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RE: [WorldTransport Forum] environment award

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  • K Tsourlakis
    ... Indeed, it is a cost for those who use cars. But the lower the cost, the more driving is encouraged, according to a trivial law of economics. In fact it is
    Message 1 of 9 , Apr 1, 2004
      At 06:59 ìì 30/3/2004 +0100, you wrote:

      >Congestion is not an "embarrassment" as much as a real cost
      >to residents, visitors and business alike.

      Indeed, it is a cost for those who use cars. But the lower the cost, the
      more driving is encouraged, according to a trivial law of economics. In
      fact it is a cost induced from any driver to the rest of the drivers and
      vice versa, while the other external costs not considered in "congestion
      charge" (pollution, noise, "accidents" etc) are unilaterally induced to
      pedestrians and bicyclists.

      >We did not want London to come to a standstill - already speeds
      >were often lower than Queen Victoria could travel in a horse-drawn
      >carriage.

      I 've never argued this is not a good scheme for those who drive -
      especially for those who are also willing and able to pay. Perhaps it has
      some positive aspects for pedestrians and bicyclists too. But as you imply,
      indeed the convenience of car users is the main concern.

      >The Mayor did exempt "clean" cars on the PowerShift register.
      >(Electric, hybrid, gas etc).

      The term "clean" car (even quoted) is misleading. Electric cars also
      pollute, since almost the totality of electric power is produced by fossil
      fuels or (even worse perhaps) by nuclear power - they just shift the place
      of pollution out of the city. Of course this is somehow better than
      conventional cars, but far from ideal.

      >Motorcycles have no front number plate in the UK and so could not
      >be enforced by our cameras - hence the exemption.

      It seems to be another technological weakness of this system.

      >My suggestion for sceptics is to come and see for yourself. I couldn't
      >believe the difference myself when my bus started to run to time, I
      >could safely cross the road and it was much easier to cycle.

      I think that bus and bicycle lanes is a much better (and easier) solution.
      If the goal is to move people from private cars to public transit (in an
      egalitarian way - not just prohibiting through monetary charges to the less
      privileged to drive), then the difference of the required time between the
      two modes is important, not only the absolute time spent for the trip. And
      obviously roads could be crossed with more safety when they are congested,
      since the speed of cars is lower. Car needs are quite different from
      pedestrian or bicyclists needs (and in most cases conflicting).

      >Not perfect, but for London, congestion charge has been a giant step
      >in the right direction.
      >
      >The lessons learnt are
      >1. Strong political leadership (Nobody but Ken Livingstone would have
      >been able to face the press and media barrage and still introduce it in
      >London),
      >2. A local scheme to meet local needs. Other cities considering this need
      >to develop their own answers to their own unique problems and not just dust
      >down the London Scheme and try to implement it out of context. Listen and
      >learn from our successes and our mistakes but develop your own scheme.
      >3. A huge expansion in public transport, (our Mayor put over 1,000 new buses
      >on the roads);
      >4. Strong Project management;
      >5. Consultation - real consultation and a readiness to change the scheme
      >in the light of representations.

      What is best for London depends on local political balances, and certainly
      is up to the Londoners to decide. However I have the impression that the
      present discussion is about some international prize and the impact this
      scheme has from a global viewpoint.

      >Best wishes
      >
      >Dave
      >
      >Dave Wetzel
      >Vice-chair,
      >Transport for London
      >Windsor House, 42-50 Victoria Street.
      >London. SW1H 0TL. UK.
      >Tel 020 7941 4200
      >
      >Close to New Scotland Yard.
      >Buses 11,24,148,211,N11 pass the door.
      >Nearest Underground - St James's Park tube station.
      >

      Regards and thanks for your response
      K Tsourlakis
    • Tramsol@aol.com
      ... charge is the rigorous management of the space resource. 1) apply the UK statute that roads are provided SOLELY for the passing and repassing of traffic -
      Message 2 of 9 , Apr 2, 2004
        In a message dated 02/04/04 20:20:21 GMT Daylight Time, ktsou@... writes:

        I think that bus and bicycle lanes is a much better (and easier) solution.
        If the goal is to move people from private cars to public transit (in an
        egalitarian way - not just prohibiting through monetary charges to the less
        privileged to drive), then the difference of the required time between the
        two modes is important, not only the absolute time spent for the trip. And
        obviously roads could be crossed with more safety when they are congested,
        since the speed of cars is lower. Car needs are quite different from
        pedestrian or bicyclists needs (and in most cases conflicting).

        One method of control, which is perhaps more equitable than a congestion charge is the rigorous management of the space resource.

        1) apply the UK statute that roads are provided SOLELY for the passing and repassing of traffic - in its widest sense, embracing pedestrians, cyclists, and all powered vehicles.  Use of roads for any other purpose will not be tolerated, save for the grace and favour arrangement of allowing a vehicle to stop momentarily to take on or offload goods or passengers.

        2) with this pretext the provision of space to park a vehicle becomes a marketable resource, but equally one which can be rationed by land use regulation - and plain commonsense.

        3) It has been well demonstrated by the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, and various projects to enhance cycle parking at rail stations thet the traffic volume can be significantly affected by the amount of parking available.  Indeed structured parking charges (penalising arrivals at certain times of day, or racking up the rate for long stay parking - famously £440.00 for 24 hours on Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley Stations, but free (at the same locations) for the first 20 minutes).

        Thus access to all activities is equitably given to any person walking in the door, but the issue then becomes the detail of what they do with their mode of transport.  Pedestrians have the edge here, and cyclists can park their vehicles in very small spaces, for which many accept they may need to pay, bus, train, and taxi users enjoy the fact that their vehicle is taken away by a driver, and indeed car users can have the same facility, at a price, either of a driver, or a paid for space within walking distance.

        Of course making roads solely for moving traffic greatly simplifies the issue over parking restrictions with signs and painted lines - if its a road then there is no parking - period....Hoare-Beleisha worked that one out... where did we start to go wrong?

        Dave Holladay
        Glasgow

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