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Re: low emissions zone

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  • Ian
    Neither Mayor Hillman nor I are saying that we need to live an inferior lifestyle; indeed many people in developing countries have a lifestyle much more
    Message 1 of 4 , Mar 9, 2009
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      Neither Mayor Hillman nor I are saying that we need to live an inferior lifestyle; indeed many people in "developing" countries have a lifestyle much more pleasant and fulfilling than many of us in the UK/EU (but we will never admit to it). We do need to manage peoples need to travel. There will not necessarily be the resources or energy in the future to move the number of people we do today, and do we really want to spend our life's in transit or at our destinations?

      I like many others have enjoyed life without a car and where planners and politicians place amenities inappropriately (for private car users); I just have to live without them. If in developing countries, there is not enough public transport to cater for the numbers of people wanting or needing to travel, then there needs to be investment so that those people no longer need to travel as they have the amenities and services that they require closer to home.

      It is not a mobility problem but an accessibility problem.

      The UK with its clone towns and their lack of "quality" public space, local amenities and services provides accessibility problems that are being solved with mobility solutions when solving or not creating the access problems is the way forwards.

      There are towns and cities in Europe (and elsewhere) where people shop, socialise and work within walking or cycling distance of their homes and yet do not feel that those with access to superb public transport linking them to other towns and cities are having a better life.

      The problems of the private car do not stop at CO2 emissions. PM10, NOx, NOISE, "driver failure" and the barriers to mobility that busy roads present pedestrians are often at least as important.

      As for the bus route 500 giving Londoners access to the countryside, much of the UK countryside is enclosed and difficult to access even if you live surrounded by it. Though this has improved in recent years there are still issues with having large numbers of people visiting the countryside, which isn't a "natural" landscape, but an industrial one, for the production of food, biofuels etc.

      Forward thinking is already looking at ways to reduce the travelling distance of goods by freight consolidation (examples in Freiburg and Bristol) and city farms within skyscrapers or on roofs are being investigated to reduce the need to transport produce.

      In the case of the bus route 500, it would appear that the transport of people is being used to solve the problems created by planners and politicians who have omitted open space when allowing London and its surrounding towns to grow.


      --- In NewMobilityCafe@yahoogroups.com, Simon Norton <S.Norton@...> wrote:
      > Ian Perry's argument is one that has been articulated elsewhere, e.g. by Mayer
      > Hillman who believes that the climate situation is so desperate that we have to
      > go into what amounts to a third world (the euphemism "developing country" is
      > particularly inappropriate here) transport system where what public transport
      > operates is inadequate to carry the number of people who want to travel.
      > Examples of this have often cropped up on this e-group, and I am sure that it is
      > one of the reasons why in such countries car ownership is mushrooming.
      > While Ian and Mayer may be right, but if so it amounts to perhaps the ultimate
      > in the consequences of people's actions being visited on everyone but
      > themselves. For 50 or so years non-motorists in countries like the UK have
      > suffered depleted mobility because of abstraction of demand by motoring. (Some
      > people say that the majority of motoring represents movement that is generated
      > by the car, and this is probably true, but even the minority that isn't has been
      > enough to lead to mass closures of railways and withdrawals of bus services.) We
      > have reacted by trying to highlight to politicians the degradation of people's
      > quality of life due to ever increasing traffic.
      > Then came what we though was the clinching argument -- that individual motor
      > vehicles were causing grave damage to the habitability of our environment due to
      > climate change. But still politicians, while playing lip service to the need to
      > reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and even setting targets to do so, continue to
      > plan on the basis of ever increasing road and air traffic, and do little to
      > revive the public transport which could provide fuel efficient mobility for all.
      > Now we are told to give up much of what's left because (in effect) motorists
      > have used up the carrying capacity of the atmosphere for greenhouse gas
      > emissions. So in future any movements along affected routes will have to be made
      > by car -- and will therefore be confined to those with cars, the very people who
      > have caused the problem.
      > Even George Orwell's 1984 did not envisage a future in which people were unable
      > to enjoy the English countryside by public transport. The area served by the 500
      > is one of the closest areas of attractive countryside available to Londoners, so
      > access thereto should surely be a goal for those who wish to minimise the
      > distances people have to travel.
      > Simon Norton
    • Simon Norton
      I agree with reducing the number and length of journeys people need to make, but what about those they want to make ? I believe that it is natural for people
      Message 2 of 4 , Mar 10, 2009
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        I agree with reducing the number and length of journeys people need to make, but
        what about those they want to make ?

        I believe that it is natural for people to want to explore the world in which
        they live. They need to be weaned off the idea of flying off for a 2 week
        holiday in Australia (if they are Europeans) but I don't see that the idea of a
        day out in the countryside by public transport is in any way comparable to this.

        Yes, many parts of the English countryside are inaccessible, but there's enough
        that isn't to give people plenty of opportunities. Only a tiny fraction of the
        available space is overcrowded with leisure trippers and I can't imagine this
        changing, especially if we can reduce the opportunities for car based visits.

        During the 4 months I was working in Binghamton, New York State it was access to
        the countryside that I missed most as compared with living in the UK or visits
        to other European countries.

        Let me now return to the other points made in Ian's previous posting.

        Yes, I for one was put off from visiting London on the day of the Iraq
        demonstration, especially when I remembered the other big demonstration referred
        to during, which I wasn't aware of on the day, when my coach to Cambridge (which
        goes via Parliament Square) was 90 minutes late at a subsequent stop (actually,
        I was only half an hour behind time because I was catching the service before
        the one I'd aimed for). But one has to recognise that to make their point
        demonstrators need to do something spectacular -- I don't think mini-assemblies
        in towns round the country will impress anyone -- and they would probably cause
        even more disruption to transport systems.

        To return to the LEZ issue, Ian may be right in saying that the points I made
        are not significant. But given that Transport for London either failed to
        research the question of whether the LEZ regulations would lead to loss of
        public transport services or suppressed the results (I believe the former), how
        much confidence can one place that TfL hasn't missed something here too ? This
        time one would be unlikely to hear about it unless one was in one of the groups

        I think that we have to tread very carefully when regulating public transport
        because the alternative to which people will turn if discouraged or prevented
        from using it, the car, is much more environmentally damaging.

        This contrasts with the regulation of goods transport by road; for some hauls
        there is no practical alternative (in which case hauliers will be able to comply
        with any required regulations and pass on the cost to the customer), and for
        some hauls one can source one's goods closer to hand or use more environment
        friendly modes of transport (rail and water), so that if consigners are induced
        to do this by regulating road transport there will be a public benefit.

        Simon Norton
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