Monday, 2 March 2009

Stokes Croft Roadworks

We are graced with new roadworks on Stokes Croft, removing the right turn from Jamaica Street, and the left turn from Stokes Croft to City Road. It will improve safety -eventually. But what of the process itself?

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?
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.


Chris Hutt said...

Brilliant work BT. Couldn't be more topical.

I've had a really subversive idea. What if BCC were to write it into their contracts that contractors must obey traffic regulations and not obstruct footways and cycle lanes unless unavoidable?

Then if evidence is available that contractors have failed to meet their contractual obligations, as here, BCC can withhold payment and save the tax payer some money.

SteveL said...

Don't know about that. They could just be reported to BPS or something, comes out of their own pockets then, doesn't it?

Jon Rogers said...

Thanks Steve and Chris

I am using this as a bit of a test case to see if the council is listening to these very legitimate concerns.

I have forwarded details both to the transport team and to the press office.

Keep up the good work!


mnpinkfloyd said...

Oh, this is easy. Get them to write it in their Method Statements and Risk Assessments concerning Health & Safety practice that they aren't allowed to park vehicles where they are likely to contribute to causing a potentially 'dangerous' situation which may lead to an accident. I have to write these all the time when clients hire us as principal contractor. Unless the guy was actually delivering heavy or bulky kit/supplies to the site and this was the only safe way to do it, he can be excused but should at least have hazard lights on.

But he's being lazy and is on double yellow lines as well. A quiet email to BCC should do the trick should it prove to be a problem. He can park legally elsewhere and walk. Even if he parks at a meter, he can put it on expenses like I have to (one job in The Strand cost me £20 in pound coins at a meter).

Ben S said...

Superb post - I saw someone taking photos of the chaos yesterday morning, and wondered if it was one of the intrepid Bristol Traffic team. Keep up the good work.

Bristol Traffic said...

@Ben-were you in a car? we have some more pics either side if you want a genuine B.T. placement!