It seems that an inevitable result of progress is the cluttering of our environment with an ever increasing number of poles, signs, dishes, meters and humps.
Have you noticed how many speed signs there are in the conservation area? A casual stroll through our leafy streets will reveal no fewer than 33 signs telling us what we all know anyway, that this is a 20mph zone. This number does not include the many small and fairly discrete speed reminder signs that are attached to lampposts, these are the full-size things, some of them on large rectangular grey backgrounds incorporating warnings about the CPZ. Most of the signs are double-sided, providing the valuable advice that one is making a transition from a 20mph speed limit to a... 20mph speed limit.
Stacks Image 1402374
The conservation area is bounded by roads that are all 20mph, apart from the access slip road from the A1. There is absolutely no need for any signage other than here; all others merely create street clutter, obscure sight-lines and undermine one’s faith in town planning. Many of the signs are illuminated and, although they utilise the wonder of low voltage LEDs, are an unnecessary use of energy. Given the fact that we already have enough street clutter with CPZ and other notices it would be nice to see all but the two necessary signs removed.
Stacks Image 288312
This is where they are. Click to enlarge.
On a recent stroll around the neighbourhood in the company of two of our ward councillors and three council representatives, the logic behind the profusion of speed signs was revealed. Paul Taylor, from LBI, explained that it is all a matter of definition and legality.

It all hinges on the difference between a Zone and a Limit. The difference is that in a Zone the speed is limited, in this case to 20mph, but there are also traffic calming measures in place such as humps, narrowing or natural sharp bends, as in Miranda Road. In a Limit the speed is restricted, again to 20mph in this case, but there are no traffic calming measures in place. The Whitehall Park Conservation area consists of both Zones and Limits, and the Council is legally obliged to provide signage at the transition from one to the other.

It all came about several years ago at a time when the whole area was a 30mph speed limit. The Council decided to introduce a 20mph Zone with traffic calming measures and, in its democratic wisdom, consulted all those in the area who would be affected by such measures. You may remember receiving a questionnaire and even returning it. There was quite vociferous opposition in places, with the result that Whitehall Park and Gladsmuir, Gresley and Ashmount Roads were allowed to retain their 30mph speed limit and not have the indignity of humps imposed upon them. Signs were duly erected at every transition between the old 30mph area and the new 20mph Zone.

Since then the speed on all local roads in the borough has been limited to 20mph, which is why we now have the apparent absurdity of signage showing a transition from 20mph to 20mph. You may wonder why the whole area can not be either a Zone or a Limit. This is largely economic. If the whole area were to become a Zone, then traffic calming measures would have to be added to those Roads (see above) where none exist at present. If the whole area were to be designated a Limit then existing traffic calming measures would have to be removed.

And as mentioned above, it is also about legality. Imagine a situation where a hapless motorist came across a hump without having been duly warned of such or, perhaps worse, was warned of traffic calming measures ahead only to find none. It would be an existential and legalistic nightmare.

Presumably all this information can be found in the Highway Code or some other such arcane document, and maybe some time in the future the area will be unified and the signage minimised. For the moment, though, the signs are here to stay, and vehicles still pass though the area at whatever speed they like irrespective of the 20mph limit, as there is, and probably never will be, any enforcement.

Signs to Go?

From 22nd April 2016 local councils will have the powers to remove redundant road signs that are an eyesore or distract drivers. See gov.uk website.
Stacks Image 2228

Dishes Galore!

The instalment of satellite dishes on the fronts of houses in the conservation area is not permitted, but this has not deterred many householders from erecting them - the ones in the picture are all in one road. Islington Council has the power to ask owners to remove them, or to remove them themselves if owners don’t comply. Conservation Area guidelines can be downloaded here and a householders’ planning guide to the installation of satellite dishes can be downloaded here.