Green road closure signs removed after motorists baffled

A council is ripping down signs celebrating road closures in low traffic neighbourhoods amid fears they are “confusing to drivers”. Green signs declaring “ROAD OPEN TO” pedestrians, cyclists, wheelchair users and scooters are being removed by Ealing Council from controversial planters and bollards used to shut streets to traffic. The sign was created by Sarah Berry, a cycling and “car dependency” campaigner, and has been used across the country where roads have been closed to through traffic as part of Grant Shapps’s “green transport revolution”. 

However, residents in the West London borough have claimed they have led to widespread confusion because the signs say “Road Open” alongside or near “no vehicle access” signs.  To make matters worse, they say motorists have been caught and fined by Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras (ANPR) having entered closed roads after encountering “mixed messages” from road signs. Ealing Council said an “interim assessment” required a review of signage in low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) which found the green cycling campaign signs  “no longer relevant” and should be removed, along with blockades. 

Instead, those neighbourhoods where roads have been closed now have no motor vehicles signs and a symbol warning of possible fines by ANPR for those driving into closed roads. “It’s so confusing. Motorists driving through these LTNs only see the words ‘Road Open’, so rightly think the road is anything but closed,” said Lorna O’Driscoll of One Ealing which is opposed to LTNs. “Moments later, there is the red sign saying it is closed, but by then the mixed messages have caused confusion.

A lot of elderly people got fined thinking the road was indeed open.  “How many people have been fined because they do not known which sign to believe.” The council insisted the 40 signs used had been purchased, fitted and taken away by its contractor at no cost to the council. However, they admitted some penalty charge notices issued for people entering closed roads had been challenged over “confusion around signage”. 

Asked about the use of cycling campaigners’ sign, a Department for Transport spokesperson said: “All traffic signs must comply with the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016, or be specially authorised by the Secretary of State.

“The department has not authorised the use of this traffic sign.”