Congestion Charging

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John
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Congestion Charging

Post by John »

It amazes me that so many people seem to want to be charged to travel on roads that we have already paid for. Some even buy the notion that congestion charging will help the environment. Of course it won't, it will only cost us money in yet another tax on life and living.

My plan is as follows: Design more economical cars, maybe developing new carbon-neutral technology to power them. Open up again all the roads and road lanes that have perniciously been closed over the past few years. Get the traffic flowing. Remove the traffic calming schemes, especially pinch points which are downright dangerous and cause long lines of polluting stationary vehicles. Remove bus lanes to effectively widen those roads for all traffic. Run smaller buses in off-peak periods to avoid pollution from virtually empty large diesel vehicles.

I have nothing against protecting the environment and being careful to avoid pollution wherever possible, but we don't need to beat ourselves to death over it.

The UK contributes less than 2% of the world's greenhouse gases. Put it in perspective - whatever we do won't make a scrap of difference. We should still be sensible anyway, but sensible does not mean going totally over the top.
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Post by Mike »

I agree with you on the road congestion charging that is a total waste of time. Looking at the way forward better technology is indeed the answer.

I disagree on the 2% though. That may be a correct statistic but we do not produce or manufacture or have a huge heavy industry. Where does the green house gas come from? China.

Why does China have the biggest growing economy in the world? It is due to the demand from people like us for cheap electronic gadgets and cheap washing machines, cars etc. We all have to take responsibility for buying inefficient products because where the market leads the manufacturers will follow.
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Post by John »

I'd have to be persuaded that we were China's biggest customer, and I somehow wonder if that can be so.

It is true that we demand technology, but on the other hand we can't just sit in a patch of green grass and meditate, can we?

The reason I believe it not to be a problem though is because nature will sort it out. Failing crops>famine>war>death>reduced population>reduced emmisions....This is how the system auto-corrects itself.

You can see it in miniature with every discovery. Mobile phone invented>used by yuppies which causes jealousy>then used by everyone>demonised and restricted>reduced useage balances out preventing too much devekpment and progress. System contains progress and auto-corrects.

The real trick is maintaining progress beyond that self-limiting point. Those that follow on after Homo Sapiens may be the ones to do it.
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Post by mr_e »

Europe and the USA are probably China's biggest customers: the Chinese economy has a stupidly high growth rate because they're exporting so much stuff. China is now building 550 coal-fired power stations. Coal-fired! Excellent. We're essentially emitting a ton of greenhouse gases by proxy, as we're consuming a lot of what China produces.

There'll always be some demand for technology, but we could all do with buying less crap. I'm sure people found stuff to do a couple of hundred years ago, before computers, mobile phones and plastic toys.

Don't make the mistake of thinking that the planet's ability to self-correct will sort everything out, as it's entirely possible we could exceed it and cause the ecosystem's collapse. Consider our current lifestyles one big experiment, if you will.
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Post by John »

This week the school kids are still on Summer Holidays and we had cause to go into Manchester during the morning "rush hour".

Virtually no traffic was in evidence. Congestion charging? Pah! What congestion? As soon as school holidays come along there is no congestion.

This suggests various simple methods for removing it at all times.

1) Let them walk to school
2) Stagger school times away from commuter times
3) Make schools smaller and more local to the communities they serve

And not connected with the school run:

4) Re-open and re-widen all the roads that have been closed/narrowed in recent years
5) Tax benefits for small cars, not penalties for big ones
6) Stagger office hours to make it like Flexi-time
7) Improve local roads before huge retail parks are constructed
8) Improve junctions and traffic light timing to improve traffic flow
9) Remove all bus lanes

Well, there's a few ideas for a start.
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Post by John »

It seems we can't post 8 followed by) without creating a smiley.

Life is increasingly strange.

:shock:
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Post by mr_e »

I love the school holidays for the lack of traffic, especially seeing as the A6 is closed. Makes the 40% longer journey a little more bearable. Some of these responses are just me playing devil's advocate, but here goes:

1) Good idea, only works in cities, but that's where the problem is anyway...
2) All the parents who work full-time hours would complain, especially if they had fixed hours.
3) The silly bean-counters would argue this was inefficient use of resources.

4) Costs tons of money and more disruption whilst work is done.
5) Costs money in lost tax revenue. Say hello to stealth tax rises in return.
6) Should be more of this, although some jobs do need face-to-face work.
7) Definitely. Or just don't build the retail parks.
8) Bit of disruption to alter junctions, and I'd hope traffic flow was optimised already. But back in reality...
9) I like bus lanes, because I use the bus. Cars can often use them off-peak anyways.

There are basically three main solutions: make travel more efficient, tax certain methods by use and minimise the need to travel with better town planning (and some social conditioning). A combination of all three is ideal.
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Post by John »

According to Human Rights legislation we have a right to "freedom to travel" but if no-one can afford to travel then it becomes a moot point.

Governments always see greater control as a way forward, but eventually they are checked by people not accepting any more. This is of course a painful process.

I see less control and greater personal responsibility as the only way to freedom. Idealistic? Maybe, but ideals are worth striving for.
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Post by John »

Well I've just had an e-mail from the Condestion Chargers thanking me for my input, which they explain they are totally ignoring and doing what they want anyway.

Of course, they didn't put it quite like that.

It reminds me of the nice e-mail I received from that Nice Mr Blair (you know, the one with the teeth...no, not Ken Dodd, the other one...) explaining how he thanked me for my input but was going to do what he wanted anyway...

I see a pattern emerging, but I'm going to ignore it and just do whatever i want to anyway.

:roll:
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Post by Mike »

That would be an interesting defence in a court of law. :twisted:
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