LETTER TO SEAMUS BRENNAN - Minister for Transport

Minister for Transport
Government Buildings
Kildare Street
Dublin 2                      

Friday, 14 June 2002

Dear Minister Brennan,

I write to extend my congratulations to you on your recent appointment and to wish you the best of luck in your job, but also to get my petition in for something I would like to see seriously confronted during your term in office as just one small but something which could be one of the hugely significant achievements of your office.

I applaud and appreciate the sincere pledge, referenced in the program for government, to “put in place a five year plan to ensure that non national roads are properly signposted”, however, the undeniable and simple truth is that NOT EVEN the National Primary routes are currently properly signposted and with all due respect I strongly advocate that this is the first priority and one that should be achievable in considerably less than 5 years.

For the past five plus years I have been on something of a signposting crusade in Ireland despite having lived outside the country for four of those years. I have written numerous letters to the National Roads Authority (copies attached) receiving only one solitary reply four years ago and regrettably absolutely no satisfaction.

I have documented lots of examples of signposting deficiency from my experience all around Ireland and have contributed observations on sadly ill considered new signposting as it comes on stream with new road developments. I have even started to compile a photo archive and index of specific glaring errors, omissions and inaccuracies.

At this stage I have actually given up hope completely of the NRA’s sincerity or will to even address the situation especially since they seem to continually erect new signposting displaying the same lack of consideration as plague so much of Irish National route signposting.

My request therefore is as follows:

I ask you to appoint me as a sort of Signposting Ombudsman/Inspector for the whole of Ireland on an initial six-month contract. In that time I will compile a detailed inventory of the entire national primary network of Ireland and document all the inadequacies in signposting. I shall consult extensively with all related parties on the subject such as the Gardai, The AA, Bord Failte and other transport bodies. I shall engage in discussions on the media on radio and TV and in the press and solicit feedback and input from the public and tourists and interested bodies. I shall set up a website to facilitate such feedback and disseminate information on our progress. I shall consult with The Ordnance Survey Office and Bord Failte and Michelin to ensure that signposting corresponds, concurs with and compliments the most widely available and utilized maps of Ireland. Obviously I shall also collate and supplement my existing knowledge on National Route signposting around Ireland in the course of further travel around the country annoting, viewing and examining specific instances. I shall also cooperate fully and work completely in cooperation with the NRA and the local authorities but in order for my efforts to succeed I must have the authority, along with the financing, to commission new signposting where, again in close consultation with the authorities, I deem it necessary.

In terms of my ability or qualifications to achieve this job. I can offer extensive experience of working in the Irish tourism industry and with tourists along with the useful perspective of having lived outside the country and having been a tourist myself too. I also have a wealth of experience of travel on the Irish primary routes which has helped me build a keen awareness and oft frustration with signposts or lack of them all over the country. My most current experience has been the marketing of Slán Abhaile, which you may recall from your attendance at our reception recently in the Dropping Well. Apart from the transport insights gained in this project I have made considerable contacts within the media which I would be confident of harnessing in publicising a signposting improvement project – Indeed I think a proposal like this would invite major media attention of it’s own accord.

Minister, I think by the reference to signposting problems and inadequacies in the PfG it is encouraging that this Government at least acknowledge that these are a major issue in Ireland – I don’t believe than any person that travels the roads of Ireland on a regular can possibly argue against that. Personally I believe in order to rectify the situation one person needs to made responsible exclusively for addressing and sorting out the problem, a person with complete authority to do so. I am appealing to you to give me the chance to take on this task and I sincerely believe I can make a monumental difference in as short a space as six months given the power to do so – I can definitely offer the desire and passion to do so already.

And finally, there is one other thing I really believe should be given serious consideration as a simple but effective contribution to breaking traffic log jams which is the introduction of a left turn on red traffic law, similar to the American system (In reverse of course, theirs being “right turn on red”), whereby a car is free to turn left on a red light PROVIDED there is no traffic coming from the right or pedestrians crossing on the left. In effect this system operates the same as a Yield sign.

I look forward to the opportunity to investigate these possibilities further.

Yours Sincerely

Peter Jordan