STOP SADIQ’S WAR ON DRIVERS
ABD takes a look at Sadiq Khan’s Manifesto for the 2021 London
Mayor election. Khan would not have been elected if he had
properly publicised his vicious proposals
Not one to miss opportunities for self-promotion, Khan crows: “The Tories tried to force an extension to the Congestion Charge to the North and South Circulars….But I stood firm and stopped [it] from happening.” (p33)
That’s hypocritical, given his attempts to sneak in more road charging in the Mayor’s Transport Strategy (MTS) in 2017 – which was thwarted by ABD pulling out the stops.
More hypocrisy over ‘not punishing Londoners’... ‘Last year saw social distancing, and low-traffic neighbourhoods introduced as temporary under emergency guidance’. He threatens to make them permanent ‘where successful’ (which you can bet they will be hyped as despite assurances of consultation). (p98)
Road space will be removed via timed changes to streets across the capital through ‘School Streets’, Play Streets ‘Summer Streeteries’ and ‘Lunchtime Streets’ with flimsy holy-holy excuses. Khan will also explore options for future car-free days in central London. (p100)
With a hint of 24 hour, 7 day a week bus lanes Khan promises more bus priority schemes. (p98)
A WASTE OF SPACE…
Many people, including cyclists, are appalled at the way that cycling has been used as a blunt instrument for motorist-bashing. The loss of road space open to everyone is threatened by the push for the rapid expansion of London’s cycle network, cycleways on main roads and low-traffic routes on local streets. (p99)
More cycling will require more cycle parking, with the threat of removing car parking spaces previously on our radar in 2017. (p99) In the past, cycling has not grown in line with hyped projections.
When fighting local 20mph zones in 2015-17, ABD liaised with the taxi drivers. They were appalled at the prospect of mind-numbing 20mph on main roads. Yet Khan wants to accelerate the roll out of 20mph speed limits on the TfL road network (TLRN. p100)
Yes – London’s main roads like the A3, A12 & A406. What planet is he on? Not a single cyclist ABD spoke to locally in a 2016 campaign supported 20mph limits as they would make it more difficult for drivers to overtake.
…said the Mayor, chauffeured around in a £300,000 Range Rover.
HEALTHY CYNICISM …
Hampering travel round the clock would not be good for providers or passengers of bus and coach services either. Khan already claims to be concerned about ‘bus driver fatigue’.
Overall, Khan’s wider Manifesto health credentials wear thin; more platitudes than bankable commitments, Having more water fountains, mental health first-aiders in schools and piloting ready to eat fruit at a station sound more like gimmicks to fill the space.
‘Healthier travel’ looks like another big stick with which to beat drivers.
Khan’s interest in Air Quality is hypocritical given that, like his predecessor, ‘Green Ken’, he has laid on extravagant firework displays to appeal to the masses.
RIPPING UP THE ROADS YOU’VE PAID FOR …
‘Offering everyone access to nature within a 10 minute walk’ is mentioned in the same breath as ‘green corridors’ and ‘pocket parks’ (another trendy excuse for cannibalising road space, p57).
Khan’s TfL provided a speaker for a ‘Grey to Green’ session at the CPRE London AGM on 20 May 2021. The speaker confirmed plans to reduce private vehicle use to 20% of all journeys by 2041; and to convert 2342km (1540 miles) of London streets into green space.
An annual maintenance cost of £136m on top of a capital cost of £176m would speculatively be justified by ‘billions’ in ‘health benefits’
Amazingly CPRE talk about reusing car parks for housing and want every London borough to repurpose at least 30 streets for parks, play spaces, etc.
His other policies can only aggravate congestion – for instance if TfL reduce ‘polluting’ traffic detouring via green spaces, such as the Royal Parks, it will only add to stresses on busier roads. (p57)
Outer London boroughs will also be considered for trams. Former Mayor Ken Livingstone’s policy was condemned in West London because the sheer length of trams would seriously hold up traffic.
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY….
Like Livingstone, Khan is set to expand his charging zone (ULEZ. p55) He will monitor his road-charging schemes for ‘benefits’ (e.g. over congestion) and identify where further action is needed.
The motivation may be financial. Khan is eying the £500m of VED Londoners pay to the Government every year, “If the Government refuses, I will ask TfL to consider other ways of raising income”. This would be to make up for the ‘loss’ of VED (which has never been his), although the new money-raking would be hyped in terms of addressing congestion and air quality. (p34)
The environment could also be used as an excuse to work with politically correct local authorities, to deliver zero-emission zones (most likely car-exclusion zones).
Since getting re-elected, Khan has also been engineering a confrontation over funding in a letter to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
Khan moans that a £1Bn shortfall means significant delays to "active travel schemes and infrastructure enhancements" (which sounds like anti-car schemes?). This could mean that the ‘temporary’ Khangestion Charge rise becomes permanent.
He adds that to avoid a shortfall of £500m a year from April 2023 would require at least one of
● an extension to the Congestion Charge zone to the North and South Circular Roads;
● annual fare increases of 17%;
● the introduction of a charge for cars entering London;
● a £130-£165 Council Tax increase on Band D properties.
…Khan asks Shapps which of the above options did he want to force on London. (Maybe we should ask the same question of Khan.)
HOPING WE DON’T THINK TWICE…?
Other ideas need scrutinising. Some boroughs already have laws on engine idling (p36), but if the alternative is continual stop-start on Khan’s go-slow roads, it could run some batteries down and even cause breakdowns that aggravated congestion?
Khan muses: ‘how essential some journeys are, and we must do everything we can to help people travel to medical appointments smoothly. I will ask TfL to trial NHS patient transport vehicles and non-blue-light ambulances in bus lanes in central London. This could reduce delays in the NHS’. (p98)
But what about the congestion-causing cycle lanes/blocked off road lanes that delay ambulances and road humps that jar patients, Mr Mayor?
ABD is not taking ‘the wrath of Khan’ lying down. Please help spread the word.