LETTER TO NRA - SEPTEMBER 1997
National Roads Authority
St. Martins House
Dublin 4 September 13, 1997
Dear Sir/ Madam
In the course of my work during the past week I have covered almost 1,200 miles of the western part of Ireland from Kerry to Donegal. Partly because of this but also of my experience over the years, touring the country and out of my discussions with others, both nationals and tourists I must write on the subject of signposting or rather the inadequacy of same all over the place.
I recall reading or possibly hearing an interview somewhere with the chief of the NRA recently in which he made an incredible amount of sense and fully acknowledged the inadequacy in signposting. It was in this interview that I also discovered the reason behind the little numerical signs on main national routes.
In any case there are five main bones of contention which greatly irritate me.
Firstly is the incidence where an attraction or destination is signposted up to a point and before reaching the destination the signposting peters out.
Secondly is the apparent practice of signposting small villages (usually not even on the OS road map of Ireland) and failing to make any reference to main towns. Surely signposts are predominantly for strangers in an area who are in the majority heading for main destinations or attractions and surely the locals know where they're going and have no need for such local signposts. Along with this are the huge amount of major junctions without any signposts at all. Might I suggest that signposting strategy be primarily planned in conjunction with the two most popular road maps in use, namely the Bord Failte map and the Michelin map.
Thirdly is a practice for which you are not by any means to blame, whereby young and perhaps not so young gurriers change signpost directions "for the crack". However I wonder could this not be partly rectified or prevented by a bolt, self tapper or spot of weld attaching the sign bracket directly to the post, along with a publicity campaign requesting locals to change or report misdirected signs.
Fourthly is the dearth of signs both on the approach to towns for directions to the town centre (admittedly not bad) but moreso within towns on how to get out of the town towards another main destination (Showing BOTH national route numbers AND Destinations). About 3 years ago I had a conversation with a poor fellow, in Castlebar from the country for the night, who was wondering which way he should go to get out of town to a particular destination. He told me that he had spent an hour one night driving around the town trying to get out, and Castlebar isn't all that big.
Finally is the lack of confirmation signs when one does take a particular turning. One can drive for up to ten miles before encountering another sign to confirm that one is indeed on the right road.
There are thousands of all the above such incidences which I could indicate on a map and even then it would be by no means exhaustive. Do you have or is there any provision or plan to engage a signpost inspector or regional inspectors for the country. I think such proposal should be investigated with a view to compiling a report in consultation with local authorities, tourism interests and the motoring and transport industries.
I look forward to your reply on the points raised. And in the event that a decision is made to appoint such a person I would be interested in being considered for the job.
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