‘We’re head­ing for Christ­mas chaos’ says civic so­ci­ety as car park signs ‘not work­ing for months’

Western Morning News (Saturday) - - News -

We pre­dict loom­ing Christ­mas chaos, says the Ex­eter Civic So­ci­ety, af­ter it has been re­vealed that signs telling driv­ers how many spa­ces are avail­able in car parks in the city have not been work­ing for months.

Keith Lewis, vice chair­man of the Ex­eter Civic So­ci­ety, is call­ing on Devon County Coun­cil to get the car park di­rec­tional sig­nage into good op­er­a­tional or­der af­ter they dis­cov­ered the signs have not func­tioned well for much of 2018 – and per­haps for longer.

In­ves­ti­ga­tions un­der taken since Au­gust have shown that the read­ing for Guild­hall and Mary Arches car parks were al­ways show­ing 872, Sum­mer­land Street al­ways showed 244 spa­ces, while on sev­eral oc­ca­sions, the signs were not work­ing at all.

Mr Lewis said: “This in­ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion can only lead to cre­at­ing con­ges­tion in the city cen­tre, and may per­haps ex­plain the long queues of­ten seen on Paris Street with driv­ers try­ing to park in one of the three Princesshay car parks which may be full.

“And with the Christ­mas shop­ping pe­riod loom­ing, which sees an in­crease in peo­ple look­ing for car parks, we pre­dict chaos un­less DCC can get the signs in work­ing or­der.”

Thir­teen signs on the main ap­proach roads were in­stalled in 2005 and are op­er­ated and over­seen by Devon County Coun­cil.

But Mr Lewis added: “They are aimed at di­rect­ing driv­ers to car parks that have spa­ces, but with­out ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion be­ing dis­played, driv­ers can ar­rive at a car park to find there are no spa­ces avail­able.

“Two of the busiest car parks, op­er­ated by NCP at Princesshay off Dix’s Field, and Sum­mer­lands on Bel­mont Road, have not been send­ing in­for­ma­tion to DCC for some time, re­sult­ing in sig­nage show­ing no in­for­ma­tion for Princesshay and 244 avail­able spa­ces for Sum­mer­lands, even though it may be full.

“Else­where, all signs across the city have been show­ing 872 spa­ces avail­able at the busy Mary Arches and Guild­hall car parks which are con­trolled by Ex­eter City Coun­cil, but who knows what the real num­ber of avail­able spa­ces are. And sev­eral signs have not worked at all at var­i­ous times over the past few months.”

Mr Lewis said that they have re­ported the con­cerns to County Hall, but noth­ing has changed. How­ever, the mat­ter will be dis­cussed at the Ex­eter HATOC meet­ing on Novem­ber 6.

He added: “But we are not hope­ful that the sys­tem will be work­ing prop­erly any time soon, be­cause we un­der­stand that of­fi­cers have tol­er­ated these prob­lems for some time and they be­lieve a large in­vest­ment is needed to get it op­er­at­ing prop­erly, but have sat on this in­for­ma­tion.

“Solv­ing Ex­eter’s con­ges­tion prob­lem is a high pri­or­ity for the city coun­cil, but it is dif­fi­cult to see any com­mit­ment from the county coun­cil as High­way Author­ity when they seem to do lit­tle to keep the city cen­tre traf­fic con­ges­tion free.”

Devon County Coun­cil did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment.

‘Sev­eral signs have not worked at all at var­i­ous times’

Keith Lewis

Park­ing signs show­ing gob­blede­gook in Ex­eter

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