|RESIDENT SQUASHING PERMIT
31 OCTOBER, 2004, BEECH CROFT ROAD, SUMMERTOWN, OXFORD, ENGLAND
A 'CHECKPOINT' IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET WITH A DUMMY 'RESIDENT' LYING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD. 6 'WITNESSES' STOOD AROUND THE SCENE WITH LIT JACK-O-LANTERN HEADS.
3 DAYS PREP
Passing motorists were stopped and given a 'Resident Squashing Permit', which expired at midnight.
The permit gave permission to squash the 'resident', a dummy in the middle of the checkpoint.
Some motorists complied, although some prefered not to enter into the spirit of things, driving a bit too fast through the checkpoint and close to trick-or-treating children.
One unfortunate motorist pulled over, terrified that this was indeed a real checkpoint. His English was broken, and I reckon he may have been an asylum seeker recently arrived from a country where these sorts of checkpoints mean serious trouble. Children dressed in "scream" masks leered at him through the windscreen. When I could see the poor chap was upset, I tried to reassure him that this was just pretend, a 'festival' of sorts, and of course we offered him passage right away. Poor guy took off a bit shaken I think, and probably felt foolish later on if he ever found out what it was all about.
But a few motorists excelled themselves and treated the crowds to a good squashing, by reversing over the dummy resident and then proceeding forward again.
That's the spirit.
||This doctored sign, one of ten along Beech Croft Road during the Trial, was photographed seconds before a man from the Oxfordshire County Council Highways Department pulled it down (he kindly waited to do so until I photographed this last one).
Alas, no photographs were taken during Resident Squashing Permit as conditions were too dark and quick-moving. Some grainy video does exists of the Trial, so perhaps one day stills from the video may be posted on this site.
In the meantime, you can read the handout that was given to motorists cutting through the squash zone which is reproduced below, alongside the 'permit'.
SAMPLE RESIDENT SQUASHING PERMIT, ISSUED DURING THE TRICK-OR-TREAT PERIOD.
THE 'PERMIT' IS AN EXACT PARODY OF THE PARKING PERMITS THAT THE CITY ISSUED FOR THE NEW RESIDENTS PARKING SCHEME THAT WAS DUE TO TAKE EFFECT THE DAY AFTER HALLOWEEN.
|ABOUT YOUR RESIDENT SQUASHING PERMIT
Please take time to carefully read the instructions on the back of your Resident Squashing Permit, which has been issued for free by THE ROAD WITCH TRIAL.
Note that this permit does not allow the bearer to squash real residents, only the dummies. Please dont knock over any dummy residents who are still standing up--the kids made those.
Oxfordshire County Council, and councils all over the country, desperately need to make more residential streets safer from the blight of speeding motorists.
If you think that your own street is unacceptably unsafe, perhaps this ROAD WITCH TRIAL installation will inspire you and your neighbours to do something similar. It effectively slows down traffic and fosters a community spirit, while simultaneously attracting the interest of the local press. This helps put pressure on the OCC's Highways Department to allocate more funds to road safety for pedestrians rather than pumping more money into improving the lot of the motorist.
Thanks for participating in THE ROAD WITCH TRIAL. Cooperative motorists form an essential part of this civic happening.