Are they mini-roundabouts, traffic markers or just fancy road decorations?
Well, whatever they’re meant to be, they’re staying put, say County Hall bosses.
Pairs of concrete bollards on the troublesome “shared space” layout in Fishergate, Preston have been a puzzling obstacle course for drivers since they were installed in November 2014.
A couple of them have been knocked over - more than once - by vehicles trying to negotiate the junctions with Corporation Street and Butler Street.
But after yet another prang Lancashire County Council has moved to clarify the role of the “Fishergate Follies” and reassure motorists they won’t be going anywhere soon.
“These features were put in place to guide traffic and help people to safely cross the road at the top of Corporation Street,” explained Phil Barrett, the authority’s director of community services. “For this reason, we have no plans to replace them.”
So the 64,000-dollar question is: What are they actually meant to be?
Every day hundreds of drivers treat them as roundabouts, giving way to traffic on their right. Wrong - they are not roundabouts, say council chiefs, and everyone has equal priority.
Considering they each have Fishergate chiselled into them and are surrounded by uplighters, haven’t they just been plonked there to enhance the innovative shared space scheme which cost £3.4m to create? Wrong - they are not just decorative, insist County Hall.
“They are placed either side of pedestrian crossing points to make them safer,” said an LCC spokesman. “They are also there to guide the traffic.
“There is a set of two at each crossing point and that is their primary function, to give people that extra bit of protection when crossing, so they aren’t just stuck in the middle of the road. The one that has been knocked down, again, will be replaced. Something will be going back on that plinth.”
Phil Barrett added: “The Fishergate scheme has been successful in encouraging most people to drive more carefully and safely through this area.Following the latest damage, we’re looking at ways to further highlight the road layout to stop incidents like this.”