Sunday, 22 June 2008

"It's happening here - and you are in the front row"

The bench shown here is supposed to be in a pedestrian zone. But these days anyone drives into the Town Square and parks, knowing full well that no one gives a damn. Some drivers use the Town Square as a short cut. Market traders belt through it at speed at the end of market day. Other drivers have realised that it's a great place for free parking. Nothing will be done until a child gets run down and injured or killed in what is laughably supposed to be a pedestrianised area.

The Town Square today was full of vibrant activity. I picked up a lavishly produced Council PR document about the Olympic Games entitled It's happening here and you are in the front row.

It was the usual empty PR garbage: We want to get more people walking and cycling to help reduce their own and Waltham Forest's carbon footprint. Which is pretty rich from a Council which continues to convert pavements for 4X4 parking, even when it breaches national minimum guidelines on the needs of pedestrians with a mobility handicap.

Ironically while I was glancing at this crap document a couple of dodgy characters who I assume were in the scrap metal business proceeded to apprise the bollards shown in my pic. Having decided on what they wanted to steal they calmly loaded various bollards and accessories into their ageing Commer-style van and drove out of the Town Square at 11.35 am, turning left towards Walthamstow Central. They spent about 15 minutes deciding what to steal, so I guess they should have been picked up by all the CCTV in the area. That's if it was pointing in the right direction and anyone was bothering to notice. This is what happens if you don't bother restricting access to a supposedly dedicated pedestrian zone. You even make life easier for motorized thieves.

And while on the subject of hazardous pedestrian areas, let me mention the grisly plastic walkway over the M11 Link Road, by Leytonstone tube station. Crossing it yesterday I noticed that two of the plastic panels were loose. One of them had a gap big enough for a child to plunge through. The more this Council blathers about getting people to walk, the crappier the walking environment gets.