Thursday, 13 March 2008

To Clear an Urban Way, or not to Clear an Urban Way

That is the question. Or to put it another way, when is an Urban Clearway not an Urban Clearway?

This particular one at Brownhill in Blackburn is part of my cycle route and is very effective when it works. It allows the creation of two lines of traffic going towards town and facilitates the fast flow of vehicles through the traffic lights at, what was, Brownhill roundabout. It has been in place over 20 years, more or less since the junction was upgraded with traffic signals.

However, it only takes one car to park in the way, and the whole road backs up beyond the next set of traffic lights at the Bull's Head, and sometime beyond that, to the lights beyond at the Wilpshire Hotel. Regularly one or more vehicles are parked along this route and a queue occurs. It makes it equally difficult for cyclists as there is rarely room to pass between the parked cars and the ones waiting for the junction.

I've often wondered why these offenders are not prosecuted for illegal parking. Now I've discovered the reason. It's because this Urban Clearway isn't actually enforceable. To be an Urban Clearway, both sides of the road have to be included and signed accordingly. As the signs were only ever on the side approaching town, it's never been a proper clearway - in 20 years!

Blackburn with Darwen Council might have the solution. At the meeting of the Planning and Highway committee in February it was proposed to change it to a No Waiting and Loading. This would operate on the inbound carriageway for the length of the two lane section and also include the narrowest part of the outbound carriageway, where there is already a waiting restriction, outside the shops at Brownhill. The proposal should soon be advertised on a lamppost nearby. You can have your usual say by writing to the council. Whether anyone will take notice of the restriction, is another matter. Perhaps we'll see some of the many parking attendants from town out in the suburbs.

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