30 October 2013

Sign of the times - but which one?

Often when a motorist gets a PCN he/she is told it is his or her fault because they didn't read the sign properly but it isn't always as black and white as that and here is an example of why (Mr Mustard had to sit and study this one for a quarter of an hour before he worked it all out).

So you are a blue badge holder and you fancy a visit to Sadler's Wells or the Lilian Baylis studio. It is just gone 4pm on a Sunday afternoon and you have tickets for the matinee. Naturally, as a blue badge holder, you have limited walking ability and so you want to get as near as possible to the theatre. You pull up in this space:

Lovely, a disabled space right outside, it must have been put there to meet the needs of disabled visitors to the adjacent theatre building?

What are the times? Here they are:

the sign juxtaposed with the theatre

the sign itself: what used to be on the top portion? (pre June 12)

Now here is the first problem. The sign is contradictory. A disabled person cannot use their blue badge where loading is not allowed. See the leaflet available on this link. What does it say about parking where loading is not allowed? this:

How are you going to find out on a Sunday afternoon, as a blue badge holder who doesn't have or can't use a telephone if Islington Council is a "particular" council (inset own joke here). As guidance goes this is poor work. It does make clear though that you can't park at this spot as a blue badge holder, at any time, according to the uppermost part of the sign, which is held to be the most important, and yet according to the lower portion you can during certain times and outside of those times you aren't loading so you can again (a logical and illogical interpretation at the same moment).

Mr Mustard checked the Islington Council website and it said this about disabled parking and unloading

which suggests to Mr Mustard that Islington Council is run of the mill and not "particular".

What else does the guidance say? this:

Mr Mustard says this is bad advice as there might be a single yellow line on a Sunday without a restriction of any kind on which you could park for 24 hours.

Now we aren't home and dry yet. Look at this next photo of the bay

yes, you are correct, that is a single yellow line. Are we inside a CPZ you ask yourself? Yes, so the times that apply are the ones on the CPZ entry sign unless the yellow line is subject to a different restriction which will be indicated at the location by a time plate. Despite not being in the first flush of youth our elderly driver, whilst quitting the busy junction that is Angel, saw this sign (Mr Mustard took the photo on foot and got some funny looks which Mrs Angry would say he deserved)

It is only now that he looks at it that Mr Mustard has realised what a nonsense this sign is. The 20mph sign has been added onto the pole recently and it isn't only 20mph at certain times except for permit holders, it is some unknown matter that is restricted to those times. Anyway, you did spot the CPZ sign in the background, didn't you?

So having memorised the previous sign about nothing at all you then have to clear your brain just 1 second later and take this one in. Luckily you spot it is Sunday so the CPZ is off. Therefore the single yellow line is free to park on. Except, it isn't.

Now I know you can't cross the road very easily being disabled but come with Mr Mustard and take another photo, you'll be safe, those shirts he wears are enough to stop the traffic.

What are you looking at? Well you can see the disabled bay with its own sign, then a gap to the left with a little yellow line about a foot long and then some other sort of a bay (actually it is a loading bay except that the mandatory words "loading only" are missing - if you have had a parking ticket there, you should appeal) and there is a sign just to the left of the telephone box. What do you mean you couldn't see it from the disabled bay, here is a photo taken from there:

Now if you look carefully, and provided a bus isn't just coming up the road you can see the slim edge of the sign. Does it apply to your space? Mr Mustard thinks it does as the single yellow line is continuous from that sign through your disabled bay. Here are the times:

Now you won't be able to make it out but the no parking times are 8.30am - 10am and 4pm to 6.30pm which when read together with the disabled bay times, means that all 24 hours are covered so this time plate is meant to cover the single yellow line in the disabled bay, even though it is hidden behind 2 telephone boxes.

All this means that the bays for the disabled, apart form being completely unusable 100% of the time because of the no loading at any time instruction, are unusable for part of the morning and part of the afternoon on a Sunday and this is a complete waste of road space. Sundays in Rosebery Avenue are not busy.

Ironically if you drive behind the theatre there is a single yellow line for which a separate time plate doesn't seem to exist so a blue badge holder would have been better off, in parking terms, by parking there.

Mr Mustard has found this to be incredibly complex (he would have sent it to the Transport Select Committee as part of his evidence if he had seen it in time) and he will send it Islington Council to check that he has got it right.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard


  1. Parking law and its enforcement is, (as Mr Mustard no doubt knows), so completely out-of-control that a major re-write of the legislation is essential to restore order. This example is typical and no doubt there are thousands of similar situations throughout Great Britain. The big difference now is the ruthless, venal, and rapacious enforcement by councils who act with any moral framework whatsoever

  2. I agree with Fraser who missed an "out" off the word "with" - councils are morally repugnant, pedantic and money-grubbing.


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