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Diversion starts, thanks to Trek Highway Services Ltd

18 Jul

The sign says ‘diversion ends’, however for pedestrians the diversion onto the road in Ipswich to get round the signage and the vehicle is just starting. Putting signs across the pavement like this is thoughtless and unnecessary, and there are plenty of other ones in the area as you can see below. We can thank Trek Highway services Ltd this time.

Diversion ‘starts’ for pedestrians who now have to go into the road

I clearer some of the stuff away to allow pedestrians to get past. It then looked like this:

That’s better! Pedestrians can get through now

Here are a whole bunch of thoughtlessly placed signs in the area:

Possibly the sign should read ‘Pavement blocked’

Make it big so motorists can read it. Just tough for pedestrians really

Let’s put this sign right across the pavement!

Here is a better position for the sign

‘Trek highway services Ltd 01842 821991’

Re-deploying useless road signage

25 Jun

This morning I came across a couple of ‘pedestrians this way’ signs back to back that were performing no useful function and decided to move them to where they would at least warn pedestrians of cars obstructing the pavement.

‘Pedestrians this way’ signs getting in the way

Warning pedestrians of a car obstructing the pavement

A ‘pedestrians this way’ sign doing some good this time

I also came across and number of abandoned ‘no road markings’ signs. Given that there were a lot of very clear new road markings on the carriageway and that most of the signs had collapsed and were now lying flat across the pavement I moved them out of the way or put them somewhere sensible as appropriate.

This one is at least still standing

Ouch! imaging falling over that one.

Yes there are road markings!

On Nacton Road this time

On Ransomes Way

While re-deploying one of the ‘pedestrians this way’ signs I was challenged by a resident who said it was illegal to move signage and that he was going to phone the police. When I took out my camera to record the situation as evidence he said it was also illegal to take photos! Neither of these are illegal to my knowledge; he did however refuse to enter into a discussion about whether one of the cars beside which I had placed a sign had broken the law. It had: (Highway Code rule 145). I now need to wait to see if I get another visit from the police. If I do get a visit I will challenge as to what law I have broken and also about why they are no spending their time more usefully keeping the pavements safe for pedestrians. I will also remind them of their duty to act without ‘favour of malice’ and ask if they have even spoken to the person who still parks his Jaguar illegally obstructing local raised school crossing despite my regular reports of the problem.

Jaguar still parking on the raised crossing outside the school

I also moved a bunch of wheelie bins off the pavement any into people’s front gardens but that is another story.

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.

Getting the attention of MPs

23 Jan

On Friday I have a meeting with my local MP, Ben Gummer,where I made a presentation of the issues and their urgency and was pleased to get his support. He offered to provide a link to the campaign from his new website when it goes live in a ‘few weeks’ and to also draw it to the attention of Norman Baker, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport with responsibility for ‘sustainable travel’. All good stuff.

As it happened, Julian Huppert, MP for Cambridge was pressing Terrasa Villiers, Minister of State for Transport in on the issue of pavement parking in the Commons on the same day saying: “Could the law be adjusted so that the presence of a vehicle in a cycle path or on a footway be taken as evidence that it was driven there, rather than appearing magically, as seems to be assumed at the moment”. Unfortunately Villiers failed to acknowledge or respond to the request. This problem isn’t going to get fixed over night!

DPD Express Parcels demonstrated the issue to be convincingly outside my MP’s office by parking diagonally across the pavement for no reason and then trying to justify it.

DPD express parcel delivery across the pavement outside my MP’s office

And then as I left I came across this nice pair of signs positioned to cause as much trouble as possible including a road works sign which maintenance companies are apparently required to leave across the pavement.

Why obstruct the pavement with warning signs!

Traffic management … or illegal obstruction?

14 Nov

A company called Traffic Management Solutions Ltd were called out to fix some traffic lights in Cambridge yesterday. Clearly it is good to get traffic lights fixed, however… this was the start of a very sorry tale for one of our intrepid local ‘PL support officer’ who spotted the parking choice at 10:15am and then again 90 minutes later when they challenged the driver. Before I tell you what happened lets take a look a the choice of parking spot. Firstly one has to say that no, the vehicle was not in motion – indeed if one looks closely there is no one in it. The second thing to say is that no, the vehicle was not just parked here for 2 minutes. It was there for 90 minutes. It is of course on a junction partly across a pedestrian crossing at a junction on a bend on double yellow lines within the zig-zag lines of a pedestrian/cyclist crossing opposite a dropped kerb.

Neat parking!

Here is the aerial view. The vehicle position is shown in black, the pedestrian route in red.

Newnham junction vehicle location in black

Unfortunately the driver was not at all interested and indeed claimed a legal right to park there! Clearly there were very much safer opportunities nearby, indeed reversing 10 meters further back would have helped a lot. He then got very arsey about having photos taken and threatened to phone the police claiming that it was against the ‘Data Protection Act’. So far so bad.

Our ‘officer’ then phoned the police to discover what their view on this was. They did not seem very interested in the parking but did ask if the vehicle was going to be there much longer, in which case they might swing by. They did however confirm that the driver could indeed claim ‘harassment’ or ‘alarm and distress’ if the photographer was ‘distressing’ them. Given the relative size of the two people – the driver was much bigger – and the short time the discussion took, I don’t think that would hold up in court. Also, it is my understanding that it is only harassment if a ‘reasonably person’ would have been distressed which clearly was not the case.

Lets hasard as guess about what the driver was doing wrong.  According to the Highway Code Waiting and Parking rules:

Rule 238

You MUST NOT wait or park on yellow lines during the times of operation shown on nearby time plates (or zone entry signs if in a Controlled Parking Zone)

Rule 240

You MUST NOT stop or park on

  • a pedestrian crossing, including the area marked by the zig-zag lines (see Rule 191)

Rule 242

You MUST NOT leave your vehicle or trailer in a dangerous position or where it causes any unnecessary obstruction of the road.

Rule 243

DO NOT stop or park

  • opposite or within 10 metres (32 feet) of a junction, except in an authorised parking space
  • where the kerb has been lowered to help wheelchair users and powered mobility vehicles
  • on a bend
  • where you would obstruct cyclists’ use of cycle facilities

That seems clear then! Note that in the above rules are identified by the use of the words MUST/MUST NOT are legal requirements, and “if you disobey these rules you are committing a criminal offence. You may be fined, given penalty points on your licence or be disqualified from driving. In the most serious cases you may be sent to prison.”

The words ‘Do not‘ mean that it is not necessarily an offence, but “The Highway Code may be used in evidence in any court proceedings under the Traffic Acts (see ‘The road user and the law’) to establish liability. This includes rules which use advisory wording such as ‘should/should not’ or ‘do/do not'”.

So… I will now email Traffic Management Solutions Ltd and ask them politely to have a word with their drivers and encourage them to be a bit more considerate and aware of the law. The embarrassing thing for me is that it turns out that the company is based in my home town of Ipswich! Do we have a special driving test in this town? It feels as though this is just the start of a very long campaign!

The source of all those road-works signs on the pavement

2 Nov

I have recently posted about the nonsense of placing ‘road narrows’ signs and ‘road works’ signs across the pavement when it is clearly unnecessary and they only cause problems for pedestrians, especially those with buggies or wheelchairs etc. This evening I have come across the manual that appears to tell them to do it. It is the ‘Traffic Signs Manual‘.

Chapter 8 of this document is titled ‘Traffic Safety Measures and Signs for Road Works and Temporary Situations’. It has has lots of lovely general text about being aware of pedestrians and one specific requirement about the pavement never being narrowed to less than 1 metre. Here are the relevant sections:

  • D1.1.2 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)
  • D2.1.5 During the planning stage of road works schemes… attention must be paid to the needs of pedestrians. This applies especially in the vicinity of bus stops, shops, post offices, leisure facilities and day centres.
  • D4.4.1    Signs should be placed where they will be clearly seen and cause minimum inconvenience to drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and other road users alike, and where there is minimum risk of their being hit or knocked over by traffic. Where there is a grass verge the signs should normally be placed there. If no verge is present, the placing of signs on the footway is permitted but in no circumstances must the width of the footway be reduced to less than 1m, preferably not less than 1.5m.

Unfortunately the rest of the manual seems to require maintenance companies to place all sorts of signs on the pavement. For example, this diagram, which one finds replicated across the country, shows two signs on each approaches to the road works all of which are placed on the pavement. Nothing that I can see talking about using these signs with discretion, there is no discussion about what to do in situations where there are rows of parked cars and cars on the pavement and there is no suggestion that discretion and common sense should be used:

Road works layout

I don’t think that the authors considered these real life situations in our car littered towns. In this first example the road works are between two parked cars so the road is not actually narrowed, but the pavement certainly is!

I still can’t believe that someone would leave a sign here

In this second example the works are at a dead-end so the only people coming are going to be on foot!

Not so clever

An this final situation shows just how bonkers it can all get in the extreme. Notice that yet again the road is not actually narrowed at all, but the pavement is now completely unusable!

Yet another ‘road narrows’ sign, this time there is also a car to complete the picture

Delivering essential services…

27 Oct

May Gurney have been mending a leaking water main on Newbury Road in Ipswich today which is exactly what they say they do on their website: ‘Delivering the Essential Services for Everyday Life’. Who can complain about that? See if you can spot the problem. Answers below:

Not so clever

In the first picture notice: a) A nice helpful red ‘pedestrians this way’ sign showing people how to access the nice protected walkway along the road. Nothing wrong there and all super safe. However… notice b) a triangular ‘road works’ sign on the pavement blocking the pavement before one gets to the nice pedestrian sign. Then notice c) That this is a dead end road – it would be impossible for anyone in a car to read the nice helpful road works warning sign. Now notice d) That there are two more signs blocking the pavement on the other side of the road. Personally I think a pavement is an essential service and I am sure they do too really.

When I first went past the workmen were there. I asked them to move the signs but they said they couldn’t. I returned later when they had left and the signs were still in the same position. A bit later I noticed that they had all been packed away neatly.

Excess signage seem to have gone

The excess signs are now safely stowed where they can cause no harm

Here is a view from the other direction

Now you see them

Now you don’t!

This isn’t the only problem we have had on Newbury road. Check out this earlier post about the same issue and the one about the vans parked on the pavement on the same road. I have also blogged about the new rules about not blocking dropped kerbs Of course those regulations don’t apply to ‘safety’ signage? Funny old world.

Is it really the law that they must block the pavement even when it is patently daft? I am going to email them now with a link to this blog and ask them. I will let you know what they say.


May Gurney have just written a very helpful reply which confirms that these companies appear to be required to lay out signage in this way as covered in my more recent post. I will take a look at the legislation mentioned in their response (below) and do anyone post in due course. Good on May Gurney for responding to us!

Here is what they say:

“Thank you for your recent communication regarding the use and positioning of temporary road signs.

“Firstly, may I assure you that the safety of both our workforce and that of other highway users is of paramount importance in any work that May Gurney carry out.

“To address your question regarding the legislation covering these type of works, we are bound by Section 65 of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 and Section 174 of the Highways Act 1980.

“I note from your blog that you are aware that positioning of the signs is dictated by reference to the Safety at Street Works and Road Works manual.

Update 2

I subsequent discovered that on no account should road works signage be positioned in such a way as to reduce the width of the footway to less than 1 meter (preferably not less that 1.5 meters). I didn’t measure the width remaining for these signs but it looks less than 1 meter to me.

Obstruction signs obstruct the pavement!

15 Oct

I have started noticing how ‘road narrowing’ warning signs get left on the pavement where they obstruct pedestrians! This is yet another excellent example of how pedestrian realm is taken over for the benefit of the motorist. How does that fit with the Disability Discrimination Act apart from anything else?

Here are a few examples. Note that in none of the case is the road actually being narrowed and that in first two cases there is a pedestrian trying to use the pavement who will be!

I still can’t believe that someone would leave a sign here

This next ones were on the approach to a primary school in Newnham in Cambridge. There are a total of four signs on a short lenght of pavement. Notice that the road-works are not actually even protruding beyond the parked cars.

Obstruction signs in Cambridge on the pavement as well

I say ‘were’ because they are now placed in more useful locations.

Should ‘road narrows’ signs actually be placed by parked cars?

Excess signage has been placed in ‘storage’ by the road-works themselves.

Excess signs

Excess signs have been moved into ‘storage’ by the road works themselves

Back in my home town I came across this one. There is no good reason for this sign not to be in the road which is where it now is!

Sign for motorists obstructs the pavement

Sign for motorists obstructs the pavement

Of course when one combines these cunning signs on the pavement with cars parked on the pavement then one can create complete chaos for pedestrians let alone anyone who is blind! This one is also in Ipswich.

Yet another ‘road narrows’ sign, this time there is also a car to complete the picture