Here is Jamaica Street at 09:32 this morning. The bike lane is occupied by a car W964XLG with driver -mate in shopping at the corner store- and a organic milk van making deliveries. Nothing unusual there.
Opposite is where it gets interesting. The right turn is closed, the northbound route gone, a place has been retained for pedestrians (see the sign "Pedestrians <-->" in the bottom right of the picture)
That pedestrian space is the ideal size and location for one of the contractor's cars, WR06NAA. We know it is one of theirs as they were fairly unhappy about someone taking photographs of it. Sadly, the right of Bristol Traffic to take photographs of any car in a public place we feel like and then index their registration number is another way that NuLabour is infringing on the that greatest of British freedoms, the right to park where you like. (Having attended the Bristol showing of the Convention of Modern Liberty this weekend, it was disappointing to see that this freedom was not discussed at all. Given the organisers had also turned down our offer to talk on the infrastructure of a modern datacentre state, we had nothing to do but entertain ourselves by helping code the Apache Hadoop datamining infrastructure during the sessions. )
In theory, Jamaica street has a width of 2.5 Motor Vehicle Widths (MVWs). The car in the bike lane drops that to 1.5 MVWs; the contractor's car half-on-the-pavement subtracts another 0.5 MVWs. This leaves 1.0 MVWs, which is not enough for two lanes of traffic.
What does this mean? It means that the van turning right off Stokes Croft is going to get stuck.
Nobody is happy about this. The Mercedes is trying to get out the way to avoid being scraped, the van is sounding its horn, there is a tailback of turning vehicles to the left of the picture, and everyone is getting upset. Except for the gentleman sitting serenly in his ford fiesta. He must be listening to radio 3 or something else serene.
What to do?
- The bike lane there needs to be marked as no parking at all, perhaps enforcement even of loading/short stay rules, at least for the proposed five weeks of work.
- Contractors need to be told to stop parking here. If they want to park on double lines, they should know about Dove street and Nine Tree Hill, where they won't make the junction any worse. They are only round the corner, it won't add more than 200 metres of walk to the day's schedule. Parking over the dropped kerb of the only open pedestrian crossing in the area is not a good contribution to the area.
- Contractors should be advised that it is legal to take photographs of pretty-much anything in a public street, and that arguing about someone photoing their cars parked over a bike lane sign and double yellow lines is not going to have any effect other than to add copy to our articles.