Friday 6 April 2012 6.24am
Went to the GLA Hustings organised by Living Streets last night - here's a short report.
The meeting was addressed by four members of the GLA's Transport Committee:
* Jenny Jones (Green)
* Caroline Pidgeon (LibDem)
* Val Shawcross (Lab)
* Richard Tracey (Con)
Questions were asked about the walking and cycling environment, air pollution, public transport accessibility for disabled people, and growing the capacity of the transport network.
There was a lot of agreement between the non-Conservative parties on things such as 20mph speed limits; abolition of gyratories (eg the E&C); the need for the cross river tram; enhancing public control of the overground network; increasing suburban public transport via more trams, light rail systems, and orbital buses; the need to encourage modal shift to less polluting and more sustainable means; and the desire to reintroduce the hierarchy of road users that guided TfL policy prior to the current mayoralty.
The major differences between these candidates was one of emphasis (eg where and how the 20mph zones should be introduced, or the Green proposal to introduce pay-per use for cars).
The Conservative candidate spoke very generally and made few specific policy proposals beyond continued investment in improving the tube network, maintaining the current bus network and introducing 800 new low-emission buses. When challenged on the air pollution that shortens the life of more than 4,000 Londoners each year (TfL figures reported here
, he proposed more monitoring.
The main points I remember from the evening were:
* Val Shawcross pointed out that under the current mayor, the congestion charge has risen far slower than public transport and, in particular, bus fares.
* Jenny Jones asserted that Ken Livingstone made a claim on the LBC hustings the other day that he had been in a meeting where Kulveer Ranger (Boris Johnson's initial transport supremo) dismissed a submission by the London Cycling Campaign during the planning of the Bow Roundabout that it was too dangerous for cyclists with the comment that their proposals would slow down motorised traffic too much [two cyclists have since died at this roundabout]
* Richard Tracey suggested that the biggest problem in the walking environment is pavement cyclists - not air pollution, short crossing times at road junctions, nor the blocking of pavements by building works, temporary street furniture and parked cars - but made no suggestions for how to improve the roads to encourage cyclists to use them.
Anyway, sorry for the length of this post - I normally try to be pithy - but I hope it's of interest as we decide how to cast our mayoral and GLA votes.