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TOPIC: Problems caused by the cycle lanes

Problems caused by the cycle lanes
07 Jul 2019 08:58 #4683

I have little appetite for yet more debate on the right and wrongs of the cycle lanes (or cyclist / retail Armageddon or such linked invariably circular arguments) which have plagued this area for the past five years or so. The Transport Strategy laid down by Mayor Johnson and the later additions to his Spatial Framework, in line with other research such as London 2050, make the direction of travel and reasons behind it – less cars, more bikes and feet and the means to support the use of same – abundantly clear. Mayor Khan with his own work has continued with the same, albeit with an implied faster remit; and data being data, any future London mayor will not be changing things.
Locally, the dominating political parties signed up as one of 20+ boroughs seeing funding in line with such direction. Enfield was a winner, and well done to the team behind it all. Sadly, at that stage, one element of one party turner 180 degrees and went to oppose, hard, and the opportunity for a transformative change programme taking the people of the borough with it was lost. That choice was fundamental, wrong and massively selfish. We are still paying its price in community division.
Discussions at the time, when it was opportune to input, was hamstrung at key stages, Eg a Partnership Board with a hard core not seeking to develop, rather looking to destroy to the extent of a planned ,pre-staged, walk out; consultation impacted by aggressive squads outside the halls, or impossible to partake in consultation exercises due to screaming traders. That was all one result of the post-event top level political division.
That’s history, or should be. The opportunity for more people to cycle, safely, is now developing as part of a 20 year or so programme in Enfield, and what will be a similar generational style change across London (and beyond).
One thing it does provide is travel opportunity to those unable or unwilling to travel by private car, eg the young, old, relatively poor, climate-concerned and others, ie a large percentage of Londoners. As in many areas of inequality, those who have wish to keep. That keeping takes many forms depending on the area in question, can involve gaming a system as well as incessantly voicing dissent. (Try viewing Brexit through such a lens.)
So if we take travel, a near universal need, maybe we make it universal as something we’re all in together, with equal opportunity: Take private cars pretty much out (of London), use the considerable cash flow freed up to develop a free to all public transport system, supported by active travel opportunities. No discrimination, less congestion, less pollution, less noise, the opportunity for all to maximise the opportunity they can bring and more. Perhaps that’s a more sensible future debating topic than knocking on a few traders’ doors to see what they make of trading conditions. With London forecasting significant retail overcapacity and so the expectation of a 30% reduction in retail outlets, add in shorter term, well touted issues – austerity, Brexit, internet and so forth – and it’s rare to find or read of a happy trader. allowing everyone to get out of their house and about, meeting people , chatting, filling and reclaiming streets and public spaces, even shopping more; who knows what that might bring to social care, mental health and crime issues currently plaguing us. Now there's a strategic debate worthy of time and effort - i suggest.
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Problems caused by the cycle lanes
07 Jul 2019 22:43 #4684

David Hughes David Hughes's Avatar Topic Author
I'm also getting weary about debating the cycle lanes (though I have a half-written piece for another thread which includes comment on them awaiting completion), but there are a few things which must be said here and now:
  • the Government provided most of the money for our cycle-lanes during Basil Johnson's tenure as Mayor;
  • obviously the freedoms of children have suffered most from the car era - a famous argument to that effect was made by a very respected academic many, many years ago;
  • many of the most pleasant cities and towns are in countries where cycling is highly regarded, and supported (Scandinavia comes to mind, and also Strasbourg on the French/German border; no sign of hard-done shopkeepers in those places), and
  • in France cyclists are allowed to cross a red traffic light; applied sensibly ignoring red traffic light when there is little or no traffic is not daft or dangerous, and puts the needs of cyclists on a par with drivers - that's equal opportunity.
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