Thursday, 25 June 2015

RPZ comes to Monty: Oh the Inhumanity!

  • First they came to Kingsdown, and everyone celebrated.
  • Then they came to Cotham, and nobody complained
  • Then they came to Redland, and the main complaints were from people just outside the zone.
  • They they came to St Pauls, and people were upset about the cost, rather than the parking
  • Then they came to Clifton and the shopkeepers who wanted to drive to work were more focused on their convenience than the revenue gains on having customer parking, they paid for tanks to make their point, still lost —and now have signs up everywhere saying "30 minute parking is free, please come and shop despite all the horror stories we put out"

And now: Monty

It's fascinating to see how the Evening Post has finally managed finda an agenda they can get people even in the inner city to care about. Up till now, what the BEP wrote about was irrelevant. Like who cares about congestion in Westbury on Trym or what's happening in Stapleton.

No more. Instead they've managed to stir up horror stories and build a whole agenda which everyone wanting to be elected as a mayor is using as their core election theme.

It's almost as if the paper has found a way to stay relevant in an era of free news over the internet.

Well, unlike the Evening Post we've spent time in Montpelier and have a dataset going back years. On a road-by-road basis, such as Richmond Road.

This is what it used to look like

A road where the pavement was exclusively used for parking, yet still so tight that only the bold drove down it.

If you were, say, trying to walk your kids to school, you'd be in the same roadway, keeping a tight rein on your four year old in case they ran ahead and ended up under an oncoming van or a car pulling out from their parking space on that pavement.

It was essentially a "shared space"

Yet look now? Someone has painted double yellow lines up one entire side of it! You can now drive up this road without fearing for your paintwork!

Incredibly, you don't have to commit to that journey hoping you wont meet anyone coming the other way —as if that did happen, one of you would be reversing up a road so tight that you had to get it spot on or hear a scraping sound.
  1. It is now possible to drive up and down Richmond road safely.
  2. It is now possible to walk up richmond road on the pavement, and even send a small child to run ahead of you without worrying about it being run over.
  3. It is now trivial to for a car and a bicycle to pass.
That is what the RPZ has brought to Montpelier: not just white lines, not just yellow lines —but pavements people can use.

Anyone who says "its destroying Montpelier" clearly has a vision of the area where nobody walked, where scenes of two drivers out their car shouting at each other as to who was going to reverse were viewed as quaint traditions.

And what does the Evening Post do? Rather than highlight how it has now become safer to walk or cycle, how it has become more convenient to drive through, they've pointed to the yellow paint that someone has thrown onto the ticket machine at (00:48). That's the machine on the pavement which was never visible before.

And while the BEP condemn the vandalism, they don' t really, they are proud to report it —and blame the mayor for making the protesters do it.

So for all this "evening post represents the people" fuss they are really fighting to preserve a time when pavements were for parking and children couldn't walk round Montpelier safely.

Why should we, the residents of the inner city care? We are just being mislead by a paper that is happy to manufacture controversy, and happy to find it in the lives of people who are unable to adapt to change. Tough.

At this point the RPZ-haters will be going "So where did the cars go, eh?" The answer there is: the council added extra parking spaces round the corner by marking St Andrews Road for echelon parking.

In this photo you can just about make out a car coming up behind the parked van blocking the view. Which highlights the issue with echelon parking: its got a higher collision rate, and is particularly bad for cyclists.

In order to make the RPZ rollout less controversial, the council chose to make cycling on St Andrews Road more hazardous.

That's something for the haters to consider.


tattooed toff said...

Great article. We have had RPZ for year now in Cliftonwood and the quality of life is so much higher.

bsk said...

Well said. Definitely couldn't have articulated it as well as you did.

Already we (on the bit above the footbridge - Hurlingham Rd, et al) are feeling the knock on effect with the displaced cars and seldom used vans moving into our streets. We're planning to petition BCC for our area to be included in the RPZ at some stage.

Unknown said...

Just received a leaflet here in St George for the "2015 Bristol RPZ and 20mph zone survey". You might be interested in the quality of question within.