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Everything posted by Planner1

  1. Have you considered that the staff you have seen being delayed have been specifically tasked to work on other priorities? They can’t just stop where they like and do whatever they want. No council in the country has enough enforcement resources to enforce all areas equally, all the time. They all prioritise. Some places, like Burngreave Road, could in the past be enforced by camera. Parking services had a couple of camera vehicles and used them to good effect. The government changed the rules and effectively dictated that only school entrance markings and bus stop clearways can be enforced by camera. That means parking pcn’s have to be issued by a CEO on foot. It makes the operation much less efficient. The area a CEO can cover isn’t anywhere near as big as can be covered by a camera vehicle. Parking Services do the best they can with the resources they have. If you want more enforcement, you need to tell your councillors. They control the budgets and dictate how much resource each service can have. Different politicians will have different views on what level of enforcement activity is proportional, given the extent of the known problems. Depends who is in power and taking the decisions. If there was a groundswell of opinion that consistently higher levels of enforcement were needed and they thought it was a vote winner, I’m sure they’d listen. There are many views on appropriate levels of enforcement activity, the council can’t please everyone. The contravention has to be something they can actually enforce. For example, they can’t do anything about obstruction. Only the Police can do that. Some places folk can get away with parking on the footway, even when there’s a restriction on the carriageway, because the restrictions in place do not cover the footway, so there’s no contravention the CEO can enforce.
  2. Parking Services, as you would expect, prioritise enforcement in some locations. The city centre and permit zones around it are obvious ones. Major routes and public transport corridors are another at busy times. Areas around school entrances get attention at school run times. The city centre is an obvious priority. Permit zones are regularly enforced because the council commits to do so when they introduce a zone. Main roads and transport corridors are obvious priorities, particularly at busy times. I was closely involved with Parking Services for a good few years and during that time neither I nor anyone else there was told by senior managers or councillors not to enforce certain areas. I asked staff whether they had ever received such instructions in the past. They said not. Politicians are involved in priority setting and they approve the Parking Strategy ( Google it). School entrances are an example. Councillors get a lot of grief about parking around schools at school run times and want enforcement, so it happens daily. Very few tickets are issued, so if the council were chasing more tickets, the CEO’s would be elsewhere. All the areas you mention are not permit zones. If they were, they’d be enforced very regularly. The council wanted to put a permit zone in around the Northern General Hospital, the locals rejected it. The CEO’s are strong minded people and sometimes don’t agree with their deployments and think other priorities should be pursued. They can speak to their managers about it, but the decisions aren’t theirs. If people want enforcement action in certain areas they should tell Parking Services and speak to their Councillors. Parking services are happy to tell people how many tickets are issues on particular streets or specific areas. You just need to ask.
  3. Some sets of traffic signals are set to sit at red on all approaches if there are no demands from traffic. It's to slow drivers down, as they can tend to go faster if they see a green at every set of signals. If they do that they are working on sensors only and will change to give you a green as you approach them, so it just slows you down a bit. The traffic signals can be set to work just on sensors or be controlled by the central urban traffic control computer, which will impose different timing plans at different times of the day / day of the week, to better manage traffic conditions. The vehicle sensors aren't always in the road, there are little boxes on top of the traffic signal heads which are either microwave or video detectors, which pick up traffic movements.
  4. Traffic signal controllers can be configured in a number of ways. One of these is to have ultimate flexibility and let the actual traffic and pedestrian demands dictate the stage sequence, at least at quiet times of the day, like evening and overnight. There is a downside to this approach, it involves having a lot of potential options of which approaches get a green signal and what sequence the signals actually follow. I recall a situation where a junction was configured like this and 99.99% of the time, it used to follow a particular sequence, because the traffic demands were usually in place to make it do that. However very rarely, because of the prevailing traffic conditions, it did something different, which wasn’t in itself unsafe, but drivers were accustomed to the normal sequence. This normal sequence meant that drivers turning right on a main road didn’t have to concern themselves with opposing traffic, as that traffic stream normally got a red when their ahead movement got green. On rare occasions, usually late at night, they both (the ahead movements) got green and there were occasional collisions as right turning drivers clearly didn’t expect to be in conflict with the other movement. So, with safety in mind, the engineers tend to have signals working in a fairly fixed sequence, with just the green timings altering with time of day / day of week. It might not be the most efficient, but it avoids drivers getting “confused” which seems to happen more and more as time goes on. Theres also another angle to the debate about covering over the signal heads on an approach that’s not needed due to roadworks / closures. Vandals have been known to remove the covers, which can cause problems.
  5. Nothing to do with intelligent traffic management. Urban traffic control systems can change the timings on traffic signals but they can’t change the way the junction operates, which is embedded in the programming of the signal controller. How much pollution do we think that following the very short diversion is actually causing? The signals are working exactly as they did before, so no extra pollution there. If it’s a collapsed sewer, it’s not the councils fault that this has happened, or that it’s taken the owners of the infrastructure a while to fix it.
  6. In general, it isn’t usually practical to change the way a permanent set of signals works in order to accommodate a temporary closure/ roadworks situation. The stage sequences they can follow are embedded into the programming of the signal controller, so a new configuration would have to be designed, tested, installed , checked and commissioned. This takes time and costs quite a bit. And of course at the end of the works, the original configuration has to be reinstalled, commissioned and checked. Usually the practical choices are to keep the existing signals running as before and put up with the changed situation (if possible and safe), or switch the existing signals off and install temporary ones.
  7. If it happens at exactly the same time every day, it’s likely to be an automatic timing plan change. They usually happen by time of day and day of week, but can also be brought in automatically by the system when queuing traffic is detected on a particular approach. Difficult to say exactly what the problem was, it could have been any one of a number of potential issues. Obviously whatever was wrong, was fixed, or it would still be happening.
  8. Free on street but extremely busy.
  9. Nobody gets everything right absolutely all the time. UTC operators are no exception. To expect anything different is unreasonable in my opinion. I don't know the particular circumstances you mention, but, sometimes they do have to hold traffic at a location to prevent blockage further along the network. Occasionally (usually for emergency services) they sometimes have to clear out a route completely so for example a fast ambulance doesn't get held up all the way to the hospital. That means drivers can be held up for a few minutes at a location they wouldn't normally get delayed, and they may not be able to see any reason for it. Just because you've experienced one instance (or even a few instances) when you got delayed and there wan't any explanation for it, doesn't mean the whole system (or its operators) is useless or doesn't work correctly.
  10. No system is perfect. As for them “interfering”, the UTC system controls most of the signals in the city, altering timing plans by time of day and day of week and giving bus and tram priority, all done automatically, so them “ interfering” is the default position all of the time. If you are referring to times when the operators intervene and control signals directly. With the greatest respect to you and other bus drivers caught in any congestion, the UTC operators can see the full picture, all over the city via a network of cctv cameras, you can’t from the street. ( yes I know the bus operators have people in the control room) The UTC operators have to deal with all traffic, not just buses.
  11. You asked why the folk were parking on the footway in Commercial St. You just answered your own question. The park there because it’s outside where they work and they can do so for free.
  12. They don’t have tags because they aren’t needed. Neither are what you refer to as “load sensors” ie buried vehicle detector loops. The buses have on board gps tracking, which links to the Council’s urban traffic control computer, which gives them priority at signals if they are running behind schedule. Wouldn’t you like to be able to park for free right outside your workplace?
  13. Again, a single CEO is not going to be aware of all the complaints and requests that come in, or the nuances of priorities, policies and political decisions. The CEO’s often have their own opinions on enforcement priorities and it’s right that they express them to their managers and get explanations. But, the decision aren’t theirs and they don’t always agree with them. Of course SCC will be aware of the issues at Wicker. But, they are similarly aware of many many other issues and priorities all over the city that they have to deal with on a daily basis, with limited resources. That usually means that they can’t offer enforcement at a single location on a semi permanent basis. Most places will only get occasional enforcement. That is the reality of the limited resources they have and the many and often conflicting demands put on them.
  14. Other than parking in a bus stop covered by a bus stop clearway, or an enforceable school entrance marking, parking contraventions can’t be enforced by camera. The tickets must be issued by a CEO in person. Thats how the government wants it to be. Councils used to be able to enforce some parking contraventions by camera but the government changed the rules and stopped it.
  15. On Commercial St, the Council can’t enforce against them as they are not contravening an enforceable restriction. What the Council need to do is introduce a restriction that can be enforced, which takes time, money and will.
  16. First thing in the morning on weekdays the enforcement officers tend to be concentrating on the main transport corridors and school entrances. There are less CEO’s than many people might think and they are spread across three shifts per day.
  17. Posting a load of bluster is often what people do when they can’t back up what they’ve said. You said: Try telling the troops on the ground what the ivory tower inhabitants want then because it is NOT being carried out. You have not said what it is you think isn’t being carried out. You mentioned you’d had one conversation, presumably with a CEO, but you didn’t specify. The person apparently said they’d be “roasted” if they went to a certain area, there’s no mention of who by. The locals? Their managers? Again you didn’t specify. I have many years of direct involvement in this field, but it appears you’ll take the word of one person from one conversation as gospel, but dismiss what I’m telling you. The points you mention about taxis parking in bus stops or blocking roads don’t in my view recognise the practicalities or difficulty of actually enforcing against such contraventions or the amount of enforcement resources at the Council’s disposal, or the other priorities they might have for enforcement. The Council have numerous priorities for enforcement and limited resources to enforce with. They can’t spend all their time trying to ticket taxi drivers, who generally know exactly how far they can push their luck before being ticketed. Taxis do get tickets, go ask Parking Services for the stats if you’re interested. The Council work in partnership with bus operators and target bus lane / gate camera enforcement at locations where: (1) contraventions are actually taking place ( they do surveys to check), (2) buses are actually being delayed by vehicles contravening restrictions ( operators provide data and surveys are done) (3) the restriction is enforceable, using cameras, by the Council ( not all of them are). They can’t and won’t enforce every part of every bus related restriction to the nth degree, because it isn’t proportionate, practical or reasonable. You have a particular focus on bus related matters and that’s fine, but the Council have a range of matters they have to consider, buses are just one of them and you can’t reasonably expect them to ignore the rest to focus on buses. There’s always going to be a debate about priorities.
  18. I’d have a rota of enforcement beats which would address the policies / priorities in place and would also deal with any known / logged issues. I’d also have a mobile response team who could be sent to deal with any reported issues as they arise. Which is exactly what SCC do.
  19. The fact is that the Civil Enforcement Officers ( they haven’t been “Traffic Wardens” for many years) do not get that choice. They are given a beat to patrol at the start of each shift and that’s what they do. Their outputs and locations can be checked and so they can’t just go and enforce wherever they feel like. Appropriate risk assessments are carried out and mitigation’s put in place to address known or likely issues in order to keep officers as safe as possible. Abuse and sometimes assault are part of the risks associated with the job and the officers are trained in how to deal with those risks.
  20. Lots of old chestnuts on this thread. “Ivory Tower” indeed. What exactly isn’t being carried out and what is your evidence to support this contention?
  21. Do your own searching if you’re that interested. I’ve pointed you to a study that brings together evidence collected across several systems in different cities. Before / after studies get done when a new system is introduced, but they are not done on an ongoing basis anywhere. I think you perhaps have an unrealistic expectation on the amount of transport data collected by local transport authorities. There is no ongoing study of driver behaviour on / around tram routes here or anywhere else. In Sheffield, the only consistent long term traffic data set has been an annual cordon count of traffic coming into and out of the city which is done on one day per year. I’m not even sure that it’s done anymore. Local councils don’t have the money to do transport data collection on that scale anymore.
  22. Have a look at this study commissioned by the Urban Transport Group. Page 34 onwards has the relevant info, including findings from Sheffield ( 20% of riders were car users before). Their figures show that on weekdays, 20% of tram passengers used to travel by car and at weekends it rises to 50%. Page 39 onwards covers comparison of tram schemes to Quality Bus schemes ( there are several in Sheffield) which typically attract 4 to 6 % mode shift from car use. It’s not so much the running costs that are the problem, it’s the huge capital cost of installing a new tram system or line. A single new line in Edinburgh cost £776m. They’re looking to install tram lines in West Yorkshire and the cost could be anything from one to three billion, depending on how many lines they go with for the first phase of development. However, there’s good evidence that tram systems do attract inward investment and they provide a highly visible, fairly permanent, statement of that city’s commitment to providing good public transport.
  23. No form of public transport is going to suit everyone for every journey. People see free bus services in other places like Manchester City Centre and think we ought to have them here. But, they often don’t understand how these things are paid for, which is often contributions from developers arising from planning applications, which is fine if your city has lots of development happening and you can demand that level of contribution and you have the political will to use the money to provide that kind of service.
  24. Ah, this old chestnut. Having been very closely involved in SCC’s parking operations, I can tell you that there’s no such thing as a “politically sensitive” area. In many years of experience I have never experienced or heard of politicians in Sheffield telling Parking Services where to and where not to enforce. They will have some involvement in setting priorities, which are usually expressed in policy documents like a parking strategy, which is entirely correct and as you would expect. Parking Services have their priorities and their enforcement resources are deployed accordingly. The CEO’s on the street are given specific areas to patrol and don’t vary from those unless told to do so. Which is exactly what you would expect. If you are speaking to a CEO, they often don’t know the full picture, you need to speak to the managers. Parking Services are very open and transparent about where they enforce and why. If you ask them, they can give you the figures of how many penalties are actually issued. Just drop them a line and ask them if you really want to know the facts rather than relying on heresay. The fines not getting paid aspect is a problem with the legal framework and most enforcing authorities have the same issue, for example in London, people with diplomatic immunity rack up huge numbers of penalties which don’t get paid. The people who are getting these penalties usually understand the legal position and just ignore them. What would you have the enforcement authorities do? They have finite resources, should they use them issuing pointless fines to people they know will ignore them and continue to offend, or concentrate resources elsewhere, where they actually make a difference?
  25. I’ve seen studies where the majority of car drivers said they would not use public transport even if it were free. As others have pointed out, nothing is actually free. There’s a significant cost involved and someone has to pay it.
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