Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Road Pricing. Again

The RAC has said that road pricing is "inevitable". I'm afraid that I disagree. It might be inevitable because of political pressures but it's certainly not needed if we actually take action and deal with the issues blighting our lives and this country.

A reader clearly feels the same way and has copied me into an email on the subject. As a cyclist you might wonder why I am so against road pricing when I just whizz past the queues of traffic in rush hour anyway. Simples; because I am sick of the amount of money being taken from people with the excuse that it's with our best interests that it is done.

It's not: road pricing, just like global warming is politically motivated. Lord Stern, formerly Sir Nicholas Stern, was knighted on the request of Gordon Brown. Stern had written his report which affects the way that our government policy, council policy and education of children is implemented and taught. It also allowed the Treasury to raise taxes in the name of saving us from ourselves. Well done, Nick. Have a gong.

Road Pricing will also be taught to us as helping protect against climate change or some similar tosh. I suspect very little will actually be said about the fact that it's a revenue stream for the EU across all EU countries which they are incredibly keen on, as well as allowing the central EU bureaucracy to continue with their push for control on cross border justice and home affairs. Road cross borders and so do cars, so who better than the EU to keep an eye on what we're all doing in our vehicles?

There's also the subject of Galileo. For those who don't know, Galileo is the 'spy in the sky' system which was set up by Yankophobe Europeans set on rivaling the GPS system. It hasn't worked, it's a black hole for your cash and you need to stump up for it because it sure as hell won't be profitable or have private investors. You will pay for it by allowing it to monitor you and because you don't take enough interest in how your lives are run and where your money goes, you probably deserve it.

But how should we deal with the problems on our roads? Well, given that the problems particularly in London are man made, in the sense that they are politically altered in order to ensure there is a continual argument for more charges and thus more money and power to socialist politicians, here are a few options in that email.:

· Open up the many thousands of miles of roads that have been closed or made unusable by barriers, signage, humps and other means.

· Remove the road width restrictions that have been placed on many thousands of miles of roads.

· Remove Prescott imposed traffic lights and remove ALL traffic lights from roundabouts.

· Re-phase traffic lights to pre-Prescott timings.

· Remove dark/death phase pedestrian crossing lights and revert to sensible phase Pelican crossings. (when all lights are black - T)

· Revert to speed limits applicable in the pre-Prescott era.

· Remove bus lanes. They delay all traffic including buses.

· Remove cycle lanes on roads that have been imposed to satisfy Labour’s requirement that central funding for road ‘improvements’ would only be given if the work included anti-car measures.

· Have more cycle lanes off road and more shared pedestrian/cycle lanes where appropriate. Force cyclists to use cycle lanes where they are available.

· Permit left turn on red.

· Left filters on signalled junctions should be the norm.

· Provide more free parking areas to allow roads to be clear of parked vehicles and hence allow traffic to flow.

I'm sure that some of you are tutting and thinking that there aren't altered traffic light phases and the such. Well, there are and the reason for them were openly admitted at a members meeting for the Institute of London Transport. Traffic was flowing rather too well, you see, and there needed to be a reason for Ken to call for a £25 congestion charge and expansion to West London.

As for the report's author, well he's very involved in this whole road pricing scheme. I'm sure he'll be put on another committee or executive board to help bring this all into being which will no doubt help his own coffers...


Giolla said...

Whilst, I'd agree with a lot of this, the one bit I would argue with hugely is this:
"Force cyclists to use cycle lanes where they are available."

Most cycle lanes seem to be designed for an average speed of about 10 mph, if I'm forced to use a cycle lane that restricts me to that sort of speed the main benefit of cycling vanishes. Also I from time to time ride a trike, pulling a trailer which is too wide for an awful lot of the cycle lanes I've ridden along side of.

Plus of course current cycle lane design means that if you use the cycle lane you cross far more junctions and thus increase your risk of being involved in an accident and again reduce the speed of your journey.

But if we were to get cycle lanes which were wide enough for bike trailers and over taking, suitable for speeds of up to 20Mph (maybe more, along the A20 I regularly hit 25-30Mph on my ride into work)then it'd be less of a problem. Of course in many places there isn't room for that.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

"remove ALL traffic lights from roundabouts."

In principle, yes, I understand why you'd say this, but I must point out that when properly engineered (which is hardly ever), lights on roundabouts actually help.

Near where I live (that's the only clue you're getting) there is a large roundabout on a busy 'A' road, where it crosses two minor roads both of which happen to be main routes into the county town, of which this A road is also the by-pass. This roundabout used to be a notorious bottleneck, with huge queues building up at rush hour, since there were effectively no gaps in the main road traffic to allow the roundabout to work properly.

The solution - put in place about five years ago - was extra lanes on the main road's approaches, plus very cleverly phased lights - and it works. The jams are a thing of the past. I didn't expect this, and I'm impressed.

Just goes to show, traffic engineering isn't all mince. But it has to be done with a view to improving traffic flow, not with a view to obstructing it, as most changes are - especially in London.

Anonymous said...

Jeremy Clarkson for Prime Minister, Richard Hammond for Chancellor.

Electric Car Mini Adventure

colin said...

Giolla, I don't know about Italy but Northe European towns and cities make great use of cycle paths. The difference there is that people cycle to work, to the cinema, to the shops and so on. They wear normal clothing and stop at cycle traffic lights. Here, they are in racing kit and they race. That is the big difference. The A316 to London has many miles of cycle path, separate to the footpath and it's been there 50+ years. It is hardly used. Cyclists force traffic into one lane so that they can get there little bit of exercise at others expense.