For greener Green Lanes: radical traffic reduction

(Mostly of local interest in a small part of north London)

Until September, there will be no through traffic on Wightman Road.

Many of those who live on Wightman, or on the Ladder roads which normally act as rat-runs between Wightman and Green Lanes, are very happy with the reduction in traffic:

It’s because of a bridge repair, but it raises this question: should it be a temporary measure on just one road, or should Haringey take it as an opportunity to begin seriously to cut through traffic and pollution by private motor vehicles, and a shift to more foot, bicycle and bus travel?
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Better cycling infrastructure, or make driving more costly? Yes.

Good cycling infrastructure is extremely important for increasing cycling and for reducing the use of cars in our towns and cities. On main roads, that means protected (segregated) cycle lanes; on side roads it means filtered permeability – pedestrians and cycles go through, cars and trucks don’t. There’s plenty of evidence for the importance of such infrastructure.

But when the UK cycling organization road.cc runs the headline “Cycle infrastructure responsible for 85% of cycling increase“, I have to object. This is the message of Infrastructure, Infrastructure and Infrastructure gone mad. If you read just that headline, you’ll be left with the impression that nothing much matters other than infrastructure. Even if you read the whole article, you won’t know why that interpretation is dead wrong.
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Sisyphus aims to tax parking, any day now

This is a pity: a very modest proposed tax on parking lots in Massachusetts disappears from the governor’s budget. A similar thing happened in the early days of Britain’s present coalition government: a few Tories like Phillip Blond recognized that the failure to tax parking represents a big subsidy to big supermarkets; they were quickly smacked down. The same thing happened in the early days of New Labour: John Prescott and Gordon Brown wanted such a tax, but Blair vetoed it – Greg Palast puts it down to political skulduggery, which is to say business as usual.

In many places, while supermarkets are free to fill the streets with cars and cover the ground with asphalt, the customers of small shops pay high prices for on-street parking: in England this is about the only discretionary revenue source for local governments, with predictable results – in my neighborhood, Harringay, in London, a non-resident on-street space is priced at £3 (about $4.80) per hour, 9.5 hours per day, 6 days per week. Allowing for holidays, and assuming full occupancy but ignoring additional charges (fines) for over-staying, this works out to £8,607 ($13,771) per year.
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