Monday, 10 October 2011

Do The Smart Thing

I do not hate traffic wardens.

There you go, I've said it. I've finally come out and admitted it publicly.

In fact I do have some sympathy for traffic wardens - they are, after all, just enforcing the rules and without them our towns and cities would be even more gridlocked with badly parked cars and obstructed roads and it would be even harder for the law-abiding motorists to get around, let alone get a parking space.

I also have this great working arrangement with traffic wardens whereby I don't park illegally and in return they don't give me parking tickets and fines. It works, and so fare we're getting along great.

What I have less time for, however, are Sutton Council's sneaky, snidey little CCTV enforcement cars (if you can call a Smart car a 'car').

You might have seen this cowardly creations creeping around the roads of Worcester Park, hiding at cowardly distance as their little CCTV camera pops up from the roof to record the fine-inducing footage.

I spotted one in Worcester Park this week, filming a fencing contractor who had no other choice but to pull across a neighbour's driveway in order to unload a large delivery of fencing from the back of the van. Then, this morning, the same van was parked around the corner filming away as builders unloaded supplies for a house on Malden Road in North Cheam.

It all comes down to what you see the role of traffic wardens as being - it is to keep our streets flowing freely or is it to catch people in the act and raise revenue as a result?

In neither of the cases I have seen in recent days were the 'offenders' were causing obstructions or impeding traffic.

Surely, if Sutton Council's enforcement officers really are there to ensure the rules are obeyed strictly and to keep traffic moving they should (as I did this morning) warned the driver to move along, not sneak around filming them from a safe distance away?

I have grudging respect for traffic wardens because they are there on the ground, they are visible. By and large they do their job openly and are man (or woman) to look drivers in the whites of their eyes as they do it.

For Sutton Council's CCTV cars, however, I have no respect. Anyone can sneak about, hiding round corners to raise revenue. That's not fine by me.

13 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

WP_Lifer said...

I have to agree with you on traffic wardens (or are they called parking attendants now?) as without them we'd be in a terrible state.

However, saying that, I would like to see them doing more to clear the cars/vans that seem to be continually blocking Central Road by parking in the section from Green Lane up to Lynwood Drive causing a knock on effect for those coming in to Worcester Park from under the bridge.

Peoples Front of Buckland Way said...

Said vehicles are seen regularly around the Dorchester Road area and surrounding side roads spotting cars.

Magic Dragon said...

One of these 'smart cars' nearly caused an accident recently - as it was coming around a sharp bend in Sparrow Farm Road he spotted a 'catch' - a very expensive looking car parked on the kerb. The driver was so excited to spot it that he skidded to a stop and then tried to do a 'U' turn on a blind bend, nearly causing a major pile up which would have involved pedestrians. They are a spooky looking menace.

Anonymous said...

They also have no regard for parking in disabled bays !!!!!!!!!!!

Rick said...

Thanks for this little article. I wondered what a camera mounted on an oversize Star Wars droid was about - I assumed it was Google street maps undertaking an update.

Given the events described above, perhaps anyone fortunate enough to spot a 'smart' car undertaking an activity decidedly 'unsmart' could photograph/video it and email/link it to WP for community viewing?

Alternatively, the two other alternatives are reporting the incident to your local councillor or to do absolutely nothing - these latter two options obviously having exactly the same result.

Anonymous said...

I got issued a ticket by one of those cars. I tried to appeal but to no avail. Sneaky horrible gits is the only description (that is printable).

I parked with two wheels up on a dropped kerb and still got a ticket. Even though I did that to avoid blocking the road.

Bunch of jugglers :(

Anonymous said...

The smart camera car should be put in the recycle bin, a total waste of our money and by the sounds of it include the operatives displaying and confirming there lack of brains photoing people doing there job. Sutton council should do something about monitoring the lights controlling the road works in central road and get the contractors to put a full team of workman so as to finish the job, then do something about the traffic flow between the A3 and North Cheam. At the same time remove the filter light in Cheam Village or put a big signup outside Waitrose so as to keep drivers in the correct lane. I am no longer going to support the Sutton Liberials.

Andy said...

They use these a lot in Kingston...many a time I've driven down Old London Road to park up for 10 mins so my other half can pop into the fabric shop (and yes, she does use broadway bargains too!) and the CCTV Smart car is taking up the last bloody space! Thus 'forcing' me to park illegally!

Surely that's like entrapment or something??

We should join forces and tip them over whenever we find a stationary one!

Huey said...

Magic Dragon, Rick and all you other avid readers, you can report antics of the Smart cars and the rest of the renegade brigade (and that includes anyone tailgating, not indicating, cutting up, queue-hopping, speeding, or generally being an intimidating PITA) at:
Even if you haven't got the number plate, the stats can be chewed over by the powers that be as they will still have the location and time/date details.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the mission of smart car wardens is to make the much hated human traffic wardens seem acceptable in comparison. According to WP blog mission is complete! Or maybe they just are a safety precaution to protect traffic wardens from abuse.

What the motoring moaners fail to recognise is that these “smart car wardens” have been introduced largely in response to demands by residents plagued by parking problems who are asking the Council for a deterrent to illegal parking in their street. Yes Andy this does include Old London Road, half of which is residents parking for people living above the shops- I imagine they are slightly pi**ed off with people constantly parking in their spaces “ for ten minutes” when they could easily get the bus or park in cattle market. This also applies to selfish parents who want to safeguard the convenience and safety of their own kids at the expense of others by parking on the yellow lines by schools. Schools are crying out for Councils to use more enforcement to control parking restrictions outside schools, fact. What would you do? Not so easy is it.........

DT said...

Traffic Wardens are employed by the Met, parking attendents are employed by the Council. Wardens are to be most likely found directing traffic and dealing with serious infingements such parking outside schools, not the revenue raising issues.

Rick said...

Though your intentions are honourable, you seem to have missed the point, Anonymous. Few residents have any time for anyone with Andy’s derisive, irresponsible and selfish attitude and they badger the Council and Police to deal with the 'thug behind a wheel’ mentality. The problem is that smart cars seem to be in the hands of those capable of as much contempt for motoring law.

Huey’s excellent suggestion should help deal with every type of offender, particularly if drivers carry a phone that can take photos to back up the allegation (I keep a compact camera in the driver door, in case I need to record a motoring incident).

It seems pretty ‘easy’ to me: smart cars are there to record any kind of driving or parking offence … but whilst undertaking this, they themselves have to stay legal – like the rest of us - rather than drive as though they are in a stock car race, the moment they see an opportunity.

Annoyed LR resident said...

if the idea of these cars is to deter illegal parking etc. it doesn't seem to be working.... They are constantly driving down Longfellow Road, yet every day half the cars are still parked illegally. Particularly from the playground down towards the high street.... people don't seem to know what the white lines are for and constantly park in front of water hydrant access points. Or, not up on the curb at all, making it difficult for drivers to actually drive down the street!

To all traffic wardens/parking attendants out there - please walk down Longfellow Road and actually hand out tickets to people who refuse to park properly! I have seen on numerous occasions these people walk past illegally parked cars and don't bother doing anything about it...

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