Social media, the press and my own email inbox have all been buzzing about the recent, very yellow, repainting of all the enforceable road markings in Woodbridge.
Enforceable road markings are being refreshed across Suffolk in advance of CPE (Civil Parking Enforcement) – the transfer of the enforcement of on road parking from the police to the district councils.
This process has been in operation for a while.
A brief background:
* Basically, the government abolished traffic wardens over a decade ago and put their duties in the hands fo the police.
* However it has become increasingly clear that adequate police enforcement of selfish and irresponsible parking across the region has not been possible due to the very limited number of feet on the ground. In Woodbridge, people may deliberately park on double yellows rather than in the car parks because they know they will have little chance of being ticketed, and they can park for free. In a car park (off-street parking is run by the District Council) they have to pay, and are ticketed if they overstay.
* Once parking has been decriminalized, enforcement can be put in the hands of district council ‘revenue protection officers’ who will look much like the old traffic warden and can treat on street parking offences as firmly as they do those in the car parks. And a good thing too!
* However CPE cannot take place until every TRO (traffic regulation order) in Suffolk has been made watertight and enforceable. Thus it is essential that all regulatory road markings are made visible and correct. Which is why many hitherto invisible markings are now made visible. When all is in place the transfer of CPE to the new East Suffolk District Council will take place.
* The yellow lines in Woodbridge are not new, they replace existing ones for existing TROs.
* The colour will fade. Not too much I hope, or parking restrictions will not be enforceable (the reason they had to be renewed in the first place).
Many of the concerns are on aesthetic or heritage grounds. However there is an element of cherry picking here. Yellow lines are clearly out of place in our medieval town but they are a necessary ill – along with all the road signs we require, the zebra crossings and the continuing tarmacking of our green spaces for car parking, which also make such a non-medieval impact! Medieval Woodbridge didn’t have tarmacked roads, let alone road signs or markings. Within living memory there was even two way traffic, including buses down the Thoroughfare.
If the people of Woodbridge and its surrounds wish to rely on the petrol-driven engine to the extent they currently do, one has to make provision for preventing cars from taking over. Sad but true