Thursday, 14 May 2009

It's OK, I'm with the council

The SmartCar BJ03NFU caught our eye at 17:51 on a weekday, nestling under the trees on the yellow-lined build-out where Arley Hill meets Gloucester Road. Parking Services will have knocked off for the evening, but we should still add it to the dataset

Except look -whoever is driving it is still there, and wearing genuine Bristol Traffic Hi-viz clothing, for safe car driving. A closer look is needed.

After a quick discussion, it's clear that the car is apparently parked on the pavement with the permission of the police, and it has a piece of A4 paper in the windscreen to prove it.

Well, if all it takes is a hi-viz top and access to a colour printer to park on the pavement, we have just solved the parking problems of Bristol. Or at least Bristol Traffic!


BikerChick said...

I think it's the same peeople who do pretty much the same thing most week days just outside UWE (Coldharbour lane).

Without fail they always manage to park on the green spaces/pavements to get a good view of the traffic. Of course they have to drive over the pavements, oncoming traffic and bike lanes to get to the places they hike out!

SteveL said...

we welcome photos of vehicles parked there too -which would be in S. Gloucs, so probably a different vehicle

Dru Marland said...

there's a coincidence. I photographed this same scene at 10:00 yesterday morning.

SteveL said...

It clearly is a traffic data collection exercise. However, those of us who work in datacentre-scale applications abhor manual experiments like this, as they don't scale, they don't collect months of statistics. Why not just set the CCTV that overlooks this junction to do the logging? Park a car on Arley hill with a bluetooth logger like mine in the boot and leave it there for a month? Manual logging is inefficient and leads to bad decisions.

Chris Hutt said...

Motorists might well think "if it's OK for the Council to park on the pavement, well so can I". And so pavement parking is legitimised and encouraged by our Council that professes to be so concerned about encouraging cycling and walking. Should I be surprised?

SteveL said...

-its bad for pavements
-if the council traffic people won't embrace cycling and walking, who else will.
-what were they logging? Bikes running the lights?

The driver did say "they'd cleared it with the police". This is something to check up. And there is that phone number on the piece of paper.

Chris Hutt said...

I think this is an example of unintended consequences, like hazard lights being used to excuse illegal parking or seat belts resulting in more dangerous driving.

The Smart car initially appears less intimidating than most other cars but this leads to it being considered more acceptable for it to be parked on the pavement.

inspectorbaz said...

Nice half bonded flagging. Im sure the pavement can take the wait of that smart car. What would say if the council did use CCTV cameras to monitor traffic flows, privacy issues etc. You cant have it both ways.

SteveL said...

1. its not so much the weight of the vehicle as the way that what was a widened pavement is now just extended parking.

2. the council is using CCTV for traffic monitoring on whiteladies road, TfL tracks movement with Oystercards, then there is the mobile phone companies. Then there is the C-zone charging in london, and the ANPR network across the M-ways.

What that means is there already is an infrastructure for monitoring traffic movements, except it is either not being analysed, or it is being done for crime/terrorism purposes, rather than traffic planning. And it has happened without any public debate. As someone who works in datamining infrastructure, my main issue is "nobody will give me this data", forcing me to do my own collection experiments involving bluetooth scanning of passing phones. Which already gives me better data on pedestrian movements over a six month period than having one person parking on a pavement for an evening can collect.