Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Wrong Street

Someone wrote to me about illegal parking in St James Street, or so I thought: St. James Street is really busy and is part of the Ring Road, so I asked that a letter be sent to the premises in the street concerned to advise them that a zero tolerance approach would be taken to illegal parking, and in due course a meeting with a delegation representing businesses in the street appeared in my diary.

I thought something was amiss when they arrived as the group included people I knew who run businesses in a different part of town, and when they circulated photographs of commercial vehicles unloading in James Street I realised that at my request the traffic wardens aka parking control officers were blitzing the wrong street – St. James Street goes past the former St. James Church between the Bacchus and Admiral pubs; James Street links the Nelson Street car park with Burrard Street and is effectively a cul-de-sac. James Street currently has yellow lines prohibiting parking on both sides, but the many businesses in the street need to be able to have deliveries, so why on earth did I want to adopt a zero tolerance approach to parking?

Good question – I didn’t. I apologised for the case of mistaken identity and a solution to the problem was quickly found, as not only did I propose to replace the yellow lines with some marked unloading bays, but issues like the condition of the pavements, the potential for some al fresco areas and traffic calming were all agreed as needing the Parish’s attention.

Subsquently I’ve found out that I’m not the only person to have been confused by these street names. The landlord of the St. James Wine Bar (confusingly situated not in St. James Street but the other one) regularly gets mail sent to an address across town, and other people have reported to me that it’s a confusing situation.

By coincidence I had a letter recently from the head of the Catholic Church asking why the Parish had not considered renaming a Parish road to reflect the fact that for more than half a century the Portuguese community has been settled in Jersey – James Street seems to me to be eminently suitable:
How does Rua da Madeira sound?


Anonymous said...

Great to see another politician on the blogscene do you think you could convince some of your colleagues to follow suit?

Anonymous said...


There are probably only a handful of current local politicians who I think are intelligent, honest and open enough to be a successful, in keeping their blog interesting, and therefore getting comments, you are one of them.
Good Luck.

Nick Palmer said...

Welcome to blogland Simon. Dare we hope to see TleS and Phil Ozouf joining you?

Nick Palmer

Jason the Maverick said...

I agree, now I would like to see Geoff Southern to set up his own blog and maybe Montfort Tadier. Get close to the people and stop using proxies to get their messages across!

Well done Simon!

Anonymous said...

Dear Simon

As a St Helier resident, I'd love to see a road named in respect of our Portuguese community. They have contributed so much to the island over the years, it would be good for this to be recognised.

TonyTheProf said...

Remarkable. I had no idea about the coincidence of street names. Are there any other streets in St Helier with similarly confusing names?

thejerseyway said...

Nice to see you Blogging, we need more States Members Blogging.
It is something new over here that a lot of people think is what we need. So we can air our views at whats going on in Jersey & not have to rely on our local Media that just gives us spin.
I don't live in your Parish but I lived they for about 11 years, There is a lot you could do to improve our lovely little town, but that's for another day.
For now I think it would be a good idea to rename that street because it does cures problems.
Read you again.

Anonymous said...

Connétable Crowcroft,

Your blog is an excellent alternative medium for St. Helier residents and Islanders to engage in discussion concerning town issues, allowing an enhanced connection between the electorate and its representatives. I wish you every success and hope that you keep blogging when time permits.

I, too, have had a problem with St. James Street and James Street to the extent that I ended up going to the wrong bar for a party! I like the sound of Rua da Madeira; it's a nice gesture of community.

crapaudmatic said...

Greetings, it's good to see another public figure embrace new technology, I look forward to reading more from you...

Anonymous said...

A blogging Connetable who votes for GST exemptions on food and fuel :-)
Thank you. And yes please to Portuguese road names.

By contrast...

Often unelected,vote-en-block connetables who stick together like glue to keep Jersey very right wing.

Thank you for not being like them and good luck with your blog.

Anonymous said...

In the interests of inclusivity I think that naming a St helier street in honour of our Portugese friends is an excellent idea.

Anonymous said...

The subject of illegal parking in James Street isn't by any measure new; I've contact the Parish before with little effect. On many occasions I've had to reverse the length of the street and dangerously out on to the main road because the Parking Control Officers (aka traffic wardens, not the other way round) can't be bothered to do their job properly. MOre than once I've walked by while a PCO has a friendly chat with the mechanic working on a car parked on James Street, and watched as he's walked off leaving a row of cars illegally parked and being worked on (illegal in itself?) on the street. Unloading is one thing, but a business is being operated on public land most days; not to mention the driver of the Bentley parked for hours over most lunchtimes, what's he delivering? Constable; you prove yourself, again, to be out of touch.

As for Rua da Madeira: Would it not make sense to name roads in a language that most people can actually speak? And why James Street? When the Portuguese club operated from there it might have made sense, but they've abandoned it in favour of Minden Street. Now St James Street no longer has the church it was named for, and it's the Church that thinks a new street name is required; seems like you could get rid of the pointlessly named street with the religious reference and put an end to the apparent confusion by renaming St James Street.

Simon Crowcroft said...

Well it's good to get a snide remark at last - it was starting to get embarrassing, all the supportive comments pinging in. I'm afraid there are a couple of misunderstandings in this post: first of all the traffic wardens are not employed by the parish but by the States of Jersey, specifically by the Minister of Transport and Technical Services aka Public Services. So if you have a problem with them I suggest you take it up with Constable Mike Jackson. Personally I think they do a good job under difficult circumstances.
Renaming St James Street is worth considering I suppose, but while the former St James church is still standing I can't see the confusion disappearing - and even if the former St James were to fall down, there's still a pretty good historical reason for keeping the road name.
As for the snide remark, whether I'm out of touch will be up to the voters of St Helier to determine; the next scheduled test of the degree to which I'm in or out of touch will be in January 2011.
(And doesn't blogging count for anything these days?)

Anonymous said...

Constable, you replied to my last comment saying there were a couple of misunderstandings, and that I was unfairly critical, going on to say that the first misunderstanding was regarding who specifically employed the States PCOs.

I know who employs the PCOs constable, are you saying the reason the Parish has taken no apparent action in the past when I've contacted them is because it is not within your remit to ensure the safe and efficient Policing of the roads and streets within the Parish, regardless of ownership by Parish or States? I was under the impression that James Street was a Parish road rather than a States road anyway, could the Parish Wardens not be asked to wander down it on occasion? even if the policing of the street is not done by your staff is it not fair to expect you to take an interest in how a street in your Parish is being policed by the States dept. responsible?

You don't go on to point out the second misunderstanding you believe you recognised in my original post, so I can't comment on what that might be, nor do I see where I've been unfairly critical in stating my opinion; or is any opinion not in line with your way of thinking to be considered unfair?

Simon Crowcroft said...

Without digging out the activity sheets of the staff concerned I can't say whether as you allege 'the Parish has taken no action'. It may be that action was taken, ie, a Parish Warden or Honorary Police officer went to St James Street, or if it was during the day, a traffic warden attended (I still prefer the old designation, don't you?) - but that the action taken was NOT to book the offending vehicles. Because, and this is a second misunderstanding, I suggest, in your original post, a vehicle can be left on a yellow line, so long as it isn't, for example, too close to a junction, to allow unloading or loading to take place. This has been the subject of legal advice from the crown officers in the past - I don't have it to hand, but it will have to be looked at as part of the review of parking strategy the Parish is going to undertake. You are correct in your views about vehicles being worked on in the street, but your request for a zero tolerance attitude to this seems to take us back to the purpose of my original post.
Rather than using this blog for point scoring (I could point out that St James Street, being a States main road, would be much more difficult for the Parish to rename than James Street, which is administered by the Parish) I suggest you contact me in person and I will see whether I can interest you in getting involved in the forthcoming Parking Review. The group of parishioners involved is likely to include hawks and doves and your hawkish contributions to the development of a new parking strategy for St Helier would be welcome.

Anonymous said...

I wish somebody would do something about the cars and vans that park on the pavements.
Many such cars put their hazard warning lights on ( possibly in the belief that this makes their vehicle less obstructive to pedestrians).

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Crowcroft
Could you please secure the safety of pedestrians(especially visitors)who cross New Street/New Cut by way of King Street. Having just avoided the cyclists that use the pedestrianised King Street, one then has to risk being hit on New Street by lads on scooters between the hours of 3pm & 4pm, or at anytime by myopic car drivers who do not read or understand road signs that inform of No Entry other than for buses and taxi's. No police presents seems to equal no one will stop me other than a body (victim) lying in my path.