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E&C: back to the drawing board?

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Tuesday 14 October 2008 7.05am
The Southwark news website makes a pretty convincing case that the Mayor has already decided not to remove the roundabout and that the E&C plans are very likely to go back to the drawing board, yet again.

I really despair.
Tuesday 14 October 2008 9.21am
I've got no inside track on this, but, I think I might have pieced together an explanation.

The July edition of Transport Times states that Kulveer Ranger (the Mayor's Transport "supremo") told the London Assembly Transport Committee in his first appearance before them on 25th June that:

Bearing in mind that no mode should be seen above any other as well, so we have to keep in with a view that there are still a need to understand that the motorist is not at the foot of all traffic modes, right at the base of it, there is no hierarchy here. We need to ensure that those people who need to travel by car and travel by car get a fair crack at the whip in terms of moving through London as do cyclists, as do people who travel by bus. [...]

The Mayor feels actually that a difference between this administration and the previous administration is that we are not going to pander to the group of one or the other.

Extrapolating from this, I reckon that "the Mayor" already thinks that car users will be discriminated against by the proposed remodelled traffic systems at E&C.

Now, according to the 2001 census, only small number of households in Southwark (35%, I think it was) have access to a car or van. And, the people of Southwark and Lambeth did not form part of the Tory vote which saw Johnson elected, unlike (say) Bromley, where many more households have cars.

Therefore, there is no political risk in upsetting the residents of Southwark and the Mayor is quite willing to sacrifice the E&C redevelopment in order to placate his suburban supporters by allowing them to continue to drive through Southwark as easily as possible, polluting and maiming the locals and making the places we live less attractive for the benefit of people from somewhere else going somewhere else.

What do you reckon? Would that explain it?
Tuesday 14 October 2008 9.25am
Sadly that sounds all too plausible.

Inner city London beings left for the dogs to placate a suburban right voting populace.

plus ca change........
Tuesday 14 October 2008 10.41am
The Elephant and Castle sits on the Inner London Ringroad. Even wikipedia cannot give me a guess as to when the ringroad was first put together, but it has been there for many years.

It is preposterous to suggest that the E&C should be made more difficult for cars. The ringroad is an essential aspect of London.

Perhaps you consider the Tory voting people of London would like to keep the working classes of Southwark out of Regent's and Hyde Parks? Next time you fancy a ramble in a leafier part of town than SE1, bear that in mind. In London, we have to accept that we do not live in a village-by-village vacuum, but instead we are a part of a glorious whole. The Mayor is elected to represent the entirety of London, as an entirety. To favour one particular sector over another would be just wrong.
Tuesday 14 October 2008 10.50am
It's all very well complaining, but most of the people on this forum voted for Boris in the Mayoral Election. I warned you this sort of thing would happen. At least Ken Livingstone got things done, and pushed developments forward, instead of delaying/scrapping projects like this. Elephant & Castle might as well rot now, it will be decades before it's regenerated, if ever.
Tuesday 14 October 2008 11.21am
Thanks for the comments, Mapmaker.

I agree that London needs to be governed as a whole, not for sectarian or local interests.

The Elephant and Castle and its surrounding area has been a slum for even longer than the inner ring road has existed. Just because something's been that way for a long time, doesn't mean it needs to stay that way.

The reason for needing a hierarchy of transport modes is because there is a finite amount of road space to be shared amongst a lot of people. Therefore, it makes sense to encourage the densest users of it (buses, cycles and pedestrians).

In coming up with a hierarchy, you might want to include measures like social health, or contributions to ambient noise, too. You might even want to include accessibility - nearly everyone can use a bus or walk/use a wheelchair to get around, but there are a lot of people who can't drive a car.

This isn't a Dave Spart position; Steven Norris accepted the need for a hierarchy of road users.

For a good explanation, from a Tory point of view, I recommend this:
In favour of feudal roads

The enclosure of squares in Notting Hill and Belgravia has shown exactly how keen the wealthy people of Kensington are to share their leafy bits with outsiders. Access to the royal parks used to be restricted and only became general because of a great deal of campaigning.
Tuesday 14 October 2008 1.14pm
So you are in favour of general access to parks, but hierarchical access to transport. Yet you complain that some people are in favour of hierarchical access to parks, but general access to transport. No logic in either position, I'm afraid.

wjfox2004 wrote:
At least Ken Livingstone got things done, and pushed developments forward, instead of delaying/scrapping projects like this.

Absolutely. Because under Ken Livingstone the Elephant regeneration was not delayed for many years; under Ken Livingstone the Tram was fully costed and funded and work had started. It's outrageous the way Boris has reversed the major works that had already happened at the Elephant under Ken's long reign; in particular re-erecting the Heygate estate, and digging up the tram lines, both of which Ken worked long and hard to achieve.
Tuesday 14 October 2008 1.22pm
What can we do, as frustrated local people, to ensure that the much promised regeneration ever actually happens??

It seems to me that rather than complain to each other we should be doing more to make our voices heard at Southwark Council and GLA, TfL etc.

I seem to remember there was talk on this website before about setting up a 'friends of elephant' - local people's group - who would be organised to do some lobbying. Did this ever materialise?

Things get done in those 'nicer' areas because articulate and pushy people organise and influence - and kick up a huge stink if things aren't done. Why shouldn't we do the same?
Tuesday 14 October 2008 2.49pm
For a good explanation, from a Tory point of view, I recommend this:
In favour of feudal roads

Thanks very much for the link to my post, but Tory, moi? I used to work for Ken Livingstone...
Tuesday 14 October 2008 3.04pm
Mapmaker - I don't think you followed my argument.

I didn't say anything about a hierarchy of access to transport. There is, by default, a hierarchy of access to transport modes. Practically everyone can walk or use a wheelchair to get around a space. Increasingly, public transport in London is accessible to people with handicaps. Most people could use a bike, prevented only by fitness, moderate cost and the need to have somewhere secure to store it. The barrier to using taxis is a slightly higher wealth barrier. Whereas access to private motor transport is limited to a few by the need to have a driver's license, access to an expensive piece of machinery, and an ability to store the car somewhere in a dense urban environment.

I talked about a hierarchy of road users to ration access to a finite resoure; road-space.

And I [i]am[/] in favour of prioritised access to open space (another finite) resource, through a rational allocation based on clear criteria.

So, for example, let's start from the assumption that being able to enjoy quiet and leafy space is generally a desirable thing. Would you agree?

Motor vehicles, in general, are inimical to quiet enjoyment of a space. This is why they are usually banned from parks. There are exceptions, such as the roads through Hyde Park, or maintenance vehicles for the park. But if cars are allowed to range over too much of a park, it becomes a traffic network with traffic islands.

Bicycles however, are quiet, and cyclists benefit from access to parkland. However, fast moving cyclists are, again, inimical to other sorts of enjoyment of parkland. Therefore, in most parks, their access is officially limited, too. Again, Hyde Park has certain paths where cyclists and skaters are sanctioned.

Pedestrians and wheelchair users, finally, tend to be pretty quiet and not very dangerous or intimidating to other park users. Therefore they are allowed the widest access. Within these areas, there are further hierarchies, such as dedicated ball playing areas or childrens' play areas in which there are further restrictions, either by custom or bye-law.

Thus, in the design of an urban park, there is a clear hierarchy of users.

Now, rather than simply accusing me of a lack of logic, could you explain why using a hierarchy of users to ration access to a limited resource is a flawed way to undertake urban design?
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