There’s a government initiative which involves spending £2 billion across the UK in a bid to “make walking and cycling better, safer and the preferred way of making local journeys”. Thurrock Council are seeking the views of residents to help them develop a plan to implement this using government money
Normally, we’re pretty cynical about council consultations. With the Basildon Council ‘consultation’ on the Basildon town centre masterplan, we were cynical for good reason because it was little more than a series of options cooked up by the council and the developers. However, regarding the Thurrock Council consultation on making walking and cycling better, we would strongly urge you to take part and have your say.
This is where you can access the consultation: https://consult.thurrock.gov.uk/makewalkingcyclingbetter
Here’s why we think it’s vital as many of us as possible have a say. Take a look at what’s going on across London. Transport for London (TfL) with the support of the Mayor of London, are encouraging local authorities across London to implement ‘Low Traffic Neighbourhoods’ (LTNs). Essentially, these are about trying to encourage people to use their cars less and instead, walk more, cycle more or use public transport. When a LTN is introduced, it involves infrastructure changes such as the installation of cycle lanes, widening pavements and closing off side roads to all traffic except local access. On the face of it, this all sounds lovely and green – something that anyone of a radical/progressive persuasion should welcome. The reality on the ground is a heck of a lot different and a long way from the ‘vision’ being promoted by supporters of these LTNs.
Shift workers, carers, delivery workers, trades people, maintenance workers, emergency personnel, taxi drivers, bus drivers – the list goes on – all have no choice but to drive. When local authorities started imposing Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, these are the people they should have been talking to. It’s these drivers with their knowledge of how the capital functions who could have told the local authorities what could have worked and what would be an absolute disaster. One thing they would have told the local authorities was that whatever they implemented, it would do very little to reduce the actual volume of traffic on the roads. All it has done instead is shove the same amount of traffic onto a smaller network of available roads with the result being traffic jams and gridlock.
Emergency service vehicles are taking a lot longer to respond to emergencies. Bus schedules are being thrown into chaos as buses get stuck in gridlocked traffic. Trades people and traders are seeing their businesses suffer badly as their vehicles and drivers are getting stuck in endless delays. Carers are finding it impossible to keep to any kind of schedule when tending to vulnerable people in their care – this is causing real suffering and distress. Londoners are getting increasingly fed up and angry with their local authorities, TfL and the Mayor of London for not listening to or consulting them before the implementation of these LTNs.
Thurrock have only just started going down this route. None of us want a repeat of the botched implementation of LTNs out here. This is why it’s vital as many of us respond to this consultation so it’s us, the residents, that end up owning the process and making sure it works for all of us. So, get stuck in right now!