London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has embarked on a steadily intensifying witch-hunt amounting to the complete obstruction of motorised commercial and private mobility, through the misuse (potentially illegally) of Temporary Traffic Orders during the Covid-19 outbreak. These have been used to implement lowered speed limits, carriageway narrowings, superfluous cycle lane widenings, and so-called “Modal Filters” (roadblocks in plain English). This has incensed, amongst others, London cabbies: https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1289098/Sadiq-khan-London-news-public-transport-tfl-taxis-disabled-vulnerable .
This policy particularly adversely affects the elderly and the infirm – who often have no alternative to private car use – but also increases congestion, unnecessarily elevates vehicle emissions and wastes precious economic time. This is time that can be ill afforded, as the whole country seeks to climb out of the deep economic well created by the Covid-19 outbreak.
Campaigns Manager, Roger Lawson, is spearheading the investigation of a legal challenge (https://www.freedomfordrivers.org/lewisham.htm ) to measures implemented in the borough of Lewisham without adequate public notice or consultation.
COVID-19 was not supposed to bring with it rampant inconsiderate cycling schemes and “Low Traffic Neighbourhoods”.
Abusing emergency powers, Park Lane for example is now down to one lane Northbound. With a pre-existing cycle lane already in the park, there is now a parallel, totally redundant one on Park Lane. Mayor Khan inexplicably thinks that this is effective traffic management.
In the past, local authorities had in place a perfectly good, real consultation process that had to be completed with residents, local public transport AND all three of the emergency services, prior to any road closures, so that public safety and response times could be met. Sadly this approach no longer prevails and people’s lives are being put at risk in a mad rush to slash vehicular access.
If you know of any instances of emergency vehicles being delayed by these (or any other traffic impeding) measures in the London area (or indeed anywhere else) and that have had adverse health implications for anyone, which is a failure in a local authority’s basic duty of care, for which they may be punishable in law, then please send us a message.
What local and national politicians actually need to do is avoid the pitfall of making excessive provision for cyclists at the expense of adequate road space for vehicles. The constraints applicable to the realistic extent of future commuter cycling – i.e., distance, terrain and weather; plus the current imperative of avoiding public transport, indicates that car use will be the primary practical mobility solution for the overwhelming majority of road users. So under current circumstances there should actually be concerted efforts to smooth and ease motorised traffic flow and increased provision for car parking; instead of the very opposite.
Transport Minister Grant Shapps’ incomprehensible call to local authorities “to make significant changes to their road layouts to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians, to help embed altered behaviours and demonstrate the positive effects of active travel” is the root of all the road space reallocation problems currently taking place https://www.localgov.co.uk/Roads-to-recovery/50932 .
In the final reckoning, all politicians are fortunately electorally disposable, and their policies are reversible – as subsequent recent events are already demonstrating locally in London boroughs (see for example: https://www.autoexpress.co.uk/news/352786/local-authorities-backtrack-closing-roads-cars ).
We have a rolling campaign to oppose these fundamentally anti-mobility and anti-democratic policies which are all part of Sadiq Khan’s London Transport Strategy which he adopted a couple of years ago but is now using the Covid-19 epidemic as an excuse to bring them in without proper public consultation. See https://www.freedomfordrivers.org/against-mts.htm for more information and to register your support.
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