in the forest of signs

Sometime ago now - perhaps two months? - Ashfield Council began an attempt to re-calibrate the vehicular flow through this part of Summer Hill. The main shopping area of the suburb lies in Lackey Street, between the Railway Station at one end and the junction with Smith Street at the other. A lot of through traffic goes along past the station on Carlton Crescent and a lot more used to use Smith Street for the same reason; it looks as if it is to regulate this second flow that the Council has constructed four new examples of what it calls Traffic Calming Devices aka Speed Bumps or, in New Zealand, Judder Bars. There are now at least six pedestrian crossing, most of them raised, in the tiny area around the skewed crossroads at the end of this street, where Morris joins Smith and then, slightly further along, Smith joins Lackey. Each crossing comes with its complement of signage in black on fluorescent yellow/green, black on grey, black on fluorescent orange, so that to enter the hub of Summer Hill these days is to enter a veritable forest of signs. There's so much to read I don't know how drivers can concentrate on their driving, let alone avoid the pedestrians who, despite all the crossings and all that signage, continue to wander at will from corner to sleepy corner. The one thing the Council seems to have missed is that many of those leaving Summer Hill via this street, Morris, tend to do so at high speed, despite the narrowness of the way, the primary school just up the road or the alarming dip beyond the intersection with Lorne Street. In other words this is a well known hoon's parade and the Council's response - painting a section of the tarmac red to signal a 40 km/h zone - seems likely to have zero or even a counteractive effect. Today, a fortnight-long mystery was solved when a truckload of workers stopped outside my building and attached signs to the two silver poles they had previously driven into the footpath. These signs announce the 40 km/h zone, advise that this is an area frequented by pedestrians and carry silhouette images of said pedestrians in case, I guess, drivers need to be reminded what they look like ... the thing I don't understand is why, once these splendid signs were attached, the workers covered them over with sheets of a grey, sticky adhesive, making them functionally unreadable - is there to be an Unveiling? An Opening? Perhaps even a Mayoral Visit?

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