The problems at Ealing Broadway station have been picked up in all three main local news channels over the last couple of days.
On Ealing Today they have a Q & A type piece with some facts from the council along with a copy of the council’s press release of 5th June which warned about impending CCTV enforcement of pedestrian crossings and bus stops.
Yesterday Ealing Times had the story online here. Their headline is “£225,000: a ‘fine’ profit”. It is typical of a journalist, Alex Hayes in this case, to be economically illiterate. For this to be profit you have to assume that everyone pays their fines without complaint and that it costs nothing to do enforcement and payment collection. I think we can assume a large number of complaints after all the publicity of this issue.
The Ealing & Acton Gazette takes up the story for the third time this week. They are rather more measured than they have been. Their silly GONE PARKING MAD! logo has disappeared and they also have a Q & A piece that includes some actual facts from the council.
As a councillor I am a bit conflicted by all this. I want people to vote for me after all so I don’t really want to beat anyone up. Apparently some 5,573 tickets have been issued although the first 1,000 of them were dummies to give people the chance to change their ways. It can’t be very bright to turn this into a mini-industry however righteous the tickets.
This whole area is a mess and the closure of the drop off area by the rail company has caused inconvenience. This is no excuse though for ignoring the law. The law is totally clear about pedestrian crossings and bus stops and I don’t have much sympathy with people who use them for dropping off passengers.
On the Ealing Today forum and elsewhere people have complained about “anonymous spokesmen”. There is a longstanding convention that local government officer’s names are not mentioned in these situations. This is nothing new.
Other people have complained about camera enforcement. This is the only way to tackle this type of offence as it is dangerous and impractical to ask a parking attendant to try to serve a PCN when drivers are already distracted trying to drop people off and speed away again.
The officers do have a shred of a fig leaf to hide behind. On 12th September last year at the Ealing Area Committee an excellent bus driver called Alvarez complained that it was hard to do his job, especially around the station and Haven Green, because the council was not enforcing what are called moving traffic violations. We are now and people don’t like it. At the meeting Alvarez had the support of all councillors and the public. See my posting and decision sheet.
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The resolution made by the committee was:
Resolved: (i) That the concerns of local residents and Members of the Committee regarding illegal parking in the borough, be noted;
(ii) That the Executive Director of Customer Services be requested to investigate the current level of enforcement being undertaken by the Council in response to illegal parking in Haven Green, and report back to the next meeting of the Committee.
It seems that officers have taken this as carte blanche to go off and enforce without coming back to the committee to tell us what they proposed.
I have no sympathy for inconsiderate drivers but the officers are there to serve. It seems they have forgotten that in this case.
I wonder what Mr Alvarez thinks of all this?