Kengestion Spreading to Outer London
Is Your City Next on the List?
(Kengestion — Traffic congestion that has been deliberately engineered for political purposes by means of road closures, road narrowing, bus lanes, badly-timed roadworks, and traffic light phasing etc.)
Having succeeded in bringing central London's traffic to a virtual standstill in order to justify a congestion charge, it seems that Ken Livingstone has further plans in mind to bring similar chaos to outer London.
Recently, Transport for London, an agency closely allied to Ken Livingstone, took over the management of London's major routes from the Highways Agency. One of their first actions has been to scrap plans to alleviate the last two major bottlenecks on the A406 North Circular. A scheme approved by Barnet Council to build a tunnel at Henley's Corner where the A1 and the A406 meet and plans for an underpass at Brent Street (two notoriously congested junctions) have been replaced with proposals for a complex junction with cycle and bus lanes controlled by traffic lights. As if this were not enough to ensure gridlock on this vital orbital route, TfL are planning to remove the pedestrian footbridge over the A406 at Golders Green Road and replace it with a pedestrian traffic light phase which will guarantee an even longer wait for vehicles trying to pass through the junction. The economic and environmental damage will be immense. Costs to commerce in terms of wasted time will be gre! atly increased and everyone knows that queueing vehicles cause the most pollution. Locals fear it will lead to increased rat running and force their children to cross a six lane highway to get to school.
It is hard to imagine what reason TfL and Mayor Livingstone could have for this deliberate act of sabotage to the North Circular unless it is intended to justify the eventual extension of the congestion charge to outer London by ensuring gridlock on one of its most vital thoroughfares and to force more people to use second rate public transport which neither meets nor serves their needs.
Although this may seem like a local issue, it is likely to become a blueprint not only for other major routes around London but in due course for cities throughout the United Kingdom. Many city authorities now demonstrate an institutional prejudice against private cars and road freight.
Tony Vickers, ABD London
"The decision seems very strange as after the Mayor's transport strategy consultation, Transport for London conceded that the car would be the preferred mode of transport outside Central London. Transport for London should be getting public transport to work properly after recent disasters rather than meddling in matters which the elected council are better placed to manage. One wonders what other obstructions TfL are planing for London's road network."
The ABD strongly supports Barnet Council's opposition to TfL's plans and calls for the rapid implementation of the original proposals which have received the approval of the local community and traffic organisations alike.
For further details visit http://www.barnet.gov.uk/barnet_first/roadplans.php3
Notes for Editors