However when my pal came out of the off licence armed with a bottle of Spanish red, to his horror he found a parking ticket flapping under his windscreen wiper. Gotcha! Liverpool City Council had just made themselves sixty quid richer. Kerching!
We’ve all been there haven’t we? It’s enough to wreck your evening or your day or even your week-end. Poor sod, he’d been in the shop for literally less than five minutes, had no sooner rushed into said shop when the ambush had been sprung.
You have to hand it to the men and women of Liverpool city council traffic department, they don’t hang around these boys and girls. Park illegally and they’ll be on your back before you can say ‘a bottle of Rioja and a bag of salted peanuts, please?’
Heartening to know that our city council’s traffic wardens are so motivated, so efficient, so conscientious.
Oh yes, they are conscientious alright – sometimes. It all depends...
A few months ago I happened to be driving through Liverpool city centre, given the volume of traffic that habitually congregates in this part of the city it's something I ordinarily avoid, but thanks to roadworks, on this occasion I had no choice.
Cussing and cursing I drove down London Road, one of the city’s busiest roads, where the entire city’s bus fleet seems to gather. Linking the Royal Liverpool Hospital to the city centre you can imagine how busy this road can become.
Suddenly, without warning, a lorry swerved in front of me obliging me to slam on my brakes. Phew! A close call. It seems the driver of the lorry had made an error of judgement.
Driving in the left hand lane of the dual carriageway the driver had come upon a line of cars parked on double yellow lines. Probably he had not expected to find half a dozen vehicles illegally parked on the road, but that’s exactly what he had found. To avoid hitting this fleet of cars he had swerved into my path.
Only mildly shocked I drove to my destination.
Until I happened to be walking down said road a few weeks later I had thought nothing more of the incident, dismissing it as one of those things. I was wrong.
Approaching the spot where the incident had occurred I was shocked to see a line of half a dozen cars... parked on double yellow lines! Just feet away buses and cars trundled past, some of them edging over to the right hand side of the carriageway in an effort to give the illegally parked cars a wide berth. Déjà vu.
Where, wondered I, were the intrepid men and women of Liverpool city council parking services, whose offices are but a short walk away from this area. Something wasn’t adding up here.
Park on double yellow lines while you nip into an off licence for a couple of minutes in an anonymous suburb of the city and you’ll be slapped with an instantaneous parking ticket.
Park on double yellows on one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares, within spitting distance of the council offices, and you will get away with your offence scot free seemingly.
Curiosity aroused, the next day I walked down London road once again and found the same situation: a row of cars illegally parked along the same stretch of road.
All very odd.
I looked around. The half dozen cars were parked in front of a row of shops selling kebabs. Was that significant? I assumed not.
Being a public spirited chap I felt I ought to do something. After all, those double yellow lines are there for a reason: safety. Had I not myself come within inches of a potentially serious road traffic incident?
Knowing how anxious our traffic wardens are to enforce parking regulations, I couldn’t work out why they were not enforcing the rules on this particular stretch of road. Surely they were not turning a blind eye to a potentially dangerous situation?
I thus sent an e-mail to Liverpool city council traffic services describing my near accident. As part of their charter, the council promise to respond to all enquiries/complaints within forty-eight hours. I awaited the response with interest.
None was forthcoming.
Two weeks later, and still not having received a reply to my original missive, I re-sent the same mail. Once again, no reply was forthcoming. Curiouser and curiouser.
Liverpool city council traffic service had, for reasons best known to themselves, decided to blatantly ignore my e-mail.
So there you have it. Should you wish to park your vehicle in Liverpool city centre, free of charge, for as long as you like, simply find your way to London Road where the traffic wardens of Liverpool fear to tread.