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Bonkers Blog April 2015

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10 April (Part 4) - Sidcup. Still annoying people. Not bad for £1·8 million!

When I visit Sidcup I am little more than a tourist passing through, never spending a bean or using any of the services. I am not a typical visitor and Sidcup residents tell me, not unreasonably, that I have little idea how bad things are there. There is no time to look at the new shop fronts which have impressed me if the priority is finding somewhere to park while dashing to the shops or even going there by bike.

So last Wednesday’s trip to Sidcup was provoked solely by a corresondent’s observations, and she was absolutely right. The following owes much to her comments.

The parking trap in Hadlow Road has become well known because of the initial absence of any restriction sign and the excessive number of penalty tickets so caused, but one has been belatedly installed. Not that it stops illegal parking completely.

Car CarThis Ford Mondeo was parked illegally and with one wheel on the footpath for at least 20 minutes while I was speaking to Martin Peaple - the man Bexley council and the police persecuted for warning drivers that there were CCTV cars hiding up side streets near his place of employment.

Martin kindly gave advice to a motorist who parked in front of the Mondeo while I was chatting with him. Bexley council has failed to intimidate him and old habits die hard.

A traffic warden ignored the Mondeo and the reason was fairly obvious. It belonged to the police and its two occupants had popped into the library. (See the photo evidence.)

Forecourt RacksThere used to be cycle racks in the library’s extensive forecourt, but they are not there any more. Instead there are six where you might expect car parking bays to be.

Why Sidcup is deprived of three or four parking spaces when it is widely acknowledged that the town suffers because of its lack of parking provision is beyond comprehension, well almost.

Last night’s Transport Users meeting revealed that Bexley council is going to use cycle stands as cheap street bollards in future. Eighty stands are going in over 52 sites. Nice of Bexley council to use expensive bikes as a substitute for bollards. I wonder how well they will stand up to vehicle impact.

Why Sidcup High Street has ten cycle racks all within 50 yards of each other, there are more across the road, is another mystery that can only be explained by congenital stupidity. More so when you consider that the recently revamped station area, not that far away, has none.

Racks No rackBexley council is keen for people to use their bikes more - something else I heard last night - but in all the time this huge space has existed outside the station and shops no one thought that a few bike racks might come in useful. Not very bright are they?

Maybe a cycling enthusiast made the case more succinctly…

Whenever Bexley council is given money for cycling ends they use it for daft initiatives which fail to benefit anyone rather than making any genuine effort to increase cycle lanes and enable people to use bikes more safely and easily.

The new cycle stands on Hadlow Road, Sidcup are a perfect case in point. Why put these in a location in the road that's better suited to car parking? As a driver I’d rather they were parking spaces and as a cyclist I would rather have parked my bike where the old stands used to be, in the pedestrian area outside the library, under shelter rather than in this exposed area next to the road.

As a motorist I object that the exit from Hadlow Road into the High Street has been reduced from two lanes to one so that it is no longer easy to turn left. Did I not read that a Bexley council priority is keeping traffic flowing freely? They fool no one.

Who designs all this? We’ve effectively lost four car parking spaces where parking is at a premium. Never mind the fact that there are more cycle stands directly across from the top of Hadlow, also exposed to the elements. But no stands at all on the huge expanse of pavement at Station Road, Sidcup. Bad luck if you want to park your bike there.

Actually I think it was probably designed, or at least approved, by Andrew Bashford, Bexley council’s Senior Engineering Manager. He was the individual who spurred me into starting Bonkers by trying to bamboozle me with fake science six years ago. A subject I will briefly return to within the next couple of days.


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