Transport and Highways

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Inconsiderate and often illegal parking, speeding and damage to “street furniture” are the subject of constant complaints by local residents to the Police and local authorities. The primary area for these complaints is in and around Watling Street in the centre of Radlett but there are some other “hot spots” including inconsiderate parking near both Newberries and St John’s Schools at drop-off and pick up times and speeding in Cobden Hill, Craigwell Avenue and Aldenham Avenue.

Responsibility for dealing with these matters is confusing as it is split between a number of bodies. Watling Street is a major road (the A4183) and therefore the responsibility of the County Council. Other roads are generally the responsibility of Hertsmere Borough Council, whose wardens enforce the Shoppers’ parking bays and Newberries Car Park and Controlled Parking Zones (CPZ) in various roads around Radlett. However the Police also have responsibility for dealing with obstructions such as vehicles parked on crossings, blocking the service roads or parking on pavements. The Community Police (CPSOs) – paid for by Hertsmere rather than the Police – also take some responsibility for dealing with inconsiderate parking although they have no powers of enforcement.

In practice, the Police have left any enforcement to Hertsmere. Hertsmere Wardens visit Radlett several times a week for an hour or so and issue parking tickets (“penalty notices”) to any offenders who have not moved away upon seeing them. Their efforts are to be praised, but they barely make a dent on the overall parking problems – particularly in Watling Street, which really require a full-time presence. Problems include the enforcement of double yellow lines (no parking anytime, 24 hours a day, seven days a week), disabled bays (shamefully used by lazy able-bodied drivers) and bus stops (frequently blocked by lorries and cars so that buses have to stop in the middle of the street and their passengers – often children or the elderly have to negotiate traffic to reach the pavement and traffic is blocked along the road.. There is also a significant problem of vehicles unloading goods for shops from the front on the service road or from bus stops (where parking is prohibited every day up to 18.00). Lorries servicing the Tesco store in Watling Street are major offenders as they make several deliveries every day despite have been specifically refused permission to do so. Hertsmere wardens only issue a handful of tickets to these vehicles each year despite the number of deliveries to Tesco alone being in excess of 1,000 each year.

The general air of disregard for driving and parking regulations by some people locally and the minimal level of enforcement has led to an attitude of laissez faire which is positively dangerous. Drivers park with abandon on corners (with double yellow lines) or – often at some speed – on pavements (forcing pedestrians to walk in the road). No entry and one-way signs are frequently ignored and actions which the Police would previously have classified as driving without due care and attention – driving while using a mobile phone or drinking a coffee – are common daily sights.

Nevertheless we believe you should take action to complain to the authorities if, for example, your drive or the pavement is blocked by a parked car (Police) or if you see vehicles parked in the CPZ without permits or valid tax disks (Hertsmere). Ultimately the traffic problems we get are what we deserve so it is also everyone’s personal responsibility to observe the local traffic and parking regulations themselves.

Clive Glover