Last November the Guardian reported on a vast graveyard of dockless bikes in the Chinese city of Xiamen. I’ve just come back from three weeks in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province, and from what I saw in the Wenjiang district of that city, dockless bikes are alive and well. Here are some (plus a few personal bikes, each secured with a lock on one wheel and held up by a kickstand) outside a metro station. There are, I think, four companies active in that market. When I was in the same area four years ago, neither the metro station nor the dockless bikes existed – nor did many of the bike lanes now apparent. Nor, for that matter, the trees. Continue reading
Sometime back I posted a comment on the proposed housing + commercial development of the old gasworks site near Turnpike Lane. That post focussed on parking – I thought (and still think) that the site is handy enough to public transport (bus, tube, rail) and to retail services that it could, and should, be parking free. For reasons detailed below, I didn’t say anything about the failure to open the Moselle Brook (which runs in a culvert under the site) to daylight. It is time to come back to that now, and if you’re a Haringey resident I hope you’ll take the time to address this point in a response to the consultation. Continue reading
Some of my fellow advocates of cycling infrastructure are so confident in their product that they are unafraid to display it under the slogan “build it, and they will come”, a phrase which cannot help but conjure the image of Kevin Costner hallucinating in an Iowa cornfield. Continue reading
I’ve just had the pleasure of reading the London Borough of Haringey’s Transport Strategy 2018: Draft for Public Consultation, and also the final report for the borough’s Green Lanes Area Transport Study. Friday 22nd December – tomorrow – is the last day to comment on the draft Transport Strategy. What’s to be said?
The Strategy is full of worthy goals – improved public transport, better walking and cycling environment, reduced traffic, cleaner air. Gotta love it for that. These are all stated in extremely general terms, but a load of implementation plans are promised: a Walking and Cycling Action Plan, a Parking Action Plan, a Sustainable Transport and Travel Action Plan, and a Local Implementation Plan. Given all the virtuous aspirations expressed in the Strategy, one is tempted to sit back and wait for equally virtuous, but more specific, Plans.
This reverie of a green and pleasant Haringey lifts quickly on reading the Green Lanes report where, to pollute that image, the rubber hits the road. Continue reading
(of strictly local interest)
This plan (comment deadline today) is for 1,700 flats, 4,000 square metres of retail / restaurant etc., and 7,500 square meters of office space.
1. Car parking
No parking for the retail or offices, because of proximity to transit – so far, so good.
The problem is residential parking. The outline applicaton, approved back in 2009, was for up to 251 car parking spaces. The current application is for 425 spaces. More parking means more traffic and it means higher building costs, and hence higher prices for the flats.
This site is perfect for car free development. Continue reading
Back in London for two weeks, I’m reduced to reading about trees: Thoreau declared that he went to the Walden woods “to front only the essential facts of life,” for he did not want, when it came time for him to die, to “discover that I had not lived.”
Sifting the detritus of the late plastocine, archeologists have found that when coffee packaging came to exceed coffee, people recycled a bit to feel better. And not just those Nespresso pods: feeble prayers to angry Gaia included coffee cup “recycling”.
Coffee drinkers were not alone in the production of rubbish that was ceremonially, if not practically, recyclable: excavations along roads of the era find accumulations of McDonald’s coke cups, beer cans, energy drink cans, juice packs, and water bottles. The large quantity of containers for water, sweetened water and water substitutes has been a puzzle for archeologists. Now, the study of these reservoirs of rubbish has led to an improved understanding of the collapse of human civilization, and to an adjustment of the dates at which that the collapse is believed to have started.
The thickness of the strata of containers suggests that while late humans were well (and perhaps over-) hydrated, they had lost the art of plumbing: lead pipes may have done in the Romans, but drink container waste from the early 21st century is consistent with the absence of a reliable domestic supply of potable water – how else can the use and awkward transport of these costly containers be explained? Thus, the growing numbers of discarded bottles, cans and cups as the twentieth century gave way to the twenty-first is now seen as indicative of the loss of much of the basic infrastructure that had been built up over the previous centuries, and suggests that the collapse of human civilization may have begun a century earlier than scholars had previously believed.