Roadwork charging

The Evening Standard this week declared that the Mayor and the Prime-minister are exactly equally powerful in London. And yet it appears that Boris feels that he is being ignored by the PM, and even thinks that Dave is more likely to listen to we peasants than to his old Bullingdon chum:

@MayorOfLondon Boris Johnson
Had enough of utility companies digging up our roads & causing traffic mayhem?! Help me do something about it:

21 hours ago via web

The mayor’s campaign is for road charging — but don’t panic, this is not another war on the poor motorist!  The mayor recognises that London’s streets are not gridlocked because there are too many cars on them, but because there are too many people digging them up.  So this is a “lane rental” scheme for utilities companies, encouraging them to make quick, dangerous and botched jobs on their road works by charging them by the hour for closing lanes on busy roads.  This will have the beneficial effect of smoothing the traffic flow.  But the scheme can’t go ahead until central government say it’s OK, and central government seem to think that they have more important things to be doing.

So Boris Johnson realises that if central government won’t listen to him, it will certainly listen to the 200 people who participate in his online poll and share his page on Friendface.

I voted “no” in the mayor’s poll.  Not because I think I’m sufficiently informed to comment on the desirability of an initiative that is likely to have complex and not entirely predictable effects, but simply because online polls are absurd.  Mainly, though, I wouldn’t be able to make my mind up until I know the Mayor’s proposals for how much the utilities companies will be fined per “cyclists dismount” sign, and the hourly rate for blocking the pavement.

Or is the mayor’s proposal precisely to incentivise a shift in utilities works out of the very important carriageway and into the unimportant bike lanes and footpaths?

4 thoughts on “Roadwork charging”

  1. “is the mayor’s proposal precisely to incentivise a shift in utilities works out of the very important carriageway and into the unimportant bike lanes and footpaths”. The utilities are where they are. No realistic amount of incentive would stop you needing to dig up the road to get at something buried under it already. Many existing utilities just happen to be relatively near the kerb and coincide with the placement of cycle lanes which came along a long time afterwards.

    That being said, a very good point about whether or not the fine applies to the footway. If it did then it would certainly show that Boris rates the importance of walking as much as he does the vehicles whose flow he is smoothing. I unfortunately fear though that it won’t apply to the footway and that would really be an opportunity missed as the utilities will only then go and prioritise those works in the carriageway.

  2. Hey folks – something you might find interesting.

    There’s a post over at London Reconnections showing mockups of what Tottenham Court Road Station and its environs will look like after Crossrail is finished. Particularly of note is this rendering of the junction around Centre Point. I thought maybe you’d like to play a game with your readers of “spot the cycle infrastructure”. The prize could be some hens’ teeth, or maybe a unicorn.

    I am honestly disgusted.

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