Two-wheel solution to gesture politics
And so withageneral election looming, yet another government announces an attempt to win some voters, namely the motorists who spend longer and longer each day stuck in traffic jams.
Successive governments of all parties (and coalitions) have made similar gestures to motorists in the past, yet guess what? Yep, the roads are still clogged every day with more and more cars, vans and lorries all going nowhere fast.
The most recent announcement, made in Parliament at the beginning of December, was that hundreds of extra lane miles will be created on motorways and trunk roads in an attempt to speed up journey times. Some £15 billion will be spent, apparently, on roads across the UK which include plans to build a tunnel under Stonehenge in an attempt to help ease congestion there. Now personally, I love riding past the traffic jams on the A303 next to Stonehenge – not only do you get a beautiful ancient English Heritage site to admire, but you can laugh at all the car drivers too!
Anyway, the Government of course needs to find the money, so where will that come from if we don’t have enough to pay nurses, fireman, doctors and the like a decent wage? After all, in November Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin admitted that the “M6 Toll has flopped after failing to combat congestion on the region’s motorway network”, so that’s out.
Now, presuming this government is still around post election, and they haven’t dragged their heels for so long that we’ve forgotten about their ‘vote winning proposals’, then another problem is that with bigger, wider roads, all you do then is solve the problem temporarily while at the same time inviting other drivers to fill up the precious space on your newly laid Tarmac.
Luckily for the politicians, however, I can offer them some assistance here. Firstly, this country still has a network of railways, canals and rivers, so what about investing in these for both the transportation of freight and commuters? Everyone agrees that improved and affordable public transport would ease congestion on the roads.
As for the freight, every time I ride to a scooter rally in Europe it amazes me that the waterways of Holland and Germany – from canals to the mighty Rhine – always have commercial barges working up and