The streets of Wapping where calm this morning – until local residents told oblivious drivers that the High Street bus gate was now in operation and they could be hit with a £130 fine.
Inadequate warning signs and a lack of any official presence by Tower Hamlets Council were partially responsible as well as the very simple fact that there is no ‘bus gate’ as such.
Bus gate? What bus gate?
So if drivers aren’t warned of a new bus gate in operation and can’t see anything that looks like a bus gate then, guess what, they will not realise there is one.
LW and various other bus gate geeks were out and about from around 8am this morning but all seemed quiet.
Vehicles of all types drove through the bus gate because they were completely unaware of its existence.
A councillor to be relied on
Cllr. Andrew Wood, councillor for Canary Wharf, was the only person from the Council we could see on scene at Wapping High Street observing what was going on and talking to residents.
Our local councillors were nowhere to be seen. But at least they are consistent.
Andrew Wood had to point out to LW where the bus gate monitoring camera was (see photos) as it is not obvious.
It was not until just before 9am when several residents came out and flagged down unsuspecting drivers just before they hit the bus gate, telling them what was going on and advising them to turn round.
Which they promptly did.
Signs? What signs?
As a result Wapping High Street was blocked for some time as there is no space to easily do a u-turn. And unless signs are posted at a point to provide warning before drivers hit the gate then this chaos will continue.
Even the crew of a MPS traffic car were unsure if they would be ticketed if they drove through the gate and so parked up for a while before turning round to be on the safe side.
Cllr. Wood has told us that he found three Council officers in the area after we left the scene and has managed to get answers to his and residents questions – see his tweet at bottom of this page and please read the full thread.
For the first couple of weeks drivers will just be sent warning notices rather than demands for the £130 fines incurred by driving through the bus gate when it is in operation.
Many thanks to the Wapping residents who took matters into their own hands and made drivers aware of what was going on.
There was not much traffic disruption in Wapping this morning because few people realised the bus gate was operating.
If drivers heading west towards Tower Bridge are given adequate warning that the bus gate is operating then they will want to (a) stop and (b) turn around.
Which is where the problems happen. Because there is nowhere for them to turn around. It’s Wapping High Street.
There also seem to be no warning signs on The Highway to stop people driving into Wapping which seems daft as residents have been told that the main goal of the gate was to stop drivers using Wapping as a rat run.
Council continues to ignore residents views
In addition there remains the inexcusable blanket ban on all vehicles including those of residents.
On the whole Wapping residents don’t drive in E1W for the sheer fun of it, they drive because they have no other choice.
Tower Hamlets Council might like to try listening to residents views for a change but we think that is very unlikely to happen.
Email the Council at email@example.com with your comments & feedback, first review in 6 months now not 18, copy me in on firstname.lastname@example.org as curious to see how this works, so will also visit again later @LoveWapping @WappingLondon pic.twitter.com/95zImFxdkz
— Andrew Wood (@Andrewwood17) November 13, 2019