mm for pedestrians

A convenient place to leave a sign

A convenient place to leave a sign

Update

OK, so they had an ’emergency phone number’, they answered it promptly, and then moved the signs within 2 hours (including driving all the way from Diss)! I met the guy on-site who was very helpful and supportive. We also had a useful discussion about some of design defects of current road works signs which will be the subject of another post soon. Thank you Mervyn Lambert. Needless to say the purpose of calling them out was to remind them in a very clear way that they need to get this sort of thing right in future, so lets just hope they get the message and have a word with the guy who plonked the sign down so thoughtlessly across the pavement in the first place costing the company 3 hours in staff time and 50 miles in a company van.

May Gurney – if at first you don’t succeed….

15 Jan

Taking the advice of the old saying which goes “if at first you don’t succeed then try, try and try again” I have again confiscated some of May Gurney’s signs  after finding them illegally blocking the pavement (signage must always leave 1 meter clear for pedestrians). As always when I remove their signs like this I email marketing@maygurney.co.uk and tweet using the twitter handle (@maygurney) and invite them to come and collect them.

We are making slow progress though. There was no obvious effect to my complaint in October 2010 – we exchanged friendly emails but nothing changed, and then when I confiscated two illegally positioned signs a year later I didn’t even get any response at all beyond the standard automated email acknowledgement. Only after I had removed a 2nd set of dangerously positioned signs did I finally get an email and phone response promising action. They also arranged to collect the four signs that I had in storage for them by that time.

Unfortunately they are still blocking pavements so we need to keep going a little longer! In this latest incident notice that:

  • the road works themselves are almost entirely on private property and hardly intrude onto the pavement, let along onto the carriageway which is not affected at all (so there is no logic to warning motorists of a narrowing road)
  • the signs are causing far more inconvenience to pedestrians than the road works themselves (even before one of the collapsed).
  • oh yes, and notice that the other pavement is blocked as usual by a car, so that pavement is not easy to use either.

Two signs ilegally obstructing the pavement

Ipswich Borough Council blocking pavements with roadworks signage

17 Oct

Ipswich Borough Council staff are disrupting pedestrians near to road works by leaving signs on pavement with only 800mm clearance (which is about the width of an external door to a house and less than the legally required 1 meter for road works signs). Only when pressed did they confirm that they knew the law about 1 meter clearance. Their justification was that they were concerned about the risk to motorists if the signs were further into the road – no concern at all that I heard about the risk to pedestrians and old people from leaving them on the pavement. I have reported this on fixmystreet which the council monitors and responds to.

Here are some photos of the signs in question. The good news is that there is a 100% clear rule that they are breaking in this case. No excuses about it being a ‘necessary obstruction’ or a ‘willful obstruction’. It is however a very clear example of the contempt that pedestrians are treated with and is, I am sure, repeated across the country. Incidentally I am still waiting for May Gurney to ask for their signs backwhich they left blocking a pavement over a week ago!

Only 800mm for pedestrians

Only 800mm for pedestrians

Making the pavement even narrower (less than the legal 1 meter as well)

Making the pavement even narrower (less than the legal 1 meter as well)

Blocking the pavement illegally and useless due to parked car!

Blocking the pavement illegally and useless due to parked car!

Damaged sign, no sandbag, on pavment across dropped kerb by local shop

Vehicle sign blocks access to pedestrian walkway for disabled

Update

The following day all consideration of pedestrians had disappeared.

No consideration for pedestrians at all the next day

May Gurney again

9 Oct

May Gurney are continuing to leave signs blocking the pavement with less that the legal minimum of 1 meter for pedestrians. In the past I have emailed the company to complain and have also occasional repositioned them to legal positions.

Section D1.1.2 of chapter 8 of the Traffic Signs Manual states that ‘ Road works on or near a carriageway, cycleway or footway might impair the safety and free movement of vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians (particularly those with mobility and visual impairments)‘. Section D4.4.1 says that  ‘in no circumstances must the width of the footway be reduced to less than 1m, preferably not less than 1.5m’.

I spotted some more signs yesterday right across a pavement close to my home used by disabled people and parents with young children. Neither of these signs left 1 meter clear and they were causing more inconvenience  that the road works themselves. I contacted the Water Board for whom they were working and asked them to get May Gurney to move them within 24 hours. When May Gurney didn’t do this I removed them into safe storage to avoid injury to pedestrians and emailed the company to request that they phone me to arrange for their collection.

Illegal road works signage (again)

Another illegal (and useless) sign

Update

No response to my email after 48 hours. I am now sending out a tweet that includes @maygurney to see if that gets a response.