Why plan to ban car­sisa a no-go

The Sunday Post (Inverness) - - NEWS -

Bal­ance is not some­thing you find, it’s some­thing you cre­ate, ac­cord­ing to au­thor and “big dream strate­gist” Jane Kings­ford. How very true, Jane.

But I would add that, to achieve some sort of equi­lib­rium in life and a mod­icum of peace and tran­quil­lity, bal­ance is a state of be­ing that you must re­ally want to achieve.

Whether it’s per­son­ally, at home or at work, within a re­la­tion­ship or a mar­riage, in busi­ness or in pol­i­tics, bal­ance is a vi­tal com­po­nent to find­ing a so­lu­tion that ev­ery­one can live with and be happy with.

As with Brexit, some things just can­not be sorted, es­pe­cially when both sides are so en­trenched.

But it’s not the frac­tious and di­vi­sive de­bate cur­rently tak­ing place over Brexit, and the lack of re­solve be­ing shown from all sides to find a bal­anced, agree­able so­lu­tion that has my eye­brows raised.

Rather, it’s the news Glas­gow City Coun­cil, on a rec­om­men­da­tion from an in­de­pen­dent Con­nec­tiv­ity Com­mis­sion chaired by trans­port ex­pert, David Begg, is propos­ing to re­con­sti­tute the city cen­tre by pri­ori­tis­ing pedes­tri­ans and cy­clists over cars.

They will over­haul the road net­work by re­plac­ing its cur­rent grid sys­tem with a “smart grid” that has more car-free streets, less park­ing and which sep­a­rates modes of trans­port into a hi­er­ar­chy that places walk­ing at the top, fol­lowed by cy­cling, pub­lic trans­port, taxis and pool cars with pri­vate cars lan­guish­ing at the bot­tom. And drivers work­ing in the city will also have to pay a work­place park­ing levy.

Pro­fes­sor Begg ar­gues Glas­gow’s streets, par­tic­u­larly in the city cen­tre, do not of­fer an ex­pe­ri­ence wor­thy of a great Euro­pean city, and these pro­pos­als would en­sure that it be­came an at­trac­tive place to live, work, visit and in­vest while bet­ter con­nect­ing all its cit­i­zens.

Well-mean­ing pro­pos­als, no doubt, but they are out of kil­ter with many strug­gling busi­nesses.

Un­less a mea­sured and bal­anced ap­proach is taken, they could turn our dear green place into an empty, though well-paved, ex­pen­sive void,

filled with pedes­tri­ans and cy­clists but with no shops or stores.

How is pe­nal­is­ing drivers with a levy and re­duc­ing the num­ber of park­ing places go­ing to boost vis­i­tor num­bers and set the tills ring­ing?

I am not to­tally against the pro­pos­als, but as they stand they seem to be just an­other puni­tive at­tack on car own­ers.

And that will only fur­ther im­pede rates-bur­dened busi­nesses, buck­ling un­der the rise of on­line shop­ping and whose cus­tom is in dan­ger of be­ing lost to sub­ur­ban shop­ping malls.

These malls are soul­less places, but park­ing is free and cus­tomers can fill their cars up with shop­ping bags with­out lug­ging them down the road to a bus stop.

To pre­serve the city, to en­cour­age visi­tors and boost busi­ness then a bet­ter so­lu­tion needs to be found.

One which en­cour­ages all forms of trans­port, not one that alien­ates Scot­land’s most pop­u­lar mode of trans­port, the car.

And, on bal­ance, I think the car will be pop­u­lar for decades to come.

Fake moos? No, Knick­ers, the Aussie steer re­ally is head, shoul­ders, rump and houghs above the rest of her field

Pro­fes­sor David Begg

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