Signs of the times

This article was published in 1998, in Newsletter 21.

The County Council is proposing to improve the signposting on the inner ring road to make it easier for essential traffic to find its way to destinations in the City Centre.

Their proposal is to divide the City Centre into ‘zones’, each with a suitable name. New road signs would then be erected on the inner ring road that directed drivers around the ring road to the most appropriate access point for each zone. The idea is that this will reduce the number of drivers who get ‘lost’ in the city centre when they discover that their way is blocked with a road closure or restricted street.

The council is hoping that the idea of ‘zones’ will catch on and that people in the city centre will add the name of their zone to their postal address.

The Cycling Campaign has generally welcomed these proposals. It is very much in the interests of cyclists for drivers to find an appropriate route to their destination. Anybody who has been stuck behind a large lorry which whose driver has just discovered that her route ahead is blocked by a road closure or pedestrian zone will know the nuisance caused by drivers who do not know where they are meant to go.

RoadSign.gif (4913bytes)We have asked, however, that any new signing be carefully designed so it does not encourage drivers to enter the city centre who do not have a legitimate reason to go there. We have suggested that the new signs should make it clear that the signs apply only to vehicles that need to load and unload, or to vehicles travelling to off-street parking or to residents’ parking bays.

We have also told the council that the new signing should make it clear that different routes apply to cyclists. As an example of what we had in mind, we drew a possible sign on Castle Street southbound showing directions to the King’s Parade area. This would instruct drivers to turn right into Northampton Street and round the ring road to Silver Street. We said that it should also make it clear that cyclists should take a different route – straight ahead (into Magdalene Street) – to get to the same place.

We also proposed additional signing specifically for cyclists to show the route though the city centre to each zone.

Nigel Deakin