The road outside my house is currently closed due to a collapsed drain. It wouldn’t be such a big deal if it wasn’t the main road from Hammersmith to Barnes and is usually very busy on a weekday morning and evening.
But what frustrates me isn’t the lack of regular buses going past my house, or that I have to walk 20/30 minutes down the road to the train station. It’s that there has been no communication from the local council (London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames) to tell us what’s going on.
They have been completely silent on why the road is closed or even if/when it’ll reopen.
My first piece of information was at a bus stop where a digital sign informed me the road was closed.
Then today there have been no letters or signs detailing what’s happening to the residence that live down here. There are at least a couple of hundred.
What happened when I looked at their social media profiles? Well there was nothing on Twitter or Facebook until I posted this:
@OliverNeedham The rd is due be re-opened tmr (Tues 25 Nov), with temp 2-way traffic signals. Works will continue to fix the damage sewer.
— Richmond Council (@LBRUT) November 24, 2014
Then they posted the same thing, but without my name so others could read it who don’t follow the council and I.
But what about those who don’t have social media, or those that do but wouldn’t ever look at their local council’s profiles?
They are in the dark more so than before I tweeted them.
There’s an elderly lady who lives on the ground of the house. She will have no clue what’s going on unless someone tells her. I know that she relies on prescription deliveries. How does the driver know that he can get to her house a particular way or that the road will be re-opened tomorrow? He probably doesn’t.
The other major concern is that since I’ve been sat here writing this post, approximately 10-20 cars have mounted the pavement one side of the roadworks to get to where they want to. I saw pedestrians walking in the opposite direction have to move out the way. And it’s not just tonight, I saw it last night too.
I did call 101 out of fear last night that I’d wake up with a car in the hole in the road this morning. Lots of cars were heading down this way and had to suddenly break when they realised the road was actually closed. As apposed to ‘closed’ for the sake of it. A police car did come down, have a glance and then disappear into the night.
For interest, I put my GoPro outside my window and did a short timelapse. In this time I captured lots of cyclists going through, lots of cars and even someone going through my neighbour’s driveway to get round the roadworks. You can find it below.
So what can Richmond Council do better? Do a short letter telling everyone what’s going on. Use their email addresses if they’ve registered for council tax online to tell them what’s going on and most importantly, come down and check that the road closure is safe! That’s my main concern here.