Monday 1 June 2015

Road Closure

The road I live on is closed. A house needs some work done on it. The house wall is tight against the road and that part of the road is also narrow. Scaffolding to work on the house now stands to the middle of the road, so the road is closed to vehicles for two weeks

Should I change the road in Openstreetmap to reflect this temporary closure? I have decided not to change it. Anyone trying to use the road in a vehicle will be directed by another route, by the signs. Most are locals so they will know the alternatives anyway. If I make a change to OSM and someone downloads a snapshot of the data with that change in place they may not download a new version for a while and have the break in the road long after it has actually reopened. Anyway the road exists - it's just not accessible to vehicles for a while.

This closure has caused some very poor driving standards to surface. The alternative routes are small residential roads with parked cars and tight and narrow corners. People using these routes seem to need to take out some annoyance with their normal route being closed by roaring through these streets at ludicrous speeds with no intention to give way to anyone else.

The closure was a surprise to me. I saw a sign go up announcing the closure a couple of days before it happened. When I tried to find out why the road was being closed I drew a blank. The council didn't respond to my request for information and searching their website produced nothing at all. A neighbour pointed out that there was a notice in the local newspaper which was reproduced online. Few few people still read the Hull Daily Mail - it has been steadily descending way below mediocrity for many years.  The online notice didn't appear in my searches because it is not sensibly indexed. The HDM website is a nightmare to use, with any page constantly bouncing around as adverts and videos randomly pop up and freeze the pages.

Councils are obliged to publish public notices about some things, such as road closures. It's clear to me that publishing in the local newspaper is not a viable way to do this as they no longer reach much of the population. A sensible addition would be publish the notice on the council's website. I what the East Riding of Yorkshire council will respond to my suggestion of this.


Harry Wood said...

Reminds me of my old help question: with the answer "In general I'd draw the line somewhere between 1 and 3 months" for reflecting temporary road changes on OpenStreetMap

Does your road closure show up on ? This is produced by a company called Elgin who I've been working with on TransportAPI stuff. They're actually selling their system into local councils, effectively allowing them to have a mini version of the map embedded on their council website. You should recommend them to your local council :-)

Anonymous said...

As I understand it, it's generally not worth tagging such short-term events, for reasons like those you mentioned. See, for instance - it's from 2010, but still fairly relevant. Even when times are known in advance (e.g. closed courses for on-road races) I doubt anybody bothers to add access restrictions, let alone permanent "temporary" changes to the database.

If it's a big construction project, and the old road is permanently being redirected or removed, sure. But if there's an obvious alternate route in the real world and it'll be back to normal in a week or two... it's okay to be lazy.

Chris Hill said...

@Harry the closure is not on that website. ERYC doesn't seem to believe in sharing any more info than they are forced to.

Jeremy said...

I've just come across a website where you can view these notices online and remembered about your blog post. You can filter by Local Authority and sign up for alerts. See