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Bonkers Blog April 2015

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9 April (Part 4) - Bexley. An increasingly unpleasant place to be

Yesterday’s cabinet meeting had only two items on the Agenda. Schools and persecuting motorists. It should not be left without mention that the public area was laid out perfectly and someone with a clue about setting up sound systems had adjusted it to perfection, or was it just that everyone used the microphones properly? Another good thing was that it was all over in 52 minutes.

LeaderThe schools debate was basically a back-slapping exercise and not totally without reason. Bexley compares quite well under cabinet member John Fuller who does not waste time pursuing political vendettas. In several respects Bexley rates better than similar boroughs both locally and nationally. Unfortunately OFSTED dropped two schools from ‘Good’ to ‘Requires Improvement’ in the past year so there is still work to be done.

The proposal to use the CCTV cars for tracking errant motorists was first touted by councillor Peter Craske before his fall from grace and is back on the agenda because the spy cars can no longer be used against drivers who drop off a passenger for a few seconds and move on. The legislation allows the fixed CCTV system is to be diverted from crime prevention to revenue generation too. How long before Bexley does that? It should have been an interesting debate but it wasn’t. That is because there was no debate.

As usual the decision to spread more misery must have been made behind closed doors long ago or more likely came as a decree from the Great Dictator herself. Instead there was nine minutes of excuses, or rather the same public relations excuse repeated but dressed up in different ways.

Bexley’s Big Brother is to be given new powers not as a money making exercise but to “improve traffic flow and road safety”. If Bexley council had the slightest interest in traffic flow it wouldn’t have narrowed Abbey Road, or reduced the exit from Penhill Road from two lanes to one. Nor would we have seen the pinch points introduced to Bellegrove Road (see also the associated video) which have caused so many accidents.

I can’t honestly say I see a lot of bad driving in and around Bexley. Failure to stay in lane on roundabouts or direction indicate is too common but on the other hand Bexley council builds roundabouts where keeping in lane is impossible. Such offences are not as far as I can see subject to the new regime so maybe Bexley council won’t make as much money as it hopes but constant surveillance with malevolent intent is another step towards an unpleasant environment.

There is no real excuse for driving the wrong way up one-way streets or ignoring No Right Turn signs but expect to see an increasing number of U turn bans and cycle spaces at traffic lights. Because they are not universal they are easily overlooked. They should be good for a few quid.

Box junctions of which there are ten in Bexley are in a class of their own and frequently impossible to obey. I regularly negotiate one on a roundabout on the Newham Barking boundary and if I obeyed it totally when it is busy I would bring the whole of East London to a standstill.

You can’t see the far side exit and however clear you think it might be for a brief moment, someone will barge in from the left, ignoring the usual roundabout rules, and blocking your exit. I suspect that Newham drivers watch rather too many films and documentaries that remind them of home.

A list of enforcement sites has been created from the council’s provisional list.


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