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London traffic: Mystery placard-waving woman warns unwitting drivers of £130 fine

A vigilante has been turning cars around to help drivers dodge £130 fines after a road was switched to a bus lane.

The woman, whose name is unknown, has been regularly spotted wearing a high-vis jacket and holding a placard on Turnham Green Terrace in Chiswick.

Signs at either end of the road have been missed by hundreds of drivers over the last four months after it was changed to a bus, taxi and cycle lane in July.

The woman has been praised online for spending hours of her day standing on the road to warn drivers to turn around. Drivers have then performed nifty three-point turns to avoid the fine.

Others revealed some drivers did not understand and shouted at her for getting in their way.

A passerby told Chiswick W4: ‘She is trying to help people – but they are screaming at her.’ 

The mystery woman is the latest saga in Sadiq Khan’s war on motorists, with Covid used as an excuse to bring in anti-vehicle measures: 

  • Parking spaces are being quietly replaced by Covid-friendly seats and cycle bays called ‘Parklets’;
  • A cycle lane brought in as lockdown measures eased to try and reduce car numbers in London was removed after causing traffic chaos; 
  • Footage emerged of a fire engine becoming stuck in a road block, put in place to create a ‘Covid friendly’ cycle lanes;
  • Startling pictures revealed how many of London’s growing array of cycle lanes lie empty, while traffic piles up in narrowed roads nearby;
  • The AA criticised an affluent London council that was fining drivers for using public roads, accusing it of ‘just trying to raise revenues’;
  • London’s drivers could soon be forced to stump up £27.50 each day as part of a Government bailout of TfL. 

The woman (pictured), whose name is unknown, has been regularly spotted wearing a high-vis jacket and holding a placard on Turnham Green Terrace in Chiswick

A note on Hounslow Borough Council’s website revealed the change was a ‘trial’ to prevent traffic and encourage cycling amid coronavirus. It will be reviewed early next year.

Any parking along the road has been merged with the footpath to allow for social distancing. 

The note read: ‘The existing pay and display parking bays, where not being used for loading or blue badge parking purposes, will be suspended, thereby “widening” the footway and increasing the social distancing capabilities for pedestrians.’

But the change has shocked residents, with many facing a £130 penalty notice because they missed the signs.

Since it was brought in, one woman has taken matters into her own hands by standing at the end of the road to turn traffic around.

The woman has been praised online for spending hours of her day standing on the road to warn drivers to turn around. Drivers have then performed nifty three-point turns on the road

The woman has been praised online for spending hours of her day standing on the road to warn drivers to turn around. Drivers have then performed nifty three-point turns on the road

Signs (pictured) at either end of the road have been missed by drivers who were unaware it was changed to a bus, taxi and cycle lane in July

Signs (pictured) at either end of the road have been missed by drivers who were unaware it was changed to a bus, taxi and cycle lane in July

A taxi driver called Kevin took to Twitter to praise her. He said: ‘Turnham green terrace today a woman with homemade sign telling drivers if they drive down it it’s a £130 fine I turned in and didn’t even see sign. Taxis are exempt but fair play to the lady the police were trying to stop her telling drivers.’

Sarah Spateri said: ‘Fantastic woman! Give her a medal ! These restrictions are ill thought through and rushed in without consulting local residents. There won’t be any businesses left in TG terrace soon, am assuming this is Hounslow council’s objective as I can see no other advantage.’

Lise Cooke added: ‘We call her the Turnham Green Fairy.’

David Jackson blasted the ‘blatant money making exercise’. He added: ‘A ridiculous scheme forcing traffic into gridlock.’

The change has shocked residents, with many facing a £130 penalty notice because they missed the signs. Since it was brought in one woman took matters into her own hands by standing at the end of the road to turn traffic around

The change has shocked residents, with many facing a £130 penalty notice because they missed the signs. Since it was brought in one woman took matters into her own hands by standing at the end of the road to turn traffic around

A taxi driver called Kevin took to Twitter to praise her. He said: 'Turnham green terrace today a woman with homemade sign'

A taxi driver called Kevin took to Twitter to praise her. He said: ‘Turnham green terrace today a woman with homemade sign’

Addressing MP Brentford & Isleworth MP Ruth Cadbury, who suggested the fine be appealed, one man wrote: 'The issue is more than many people are being caught out by the poor signage at both ends of Turnham Green Terrace'

Addressing MP Brentford & Isleworth MP Ruth Cadbury, who suggested the fine be appealed, one man wrote: ‘The issue is more than many people are being caught out by the poor signage at both ends of Turnham Green Terrace’

The mystery vigilante comes as Sadiq Khan’s ‘war on motorist’ hotted up in recent weeks, with threats of a £27.50-per-day congestion charge covering most of London.

The Mayor of London claimed ministers were demanding he extend the £15 congestion zone to the North and South circulars as a condition for financial support as TfL suffers under coronavirus lockdown.

Motorists were hit particularly hard as measures were brought in place to encourage more cycling in London.

Earlier this month, the Euston Road cycle lane – brought in as lockdown measures eased to try and reduce car numbers in London – was removed after causing traffic chaos. 

The fire engine became blocked as it attempted to enter a road which has been shut off to motorised vehicles

Firefighters had to continue on foot after it became trapped between a planter and a car

A fire engine became blocked as it attempted to enter a road which has been shut off to motorised vehicles. Firefighters had to continue on foot after it became trapped between a planter and a car

Changes to streets, which saw some roads closed to traffic except for pedestrians and cyclists, have caused major problems in parts of London, as workers returned to offices, but avoided public transport to ensure they were complying with social distancing measures.

Pop-up cycle lanes on either side of Euston Road were opened by TfL in July, with 20mph speed limits for passing motorists, but just three months later, London’s transport commissioner announced it would be removed.

The cycle lanes have made travel in London by car almost impossible, and wreaked havoc with emergency services.

Last month, footage emerged of a fire engine stuck in a road block, put in place to create a ‘Covid friendly’ cycle lanes.

The video showed the blue-lit emergency vehicle wedged between a wooden planter and a parked white car in Ferndale, south London.

As firefighters ditched the vehicle and made the short walk to the nearby incident, one angry resident could be heard raging against the scheme, saying: ‘You are trying to say this is good for us?’

Businesses on Turnham Green Terrace have complained the traffic scheme has reduced custom and made surviving the coronavirus lockdown harder.

Another car is turned around after reading the woman's homemade sign that warned of a £130 fine if the driver continued

Another car is turned around after reading the woman’s homemade sign that warned of a £130 fine if the driver continued

Drivers have slammed Hounslow Borough council for putting up small road signs that warn the road is closed to motorists

Drivers have slammed Hounslow Borough council for putting up small road signs that warn the road is closed to motorists

Joanna Bishop took to social media to say a shop owner was in ‘tears’. She wrote: ‘Pull plug on LTNs/roadclosures in chiswick. 

‘A Shop owner in tears Turnham Green Terrace this week as road closure destroying her business, and others too. Buses lose lane to bicycles so running late, Chiswick Hi Rd disaster now.’ 

Another shopkeeper with a business along the road, a man called Rodney, complained Turnham Green Terrace was completely empty of traffic. 

Another social media user added: ‘The point Rodney is making I believe is after half a century of trading successfully on Turnham Green Terrace his business has been decimated by an ill thought out scheme which he not any traders had any control over and totally illogical planning across Chiswick.’

Another said: ‘My 73 year old father got a ticket in the mail for unwittingly driving down Turnham Green Terrace a few days ago due to that poor signage. 

‘@LBofHounslow & @RuthCadbury you should be absolutely ashamed of yourselves. A blatant money grab affecting innocent people.’ 

Addressing MP Brentford & Isleworth MP Ruth Cadbury, who suggested the fine be appealed, one man wrote: ‘The issue is more than many people are being caught out by the poor signage at both ends of Turnham Green Terrace. 

David Jackson blasted the 'blatant money making exercise'. He added: 'A ridiculous scheme forcing traffic into gridlock'

David Jackson blasted the ‘blatant money making exercise’. He added: ‘A ridiculous scheme forcing traffic into gridlock’

Businesses nearby have complained the traffic scheme has reduced custom and made surviving the coronavirus lockdown harder

Businesses nearby have complained the traffic scheme has reduced custom and made surviving the coronavirus lockdown harder

‘Many unwitting people are seeing a wide open main road and not expecting it to be closed, the tiny signage is not helping.’

Posting a photograph of a small sign, Daniel Grendowicz wrote: ‘can you please explain why there was no obvious prior warning about the restriction on motor vehicles on Turnham Green Terrace aside from this small sign which is almost impossible to see when turning left?’ 

Peter Haynes said: ‘Can you tell me how long Turnham Green Terrace hasn’t allowed cars to use it. I have used this road for years and I now have a Failing to comply notice.52J You must know a tiny little sign above a speed camera sign is hard to acknowledge.’

Photographer Alastair Hilton shared an image of the entrance to Turnham Green Terrace. Drivers who take the first exit off a mini-roundabout could miss the signs

Photographer Alastair Hilton shared an image of the entrance to Turnham Green Terrace. Drivers who take the first exit off a mini-roundabout could miss the signs

In September, Hounslow London Borough had issued 4,024 Penalty Traffic Notices in Devonshire Rd and Turnham Green Terrace since earlier this summer, according to the Chiswick Calendar.

If those drivers all paid the full £130, the council would already have made half a million – £523,120. But most drivers pay within a discount period, meaning it’s reduced to £65. 

As of Wednesday, September 30, 1,487 drivers had paid the PCN. A total of 1,449 of those paid during the discount period and 38 paid £130. It means the council made £99,125 from the road changes.

A petition against the road change has 7,198 signitures so far.

MailOnline has contacted Hounslow Borough Council for comment.  

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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