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Bonkers Blog February 2014

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16 February (Part 1) - No parking. No answers

NoticeI try to read Bexley’s Legal Notices each week and find myself wondering how many years it will take for Mike Frizoni to extend yellow lines to all of Bexley’s 300 miles of roads. I never respond to the invitation to comment because I feel one needs local knowledge to do that and in any case I try very hard not to drive to any Bexley destination so I am unlikely to be affected.

This two week old notice made me think I should visit the Contact Centre to see what it was all about, but then along came BT Openreach who managed to trap me in the house for most of ten days - so it didn’t happen.

If I had to guess it might be that the roads are to be marked out with individual bays. I do see some dreadfully inefficient parking around Abbey Wood station.

When one of my associates asked why parking restrictions were being introduced in a cul-de-sac and how many people had asked for it he was told no one had and it was for road safety reasons. No reported accidents either.

JobsworthIt seems more than likely that most parking restrictions come about through some Bexley jobsworth walking the streets and judging where extra restrictions might be slipped in. One of my correspondents thinks that is what happened near where he lives in Slade Green.

He wanted to know how the public objectors and approvers balanced out and who made the judgment between them. It reminded me of the weasel words I was sent when Abbey Road, Belvedere was butchered in 2009. No one approved and all the objections were overruled by councillor Peter Craske, cabinet member for Public Realm, before the police caught up with him.

The response from Traffic Engineer Peter Nevard was just as evasive. He ignored the real question and just said there were comments for and against. So the balance between pros and cons is something we are left to guess at.

The scheme was signed off by cabinet member Gareth Bacon, that champion of free speech who twice threatened Nicholas Dowling when he asked permission to record a meeting chaired by his wife.

There is no reference to objectors in Bacon’s decision except that they should be notified. Without local knowledge I am in no position to make a judgment on the correctness of the decision, only that the refusal to give any figures relating to comments received may be noteworthy; but I am stunned by Bacon’s reference to “efficient movement of traffic”. That’s exactly what his predecessor Craske didn’t do when he wrecked the B213 through Belvedere. And it’s not what anyone at Bexley council has tried to do throughout the borough. Narrowing and blocking operations have been ten a penny but I struggle to think of any noticeable improvements.


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