Monday, 29 July 2013

Double-Yellowed Madness

Strange things happen on Mondays.
I don't know if it's the effect the weekend has on some people, but here we are again with something else to exasperate us at the start of the week.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles is supposedly proposing a 15 minute "grace" period to park on double yellow lines.
This, apparently, is to help the High Street in its battle to survive. 
Nice thought, Eric. And I can see, however vaguely, the thought process behind it.
Now let's imagine this comes to pass.
We already have a major problem with illegal parking. The "l couldn't give a monkeys" brigade already have it far too easy. And I was sickened only yesterday to read an article in one of the Sunday papers about assaults on traffic wardens, complete with CCTV footage of some neanderthal attempting a kung-fu kick at a hapless emoloyee doing his job.
So how on earth does Pickles envisage this working?
Employ a new army of traffic wardens to enforce the 15 minute plan? Because as sure as eggs is eggs, Britain is no longer a nation of people who play by the rules. We'll have "I was only there for 15 minutes" pleas from the usual scallywags who've been there 3 hours.
And what about the delays it will potentially cause? In Wolverhampton the other day my bus was caught in a delay caused by some prat fixing his car stereo on the side of the road, door wide open, couldn't care a jot. Every extra obstruction makes buses more unreliable.  Well done Mr. Pickles - some joined up Government thinking there. 
Here's what I would do to help the High Street:
- pass legislation to force out of town shopping centres to charge for car parking - with profits ploughed back into public transport improvements.
- make car park charges on shopping centres at least 10% higher than the average bus fare, ensuring that travelling in by bus - helping the environment - would always work out better than driving.
- promote a scheme that gives widespread discounts to bus users and cyclists - again incentivising use of these modes.
Of course this won't happen. Government isn't in the business of upsetting large retail businesses. And there still remains large numbers of retailers who believe the motorist is king for their business, when the evidence shows that buses deliver more people to the High Street. 
So if Eric's plans come to pass, we can look forward to more journey misery in our towns and cities.
Absolute madness.

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