Category Archives: Yellow Lines

Yellow lines tell us no more than we already know

I’ve spent a good deal of time looking into the issue of parking in Faversham’s town centre, first of all campaigning against the proposal to paint yellow lines and then working as a member of the Public Realm Group.

What I understand is that the yellow lines were painted to distinguish between a) where there would be room to park in the evening (single yellow line) and b) where there wouldn’t be (double yellow lines). The view was taken that people wouldn’t be able to judge this for themselves. I don’t agree that people can’t judge for themselves – especially when the consequence is that the public realm of the town is defaced with yellow paint, a public realm that I used to speak about in conference presentations around the world as being rare, remarkable and beautiful for having no road markings.

But this is the view that was taken. And it fits a pattern. For about a century, traffic engineers have thought that they know better than road users, hence guardrailing that stops people crossing roads where they want to and endless signage that tells people things they either know already or didn’t ever need to know.

Anyone can check the logic of the yellow lines for themselves. If you walk around the town centre you can see that the double lines are painted where the road is narrow and the single lines are painted where it’s wide. The yellow lines tell us no more than what we can already see for ourselves. Continue reading Yellow lines tell us no more than we already know

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Faversham Town Council votes for Yellow Lines around the Guildhall

It isn’t always that expert advice aligns with public opinion. So, when it does, how should a town council respond? 

With former presidents of the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Royal Town Planning Institute against the painting of yellow lines around Faversham’s historic Guildhall, as well as knighted architects and the chairman of the Academy of Urbanism, you might take notice of the issue. 

When 85% of people voting in a public poll also oppose the idea you would do well to sit up and pay attention. 

But what did Faversham Town Council do this evening?
Quite the opposite. It voted to ignore both the experts and the public. It voted to deface a cherished building by painting yellow lines around it; yellow lines that will continue to allow people to park in front of the building; that will leave us all staggered at the gall of our elected representatives.

For yellow lines 6
Abstain 4
Against 2 (Belsom, Hook)

Faversham Guildhall in Bloom

How can the space around the Guildhall in Faversham be improved?

How can the heart of the town look more attractive to residents and visitors alike?

How can vehicles be prevented from parking outside and blocking the view of the historic Guildhall?

How can outdoor dining be better accommodated?

How can more safe space be made for pedestrians?

In response to these questions Morrison Brink Stonor Architects has developed a proposal to extend the stone plinth beneath the Guildhall, thereby removing the space available for vehicles to park there. And we’ve added planters to further dissuade drivers.

This is a first sketch of the design concept. The planters could be differently shaped. They could be replaced with bollards. They could incorporate benches. There could be more of them or fewer of them. They could be on lockable wheels. Or the market could work around them.

There will be a cost to extending the plinth but the planters could be put in place first.

It’s a vision of how Faversham could be. And of course it’s a pleasant alternative to painting double yellow lines around the Guildhall, lines that won’t even stop vehicles parking in front of the Guildhall because Blue Badge holders will still be able to park on them.

Next steps are to consult with the Town and Borough Councils, Faversham Society and people generally. We’ve taken some initial soundings and had positive responses. Quite rightly several people said this could only go ahead if it didn’t interrupt the market. We have had an initial meeting with the Market Manager and the idea was well received since it makes the market bigger and better by removing vehicles and parking.