fast movers

red bus on road near big ben in london

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

The urban myth that you need a car in London to get around, is really a myth. Scientific examination of transport has proven the following:

The following numbers came up or moving people around town:

  • 22.000 people using trains
  • 19.000 people walking
  • 14.000 people cycling
  • 9.000 people using buses
  • 2.000 people using private cares.

Read about all the details on New Scientist from where I gotten those numbers.

I had a dad who worked just down the road and needed to take his car to drive there. So that car dependence is just a little bit of an addiction.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan will let us have a car-free day on 22. September 2019. I love the idea, better than the whinging Boris Johnson always did talk about needing large family saloons all the time.

Apparently Talk London is consulting on having car-free days once a month. Bring it on.

London Transport is amazing, with Central Line trains running every minute.

 

 

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UK in breach of EU pollution rules since 2005

It of course does put the accusation of the Greens, during the last mayoral elections, in which they accused Boris of not caring for families, into a realistic context. Reading that the UK does not care about pollution levels, which causes a big health issue, hurts. I quote from the article “There are no air quality actions for Defra or the Department for Transport in their departmental business plans,”  and few government departments “appear to understand the importance of the issue”.

What is happening is that a few cycle lanes have been built, which are dangerous and already cost lives because recently 2 cyclists got killed within a week on those so-called safe cycling lanes in Bow.

The whole traffic infra-structure is not changing at all. The roads are made for cars and the congestion is still the same. I would not want to walk or jog near a busy road in London, which is chock-a-block with cars and lorries at most hours of the day.

The rule that parents should walk their kids to school is not enforced at all. Parents are allowed to park illegally outside of schools to drop off their children. Just in my locality cars are parked illegally every time there is a big event in York Hall. Traffic wardens could make a fortune for the borough if they towed away and ticketed all the illegally parked cars and so discourage them from coming on roads to the venue, but they don’t because if they come by car they come to York Hall.

There is no effort to effectively reduce car traffic in London at all.

It would be much better if traffic would change by reducing the amount of road space for cars and increasing cycle lanes to make them wider, therefore squeezing out car traffic because there is no proper indication that environmentally friendly cars are to be sold en mass.

Of course changing the road traffic structure would cost major investment and that is money the government doesn’t want to spend as cycling traffic doesn’t make much money and politicians do want their wages from tax payers. Politicians are the most selfish breed of employee I know.

The air we breathe

Whist we see plans to raise the pension age, the warning is published in a very small, hard to see article in the Sun that the pollution levels in London have reached crisis point and are below par for the 36th consecutive time.

That is a good cause for a very justified protest to hold demonstrations on the pollution levels in London instead of protesting about all other kinds of matters. Yesterday I saw outside of the high court bikers protesting about charges for them. Yet, we have to get the pollution levels down. It is important for our health.

Problems arising from pollution are not immediately apparent and often affect us only years later. Studies have shown that children living near busy roads have problems developing their lungs properly. Asthma is becoming more common in big cities.

Britain as a whole has allowance for 35 bad air days per year only but that goal has not been reached. Whilst we are busy thinking only about football goals, we should spend more time thinking about healthy living goals.

Bad air days, don’t seem to bother us as much as bad hair days but what we have inside of our bodies should be more important than what we have on top of our heads.

We have to change our attitudes and see taxation of fossil fuel burning vehicles as a necessary step to improve our health and not as a punishment.

Cycling irresponsibly

Whilst we see cycling getting a promotion in many tabloids I just wondered this morning, how I should cope with cyclist as a pedestrian.

Trying to cross a road on a busy junction I saw 3 cyclists coming down the road. I stood in the centre aisle and was too afraid to cross the road because of cyclists unpredictable behaviour. Indeed 2 of the cyclists followed the road the proper way, waiting to join the main traffic at the junction, just as they should do, whilst the third one suddenly swerved off the road, taking a route into the opposite side pedestrian crossing onto the footpath.

How is anyone supposed to work around erratic behaviour like that? Cycles can kill children and recently an elderly pensioner was killed by a cyclist.

Only yesterday I crossed a quiet side street with a child in my hand, when suddenly from the left a cycle cut us off at great speed and came around the corner. I have very good hearing but could not hear that bike. It was a matter of luck that the child in my hand was not hit by that cycle.

Whilst it worries me to read that cyclists get killed in traffic, it makes me wonder, from my own experience (I worked as a bike courier in central London) whether cyclists couldn’t avoid problems if they followed the traffic rules and behave like any other road user and use the roads or cycle paths in the prescribed method rather than ride wildly across pedestrian areas or very fast down quiet roads.

Being a cyclist is not a free ticket to being irresponsible but a ticket to responsibly using the roads and avoid using fossil fuels in the process.

Commuting

Statue dedicated to the traveller in Oviedo, Spain

Statue dedicated to the traveller in Oviedo, Spain

If this “parking tax”as proposed by Sadiq Khan, Labour’s new minister for transport, as reported by the Press Association and picked up from Yahoo News, gets the go ahead, we can look forward to the re-structuring of traffic soon unless the car industry comes up with cars that are so environmentally friendly and cheaper to run that the amount of an eventual £350 per year of parking tax could be recouped by the users.

Initially the “parking tax”is scheduled to start off with £185 per year, to be paid by companies that provide car parking spaces for employees. This scheme is to be tested by Nottingham City Council. Is it coincidence that we get the nasty Sheriff of Nottingham scenario again? But really Sadiq Khan should be on the side of Robin Hood shouldn’t he, as Labour Party minister who opposes extradition treaties with the US!

What are the real motives for this new tax grabbing incentive? Could it be that Mr Khan is genuinely concerned about the environment and wants to discourage use of the car to curb omissions or does Mr Khan think that the use of car parking spaces take away from potential housing being built?

I always thought that companies could use their property any way they liked but that will now be challenged by this new initiative of the Labour Party.

On speculation what such a new tax would create we first of all have to look at the fundamental change of rights of owning property as the business owner will be told you can do anything that is not environmentally and health detrimental and you cannot provide car parking spaces for employees unless you pay us a tax on it.

For traffic we get the gist is that the revenue created shall be used for a tram system. Not too bad a motive I suppose but as of now traffic – and I speak as a resident of London – is already having problems sharing the thoroughfares sensibly and happily between buses, cars, cyclists and pedestrians.

Our roads are set up to allow for cars and buses in the middle, the sides are reserved for pedestrians but increasingly shared by cyclists who do not want to keep to the roads. We do have an “on your bike” campaign going on as well and I just wonder whether the whole traffic infrastructure should be re-thought to allow more driving space dedicated to cycles, whether the direction of policies is going to be, ban cars from the roads, unless they are public transport and only allow company vehicles or otherwise pedestrians, trams, buses and cycles on the thoroughfares or should we strive for battery driven cars that need to be parked somewhere at the cost of parking tax.

Not an easy decision but having taken to foot and public transport my point of view is that I miss clarity on national policy about transport issues, this also being stirred up even more by the current dispute over rail franchising and profitability of the rail network.

We get the keep to the time tables movement who do not understand that unless you have roads like in American cities, wide and not narrow as in London’s Bank area, we cannot keep to regular times, that also put pressure onto the argument and caused time displays of buses predicted arrival times, which are not reliable as I could see.

We get the back on your bikers who cause cyclists to use pavements as cycling routes.

And there are many more transport initiatives and all those taken together, cause our local environments to be riddled with transport thoroughfares of one sort or another. If things go on like this we have to invent floating houses so we can escape the constant flow of traffic in front of our doors or virtual schools so our children avoid being run over by bikes on the way to and from school.

The emphasis of our lives is not where we live anymore, our homes are not the centre of our lives any longer and business activity goes on around it, our homes are mere containers from which we emerge to go somewhere else to work , shop or holiday and hence all our homes are surrounded by some sort of constant traffic. With all those schemes traffic tends to increase rather than decrease and our local economies nonviable with fast food outlets becoming the norm for social gathering rather than pubs, who would also find the parking tax unaffordable. With fast food outlets the gathering can take place in the street, hence we see so many congregating around them at night time.

We should examine what is the idea of a home and how many hours we spend out of it and live out of suitcases, and take-away cartons. Surely and originally a home was a permanent place to live and work activities took place around the home either by rural production or economic activity but this is apparently no longer so, and since we have created the travelling citizen, government have become viable institutions but without it, they could not fatten their MP’s to the extend they do now.

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