Traffic Flows Deliberately Obstructed

Posted on: 15 August 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Transport for London admits the Ken Livingstone regime deliberately obstructed traffic flows.


Despite 100,000 fewer cars a day entering London’s extended congestion charge zone, the latest report from Transport for London (TFL) states that congestion hasn't improved since the charge was introduced.

Although some of the figures are down to road works, the report admits that many traffic lights and road schemes have reduced road and junction capacity, and publicly confirms that obstructing traffic has been a deliberate policy.

“This latest report on the London congestion charge demonstrates the fundamental dishonesty of all road pricing proposals,” says the Association of British Drivers’ Nigel Humphries.

“They claim that by paying even more money to use the roads, drivers will benefit from lower congestion. But London has proved that anti-car authorities and pressure groups will simply not allow this to happen.”

“They just increase the number of traffic lights and reduce the road space available until drivers are just paying through the nose to sit in the same jams as before.”

Transport schemes up and down the country have brought cities such as London to a halt by creating bus lanes and disrupting junctions with “pedestrian priority” measures. These schemes negate all the advantages to busses while doubling car drivers' delays. These problems are not confined to London; with or without road pricing they are endemic in every city in the UK.

Boris Johnson has made a start in the capital by reviewing the flow implications of all proposed schemes, announcing the death of road space eating bendy buses and consulting on the Western Extension charging zone. But the ABD believes the new Mayor needs to do more to improve traffic flow.

The ABD are proposing seven points to ease city congestion:

  • A major programme of investment in trunk roads and junctions to remove conflict between heavy traffic and vulnerable road users by means of underpasses and pedestrian & cyclist bridges & tunnels. All money from the congestion charge should be ring-fenced to pay for such schemes which benefit all road users equally and reduce danger and stress for all. Once these schemes are complete the congestion charge should be phased out.
  • All bus lanes should be reviewed to ensure that they do not restrict overall road capacity. This means no bus lanes through junctions or across pelican crossings, which halve the amount of traffic that can pass when there are no buses or taxis on the road.
  • Removal of at least 20 per cent of the traffic lights in central London by identifying those which do nothing but obstruct traffic flow.
  • Removal of constriction points which create danger for cyclists and pedestrians by restricting the manoeuvring space for large vehicles.
  • Redesign of all "forward stop line" schemes for cyclists. These are ill named as they really are "backward" stop lines for motorists and reduce the capacity of light controlled junctions irrespective of whether any cyclists are there. Forward stop lines for bikes should be just that - in front of the normal stop line - and should not place cyclists in front of the traffic.
  • Reversal of ruinous schemes like Trafalgar Square which reduce road capacity and create huge jams, mostly comprising buses and taxis.
  • Removal of all 20mph speed limits imposed on main roads.

Is your city struggling with congestion? What can your city do to improve traffic flow? Do you pay extra to drive into your city centre?

Let us know by leaving a comment in the box below. Alternatively, share your thoughts in the 50connect forums.

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