22 September 2015


I ended in a bit of a twitter-slanging-match this morning.  With Stella Creasy of all people.  I've rather admired her style and approach to politics - she seemed to really want to bring an energetic, campaigning politics back into the Labour Party.  But I was disappointed by this tweet, which excerpted parts of a newsletter from her, which seemed very negative - portraying the Walthamstow 'miniholland' project as being about cyclists versus 'everyone else'.

Disappointed by @stellacreasy’s latest newsletter which echoes #miniholland concerns of a noisy pro-car minority http://t.co/WMiPfijqWM
22/09/2015 08:32

In our subsequent exchange, she kept emphasising how she was trying to 'balance' the competing needs.*  Which reminded me of how affirmative action campaigns for women are too often critiqued for not being 'balanced', and how often 'balance' is promoted by the status quo as a reason for keeping the status quo, as in this fun tweet that came in about the same time: 

"We have got to be very careful not to do things at a speed which will make male candidates feel that the cards are stacked against them."
22/09/2015 09:16   [
which links to this article. ]

Stella Creasy said that my comparison was 'silly'.  But is it?  surely our current infrastructure is built with cars and drivers as their primary concern?  

So here's my top examples of our transport infrastructure privileging cars, rather than active travel:

  • Tarmac is continuous across junctions, but pavements stop
  • Driveways and entrances to car parks always have dropped kerbs, but not pedestrian crossings
  • 'Green wave' traffic lights that turn green for cars, but give cyclists red after red
  • Wide corner radiuses that make it easy for cars to turn, but widen the crossings making it difficult for pedestrians to cross
  • Push buttons on toucans - do you ever see drivers having to get out and push a button? 
  • Dummy 'push buttons' on pelican crossings that are actually controlled automatically from junctions
  • Half of most roadways taken up with parked cars 
  • Road signs and parking meters on pavements, not on roadways, even though they deal with car regulations 
It's time to redress the balance - which is why we should all get behind the mini-holland schemes, and similar schemes elsewhere in the country. If criticism is needed, let's make it constrictive criticism, and not hide behind excuses of 'balance'. 

*  To be clear - she didn't use the word 'balance' - that is my reading of her various tweets and newsletter.  But she did say my comparison was "silly". 

1 comment:

Dave H said...

The Council has no obligation to provide roads for parking - thus a huge amount might be saved by only repairing the carriageways and footways that are required for moving traffic.

Technically for most of the unwanted bits the land the road is built on belongs to the frontagers (the people who own the land abutting the road and (usually) the land under the road to the centre-line. Imagine what you might do with this small windfall (landfall). Some might manage to get a garden extension, or more likely a mini parklet just outside their house. Other may consider renting the space for parking, or using it themselves.... It would certainly fullfil the Thatcher ethos of letting the market set the price or the service or good that was offered.