Troppo proposes, the UK government disposes

In this post a while back I explored an idea as follows:

I was driving through the Burnley tunnel today. It has three lanes. As you go into it travelling east, the three lanes I was on had to become two to make way for another lane entering from the left. Normally what happens in such a situation is that the three main lanes become two and to remove the scope for ambiguity, the space previously taken up by the left most lane (before the new lane enters) becomes a traffic isle. The third lane then feeds in from the left.Its all pretty fail safe. You cant end up in the wrong (terminating) lane unless you dont notice the fact that youve driven onto a traffic island which is itself preceded by lots of white lines and things that would have you wondering if something was going wrong.

But in this case (I presume because this lane was doubling as an emergency lane until cars entered it from the new ramp), no such arrangement had been made here. I found it quite confusing and ended up in the emergency lane for a while before realising what was intended and making my exit into the two correct lanes to allow cars to enter into the lane I had vacated.

Given my confusion I thought that someone ought to do something about it. But I know government well enough not to bother. Id be asked to put the thing in writing – as sure a sign as any that someone isnt regarding your input as a potentially valuable resource. Then my communication would go into a queue and Id receive a polite letter.

Is there a better way? Well heres a fantasy. I get home and e-mail a government suggestion box mentioning the problem – and if I can think of one a solution. (I have one – which is that for the length during which the status of the lane becomes unclear there be at the very least striped white lines on the emergency lane and perhaps the writing emergency lane to explain to drivers whats going on. Its part of my brave new world that, wherever possible explanations for why things are being done are offered. That way people know why theyre doing what theyre doing. This has two great benefits. I expect it helps them learn what they should do and to remember it. And it also helps them respond if they have some objection to what is being done and/or if they have some improvement.) . . .

The Poms are now having a crack at something pretty similar – welcome to Fixmystreet.

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12 years ago

Worth mentioning that it looks like this isn’t a government website but a private initiative. The site simply directs feedback to the relevant council. Very useful and anyone could set one up.