Thursday, 8 April 2010


Puzzled motorists are struggling to park along Westcliff seafront after the council put in confusing new markings.

The diagonal parking spaces along the central reservation of Western Esplanade have been changed from facing the traffic to facing away from oncoming cars.

This means drivers are forced to drive past the space and reverse back into it.
Not something that’s going to be popular…
Thorpe Bay resident Barry Linton raised the issue with two councillors when the first few spaces were marked out as he thought it must have been a mistake.
Which was a reasonable assumption, given local councils. But no.

It seems this is a H&S issue:
But the council says the new layout actually makes it safer to leave a parking space, although bosses have admitted the new system will cause extra delays.
And who cares about delays, when there are lives at stake?
Mr Linton said: “I went along the seafront on Sunday to see what effect it was having and it was utter chaos.

“People can’t see when a space is free, so stop suddenly and have to reverse back into the traffic to get into the space.

“The correct way is when you can drive nose in to a space, as at Lakeside. As you leave the space you have a clear rear view of the road, but as it is now you have to pull forward and look right over your left shoulder to see if anything is coming. It’s dangerous.”
Now, councils, when tackled by residents over unpopular decisions, can fall back on two options (three, if you count simply ignoring the council tax payers altogether: Claim that the complaints are wrong, or whine that it's out of their hands, and they are obeying a higher order.

No prizes for guessing what they choose:
He first contacted the council on March 25 via former councillor David Garston, who passed it to his son, ward councillor Jonathan Garston and also to councillor responsible for transport and planning Anna Waite.
Oh. Her again.
But Mrs Waite said yesterday the altered spaces now conform to Department for Transport guidelines and that drivers should reverse into the spaces.
Or else?
She said: “The new layout is what the department recommends. The previous layout contributed to a number of accidents, so officers tell me, and was clearly dangerous as people were reversing out into oncoming traffic.

I understand some people will not be happy. It may slow up traffic marginally, but with every car backing in to the space it will not make a great deal of difference to motorists.”
And if it does, well, so what? It’s not like they pay to use the roads, is i…


Predictably, war is breaking out in the comments between those who think this is a great idea and everyone should just shut up and accept the will of their masters in the Town Hall, and those who think it a little unreasonable for the people who we pay to tidy the flower beds and take away the rubbish to think they can alter things for the worse without there being some sort of consultation about it....


Furor Teutonicus said...

"Reversing into a main flow of traffic" is illegal. So the council are in the right.

Except it means, to enter the space, you will be "reversing into a main flow of traffic".

So WHERE ius the H&S benefit?

If they don't catch you coming, they will catch you going.

Furor Teutonicus said...

Email follow-up comments to ~#*µ$§ß

Longrider said...

In general, they are correct; it is safer to reverse in and drive out as reversing out means that for a significant part of the manoeuvre, you are blind to the traffic on the road.

However, with angled parking spaces, driving in and reversing out is the safer as you have a better view of the road when reversing than driving out. And, as one of the complainants pointed out, you can see the spaces more readily on the approach. Obvious, really...

Pavlov's Cat said...

It’s not like they pay to use the roads

Only if you mean like everyone else by general taxation.

Sorry you caught me with my pedants hat on.

The Road Tax has been no such thing since 1936 it is Vehicle Excise Duty and is a tax on owning a car that is all and to be able to drive it legally on public roads if available.

However Govt's started raiding the ring fenced Road Fund Tax pot earlier than this even as they realised all this lovely money was just sitting there. (much like National Insurance)

Although successive Govts have been quite happy for people to continue to think their 'Road Tax' goes on maintaining the roads, when in fact it goes into the the big pot and can be spent on whatever they want.

There is no obligation on Govt to spend any of it on roads (and mostly they don't)

Pedrant over

Furor Teutonicus said...

But Excise IS tax....?

Are the two words not synonymous?

"Her Majesties department of customs and excise" WAS, or is now, the Tax office. I thought.

Anonymous said...

I reckon you are less likely to have an accident if you reverse in, and drive out.

When you are arriving at a parking spot, you are in the best position to know about the dispositions of the other vehicles on the road. And they are in the best position to be fully aware of your intentions, and leave enough room for you to reverse in. You have right of way.

If you are reversing out, you are backing blindly into oncoming traffic, with no right of way, and any accidents are attributable to you.

Furor Teutonicus said...

The total coward "Ann on a mouse" at 8 April 2010 18:52.

You have a touching faith in the lack of idiocy inherent in drivers.

But then maybe you live in Toy town, and go to work on Thomas the tank engine, where NOTHING could EVER possibly go wrong?

JuliaM said...

"If they don't catch you coming, they will catch you going."

Oh, indeed!

"Obvious, really..."

To anyone with a brain. But Big Daddy Gov hath spake...

"There is no obligation on Govt to spend any of it on roads (and mostly they don't) "

The potholes at the end of my road attest to that!

""Her Majesties department of customs and excise" WAS, or is now, the Tax office. I thought."

Correct. Another of Brown's great ideas was to merge HM Customs (VAT, Excise and anti-smuggling) with the Inland Revenue (tax). This created a vast, monolithic organisation at odds with itself.

A friend works there, and tells me all sorts of horror stories...

JuliaM said...

"And they are in the best position to be fully aware of your intentions, and leave enough room for you to reverse in. "

Hmmm, yes. As FT points out, the standard of driving in the UK rather gives the lie to that!