Town centre drivers to be hit by blitz
DRIVERS who ignore signs banning them from town centre streets could be targeted in a pre-Christmas blitz by police in Ipswich.Councillors and officials at Civic Centre are hoping to persuade the police to step up the pressure on drivers.
DRIVERS who ignore signs banning them from town centre streets could be targeted in a pre-Christmas blitz by police in Ipswich.
Councillors and officials at Civic Centre are hoping to persuade the police to step up the pressure on drivers.
There is mounting anger about the number of drivers ignoring the traffic bans – and some officials and councillors have described police inaction as "pathetic."
Ordinary motorists have been banned from many roads in the town centre, including Upper Brook Street, Dogs Head Street, Museum Street, and part of High Street, for three years.
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When the ban was originally introduced, police and traffic wardens stopped vehicles and handed out tickets.
Over the last year, however, there has been little enforcement and the number of vehicles using the roads illegally has increased significantly.
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Only buses, taxis, cycles, delivery vehicles, and some cars with disabled stickers should use these roads.
"We want the police to have a blitz on these drivers to get the message across," one council official said.
"The increased number of cars using the roads has been noticed, and a lot of people think the police reaction has been pretty pathetic really."
Council transport spokesman Harold Mangar is due to meet senior police officers later this month and the problem of cars illegally using the town's streets is due to be brought up then.
A police spokeswoman said officers are aware of concerns expressed by town councillors in respect of the policing of Ipswich's town centre gyratory system.
Meetings have taken place between senior officers from Ipswich and representatives from the council to discuss possible improvements.
Initiatives designed to educate the motoring public about the new access regulations and to enforce restrictions have been carried out.
Police press releases, which gave advice about the restrictions have been carried by the local media and a campaign in June this year resulted in 50 fixed penalty notices being issued in the area, while an additional 45 motorists were cautioned.
Chris Mayhew, Sector Commander for Ipswich said; "Police in Ipswich have many competing demands for their time and attention, we will continue to police the gyratory system, to ensure the safety of pedestrians and legitimate motorists, to the extent made possible by current resources."
The problem should ease early next year when the council starts block paving the streets.
Upper Brook Street should be first – and that will be closed to all traffic for several weeks while the work is underway.
It will be followed by Dogs Head Street and Museum Street as the pedestrianisation of the town centre continues.
Engineers at Civic Centre believe that paved streets will be a deterrent to drivers who might otherwise use the streets.
Meanwhile a new 20mph speed limit is being introduced on all roads inside Ipswich's central zone.
This will apply to all roads inside the area bounded by Star Lane, Waterworks Street, Bond Street, St Margaret's Street, Crown Street, Civic Drive, Franciscan Drive, and Greyfriars Street.
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