Seems like a good time for an update on the Lendal Bridge ‘trial’, prompted by recent comments.
In case readers missed the beginning of all this, it’s called a ‘trial’ because it’s said to be an experiment for a limited time, not because it’s a trial in the sense of something being trying or difficult. Though clearly it is that for many people.
One thing many people seem to agree on is that the signage is inadequate. This sign, pictured resting against a wall on Bootham, is particularly inadequate.
Of course locals know about the restrictions and avoid the bridge. The signage problem is most relevant to visitors. They’ve been crossing the bridge apparently unaware, and getting fined. I’ve been curious about why that’s the case.
I’m not a motorist so don’t really think about this, but apparently the route over Lendal Bridge is part of our inner ring road. It doesn’t look like an obvious ring road like some of those 1970s concrete examples other cities have (and which York narrowly avoided having), but instead is made up of various bits of road which roughly make a circle close to the city centre.
Maybe motorists reading this can help with these questions. Would it be fair to say that drivers expect something called an inner ring road to function as a through route, and not to find bits of it cut off to them?
If it’s missing a chunk it’s not a ‘ring’? As one comment I saw on the Press website suggested, it’s more of an ‘inner horseshoe’.
Which is clearly not what visiting motorists are expecting. And I guess that if there’s a load of other traffic ahead of you, you wouldn’t necessarily think ‘Of course, they’re all buses and taxis and other vehicles with special exemption’, because if you don’t live here you wouldn’t know. You’d just follow the line of traffic?
Efforts continue to ‘raise awareness’, as it’s not good for the city’s image to have so many disgruntled people complaining after they’ve had a penalty notice through their letterboxes.
Spare a thought for the travel reporters on BBC Radio York. Every morning I hear the same man having to repeat the same old announcement detailing the Lendal Bridge restrictions. I bet he wakes up in the night finding he’s saying it aloud in his sleep. Maybe to help with awareness and give him a rest Radio York could just record him saying it and play it more often, perhaps every ten minutes or so? Or just send a team of travel reporters out onto the approaches to the bridge, armed with megaphones, to shout the announcement directly at motorists through the car window.
The clearly useless AA sign pictured above has been cluttering up the pavement outside Wandesford House for weeks. It has been replaced by other signs, displayed more conventionally on poles, the right way up. And apparently various things have been painted on the roads to make it all clearer, but still many visitors are being caught out, unaware of restrictions.
Over recent months, as all the various signs have gone up, I’ve wondered how this fits with the aims of ‘Reinvigorate York’? Not that long ago we had Sir Ron Cooke saying it was his mission to reduce unnecessary street clutter, like ugly road signs. Now we’ve got a whole load more for the Lendal Bridge scheme. They’re big and ugly, and also apparently useless? Isn’t it all a bit silly?
Perhaps it needs even bigger and uglier signs, more of them, every few metres perhaps, or those massive ones on posts right across the street like you get on motorways, lit up maybe? Flashing? How many signs do we have to have before it’s accepted that this restriction isn’t going to work?
Of course, we’ve got those city walls standing about doing nothing. They could be better used in helping to display the important information to people approaching the city centre. Like this perhaps.
Or an animated projection, perhaps, as movement is more attention-grabbing …
I might go over to West Offices with these ideas and hang them on the suggestions tree, or tweet them to Dave Merrett. What do people think?