7 August 2013

The long way round

or go to Marks & Spencers in the High Rd or your corner shop?

Yesterday Mr Mustard had to pop to North Finchley. He took his motorbike so that he could park in the Lodge Lane car park for free. He was wearing a Mr Mustard t-shirt and a couple of people stopped him to say hello which was nice.

A visitor from Haringey couldn't believe that his coins were of no use. He had come out without his credit/debit card ready to spend his folding money in the local shops and was about to leave as he was going to follow the advice of Barnet Council and park elsewhere, which was going to be back in Haringey. Mr Mustard took the man's £1.30 and put a Mr Mustard credit card in the parking meter for him and handed over the ticket.

Then a lady told him that she was sick of listening to the PayByPhone message which, whilst you are actually trying to PayByPhone, pointlessly tells you that you can download an App or use the website. That is her time being frittered away on every visit, she doesn't like it. John, more of him later, told Mr Mustard that using the App is slower than using the calling up method. It is also very much harder when the sun is shining brightly as it was yesterday as flat screens are pretty useless except in the shade.

Mr Mustard took a while to get where he was going but that didn't matter as he wasn't in a rush. He did notice that from the far end of the car park where Mr Mustard had put his motorbike out of the way, that it was impossible to see the debit/credit card meter because there is a car space somewhat perilously placed right in front of it. Mr Mustard seems to recall suggesting to Cllr Dean Cohen, whose responsibilities include parking, that signs in the Car Park would be a good idea. He couldn't find his email so simply sent another one today. Let's see how long it takes before signs are put up alerting people to the presence of a debit/credit card meter. Surely the council want people to use these shiny new meters?

Now John, a splendid gentleman who paid for his parking with the App but couldn't remember the location number and has to check on the board every time, had different information for Mr Mustard about the hole in the road that is Totteridge Lane at the moment and here it is:

Hello Mr. Mustard,
It was interesting to meet you in the Lodge Lane car park today (and you too John). You suggested that I send you my thoughts on the Totteridge Lane diversion routes - so here goes.

During road works in the top stretch of Totteridge Lane, traffic is not allowed to enter Totteridge Lane from the High Road in Whetstone. Barnet Council have published two alternative routes, both of which are ludicrously long. They may be necessary for large vehicles, but there are much shorter routes suitable for cars.

Route 1 is to go south on the High Road to North Finchley, Ballards Lane, Alexandra Grove, Argyle Road, Chanctonbury Way, Southover, Longland Drive to Totteridge Lane. A much shorter route is to leave the High Road via Woodside Lane and take Ridgeview Road and Naylor Road to Totteridge Lane.

Route 2 is even more crazy (Mr Mustard thought Route 1 was pretty crazy). It is to go north on the High Road and continue all the way to Barnet Church. Then go via Wood Street and Barnet Road through Arkley to Stirling Corner. Then south on the A1 almost to Apex Corner and follow Marsh Lane, Highwood Hill, Totteridge Common, Totteridge Village to Totteridge Lane. A much shorter route is to turn left at the bottom of Barnet Hill, onto Mays Lane, then via Barnet Lane to Totteridge Village and Totteridge Lane.

The Whetstone branch of Waitrose has a car park entered from Totteridge Lane, just below the road works. I understand Waitrose issued leaflets to customers, recommending the alternative routes which I have suggested above. Waitrose were contacted by the Council and told that they must advise customers to use the official routes and not the alternatives. Waitrose complied and changed their leaflets. I do not understand what authority the council have to issue such instructions to Waitrose.
Yours sincerely

Of course local people will take the shorter routes that they know but sending strangers 10 miles out of their way isn't good for the planet and will probably be defeated by satnav. What was somebody thinking? If you have copies of the leaflets please send them to mrmustard@zoho.com

Here is the 200 yard journey turned into one of 10 miles.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

Update: Unusually Cllr Dean Cohen has responded the same day and will get officers to sort out signs in the car park. Good man.

Second update: The Waitrose issued maps above shows their North Finchley store and the joke is that if coming north up Ballards Lane intending to go to Waitrose N20 you would be directed left by the council's sign 50m before the N Finchley store. Great.

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