The exciting news of the week is that petrol head secretary of state for transport Philip Hammond has ended the War On The Motorist by announcing that John Prescott’s M4 bus lane will revert to an all-traffic lane. Never mind the fact that this will do nothing to improve the actual journey times of Motorists, because a bottleneck further down the road determines its overall capacity. This is politics, after all: no room for evidence in deciding policy. Interestingly, this news has pitched private Motorists against cabbies, with desperate attempts to justify the presence of taxis in bus lanes. Despite being the most universally hated road users in London, the taxis could at least rely on the politicians — who in turn rely on taxis to avoid mixing with the proles on the buses — for friendship and a free ride down the bus lane. Now even Phillip Hammond has deserted them and told them to sit in the jams with all the other non-public transport.
A meaningless PR “study” finds that Clapham and Wandsworth have the most congested roads in London. The AA say the problem is roadworks and a lack of “money thrown at the problem”. Not too many cars, then? The Evening Standard commenters actually fill me with hope for once:
What the lobbyists fail to mention though, is that there are simply too many cars in London. Why is that simple fact not mentioned?
You could a south London version of the Westway and it would still end up gridlocked. Road works don’t help in the slightest but it’s just a distraction from the true cause.
Of course, they won’t mention that, because in UK plc any attempt at tackling this problem is a “war on the motorist”.
– Ashley, Camden, 01/10/2010 13:57
The government has stumbled upon a clever scheme to keep good news about transport funding flowing: regularly announce that Crossrail funding is safe. Everyone will forget that you already announced that last week, and the week before…
But Norman Baker, Minister for Pedestrians, Cyclists, Bus Passengers, and Other Unimportant Transport Users, has this week announced that Bikeability will not be allowed to go up in flames with the bonfire of the quangos.
The Met have expanded their Cycle Task Force. There are some hilarious and presumably sarcastic comments from the mayor’s transport advisor: “the Cycle Task Force is a fundamental part of the cycling revolution the Mayor has delivered in London,” and “however there is always more that can be done to make London the best cycling city in the world…”
Driver re-education courses, for careless driving and law breaking, won’t work. Not that the £1000 fine given to hardened criminal Katie Price for careless driving and apparently texting while driving a horsebox on the motorway will.
The government has published its Manual For Streets, advocating shared space for the nation’s high streets. Look forward to some of the ideas being implemented in the street regeneration plans that have been announced for Belfast, Bournemouth, Prestatyn, and Reading. Also in the regions, Clay Cross in Derbyshire has been given conservation status; and Aberystwyth gets more money to spend on green transport (interesting that the BBC illustrate the story with a “cycling forbidden” sign).
Work begins on the next couple of “superhighways”. Interestingly, they’re the ones to serve, erm, the two parts of town that already have superhighways.
Going places is going to continue to get more expensive. (Unless, erm, you walk or cycle there?) Lets all blame the government and ignore the rising prices of increasingly hard to obtain oil.
TfL aren’t very good at replying to freedom of information requests — or are good at procrastinating on them, anyway.
French towns are replacing their bin lorries with horse-drawn recycling carts. This is still the least absurd modern transport solution I’ve heard all year. The robotic high-density deep-underground car park in Birmingham being one of the many absurdities indicative of late-phase chronic car dependency.
South Wales are making more shock adverts about careless and dangerous driving.
Drivers who pass their driving test are safer than the ones who don’t. Thanks, Professor Obvious.
Stratford Central Line westbound has an exciting revolutionary new platform where the doors can open on both sides of the train. Magic.
Nobody is stealing hire bikes. Well, five. Of more concern is that the Independent have adopted the Evening Standard‘s awful name for them.
Segway owner accidentally rides Segway over cliff, falls to his death.
Smelly cyclists not welcome in New Forest tea shops.
Kingsland cyclist muggers arrested.
Anti-social Motorists in Guidford “block one-way system“.
And a house has collided with a 206 in Hampshire, a Cafe has collided with a Vauxhall in Aberdeenshire, and three houses collided with a car in Sunderland. Meanwhile a bollard has collided with a Nissan in Derbyshire.
Australia have launched a National Cycling Strategy. Lets hope they’ve looked at Europe and noticed which country’s strategy has succeeded and which is failing, and picked the one that works.
Finally, Google Street View now covers Antarctica.
“It’s a danger to himself and a danger to other motorists. If someone wasn’t careful, they could’ve hit him off and he could’ve got seriously hurt and his family wouldn’t like that.”