ROAD SIGNAGE IN IRELAND - 

LETTER TO NRA - April 2002

Signposting Department
National Roads Authority
St Martins House
Waterloo Road
Dublin 4

Monday, 15 April 2002

Dear Sir/ Madam

In the absence of even the courtesy of a reply to my previous correspondence (dated 23rd January) to you yet, I find myself compelled to write to you yet again on the subject of sign-posting.

Like most regular travellers to and from the West of Ireland, I anticipated and very much welcomed the opening of the Enfield bypass last Friday, however, even by the traffic report on Friday afternoon, I was disappointed to hear the regular refrain of two mile tailbacks outside Enfield, owing to, as the report said, "confusion by motorists heading for Galway". On hearing this my simple reaction was "signposts?"

On heading West myself on Saturday morning, I arrived at the new roundabout on the Dublin side of Enfield, leading to the new section of road and, sure enough, all that was in evidence was a sign, on the approach, for Sligo and none for Galway or Westport or Castlebar. Then on the roundabout itself was a sign for "All other routes". Continuing along the new road and approaching the second new roundabout, I encountered signs for Sligo again and this time a sign for Galway too (Still no Westport or Castlebar) and, on the roundabout, another one of those wonderfully ambiguous "All other routes".

Echoing all my previous correspondence on the whole matter of National sign posting planning, I am compelled to inquire what "cretin" is responsible for this latest sign-posting cock-up? I do not apologise for my use of words, because it is nothing less than yet another example of totally unconsidered, un-thought out, token sign posting, yet again erected on a Main National Route. I have been informed in previous correspondence, both from yourselves and the Minister for the Environment's Office, that your body has responsibility for National Route Sign-posting and planning and yet again the logic, or lack of, in this NEW sign-posting show no trace of any planning or consultation process.

Can you not appreciate the ambiguity of a sign "All other routes" for people approaching a roundabout, even at 40mph. Can you not appreciate the mentality or impulse of an average driver, when encountering a sign for "All other routes", their natural impulse or necessity is to engage in a mental process of elimination by attempting to read the other signs, to figure out exactly which routes are included and excluded from "all other routes". Can you not see the idiocy and lack of continuity in placing signs at the end of the bypass for Galway and Sligo while only placing one for Sligo at the beginning of it? The phrase "You can't get there from here" springs to mind for this, along with countless other examples around the country.

Can you not appreciate the nonsensical situation, whereby there are no signs whatsoever on the new road for Castlebar or Westport (The N5), yet in the past, somewhere someone decreed that there was a necessity to include them in a confirmation signpost, less than 100 yards on the Western side of the bypass?

Does your department even attempt to take on board the suggestions and criticisms, which I imagine you receive on a regular basis? Are you so arrogant and self righteous that you refuse to acknowledge or learn anything from past errors, but instead are adamantly determined to repeat, again and again, the same mistakes, even on new road development sign posting such as this and Kinnegad and Sligo and Claremorris?

Yet again I have to ask, is there not one person in charge to address and co-ordinate this issue and to take responsibility and show leadership and collate feedback. If there is not, why not and if there is, what the hell are they up to and do they actually even drive the roads to experience the situation themselves? I would suggest that if there is indeed a person in charge, that their track record raises serious questions about their judgement and their competency for the position, as well as their diligence and dedication to their job, where blatant examples of their inadequacy confront them, and everyone else, everywhere they drive in the country.

Finally, again I conclude with an offer or self-serving suggestion. If you have no one to take on the job of sorting out Ireland's signposts give me the job. Give me a six month contract and I'll drive all the roads of Ireland (I'll even quote you a price as a self-employed person, consultancy plus travel plus incidental expenses - You don't need take me on full time). I'll get on to the media and drum up public feedback and suggestions and criticisms. I'll co-ordinate efforts with Bord Failte and The Ordnance Survey Office and Michelin to ensure that sign posting concurs with maps in circulation for Ireland. On an ongoing basis and at the end of the six months I'll submit reports backed up with photographic evidence and other documentation of suggestions and recommendation on what should be done by way of improvement.

Incidentally, even before this latest incident, I'd been meaning to write to you again. Some weeks ago on the N60 approaches to my local village of Breaffy, outside Castlebar, two new standard town and village type signs were erected, EVEN THOUGH the local community council had already in place two attractive and coherent limestone signs for the village, erected as a Millennium project back in 1999, both within 50 yards of the two new signposts. Is there not something inherently wrong with both County and National level sign-posting, that totally un-needed signs, such as these, can be erected on secondary national routes, when the primary national routes are crying out with glaring examples of sign post omissions? If you can justify this, 'cos I can't, I'd welcome an answer.

Yours Sincerely

Peter Jordan

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