While working on my photography stuff, it occurred to me to add a new recurring feature here…
This is London’s Silk Road — Theobald’s Road for the West End on the right, heading into Clerkenwell Road for the East End on the left, with the Rosebury Avenue fork to Islington just about visible. The view is from our room in The Yorkshire Grey, home of Street Talks. There are a number of east-west routes through London, but this one seems to have organically grown into a busy cycling route, helped by trendy Shorditch fixie riders with West End media jobs. This picture doesn’t quite do justice to the massive crowds of cyclists that gather at each cycle of the lights, far outnumbering cars and taxis and easily taking complete ownership of the road as the lights change.
Imagine if they all decided one day to take a car instead.
And imagine if all of those single occupant car drivers realised that they could join the swarm of people who filter past them through the queues each evening. If only there were enough space along this road to provide the sort of high-quality continuous infrastructure that would make it possible…
You can find more photos, and the opportunity to buy quality prints, on my photography website. All the photos are released under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike license, meaning that if you have, for example, a non-commercial blog or campaigning organisation that needs illustrations, you’re welcome to use them, so long as you credit me and my website. And if you have a commercial magazine or business, you’re always welcome to pay me for them :)
A petrol station on Clerkenwell Road has been turned into a cinema. This is a disaster; an act of war on the Motorist that must be condemned. The BBC’s Andrew Sully explains why this epidemic of sudden garage death should be such a worry to us.
Firstly, there’s the fact that the petrol station, like the post office and the village shop, is a traditional hub of the community. I don’t know about you, but I have many fond childhood memories of trundling down to the outskirts of the village to pick up the daily pint of engine oil and sometimes, as a treat, one of those T-shaped plastic things with the rubber and sponge that everybody suspects is supposed to be useful for something, possibly in relation to the windscreen, but nobody has ever quite worked out what. Certainly, in my village, when given the choice between hanging out by the bus stop on the village green or standing about breathing in the fumes in Mr Whatshisname’s filling station, the local youths knew the cool place to go. Everyone in the village knew Mr Thinggy, behind the counter. He was like part of the family.
Ray Holloway, chairman of The Petrol Retailers Association, says: “Motorists are now noticing gaps in fuel availability and if it gets worse, as expected, they will certainly be inconvenienced when searching for a forecourt in some areas.”
Christ. Not more inconvenience to the Motorist. But this should not just be of concern to the poor hard done by Motorist. This is an environmental catastrophe:
“And the environmental effect of having to travel extra miles just to fill your car is also considerable.”
This is why The War On The Motorist is so damaging: making driving difficult is bad for the environment. We must provide more wide and fast roads so that Motorists are not forced to destroy the environment waiting in congestion. We must put up multi-story car parks in popular parts of town, and give over our streets to free parking, so that Motorists are not forced to destroy the environment driving in circles looking for somewhere they don’t have to pay to park. And we must have a dense network of filling stations throughout the country, and they must all offer cheap fuel, so that Motorists are not forced to destroy the environment driving fifty miles in the hope that the fuel on the other side might be a fraction of a penny cheaper.
Why can people not see that this is the only sustainable thing to do?
When Greenpeace closed down BP’s London filling stations last month, the newspapers reported that Motorists “understood the anger against BP but were annoyed at the inconvenience caused.” What the newspapers, who are clearly all in the pocket of Greenpeace, refused to discuss is the fact that the Motorists who were inconvenienced by the protests would have to drive up to two miles further to fill up their tanks, possibly getting stuck in traffic on the way, and that this is bad for the environment. The entire Greenpeace exercise was self-defeating, the Daily Mail commenters brilliantly realised, because it would cause climate change, not solve it. What an embarrassing mistake for the protesters.
The logic is simply indisputable. We must end the War On The Motorist in order to save the planet. That means more roads, bigger roads, abundant free parking, and the extension of government subsidies for petrol stations.
As the BBC article concludes:
Whatever drives independent petrol station owners out of the business, even non-motorists miss them when they’re gone.