Being one of Brighton’s non car owning residents, I would personally be rather pleased if we could reduce traffic levels back to those which it existed in the early 1970s. Everyone can have a selfish argument about this if we want. The other extreme would be to propose, as the local thieving Tory bastards did prior to the local elections in 2007, to construct underground car parks in all sorts of bonkers places, e.g. under Montpelier Crescent! These selfish arguments get us nowhere, fast. A bit like attempting to drive around Brighton & Hove.
All At Sea
The two most common complaints from visitors are that there is nowhere to park and that the beach is covered in stones, not sand. Incidentally, isn’t it further proof that most people in Britain are frighteningly stupid when these visitors repeatedly claim that all the pebbles on the beach were put there by the Victorians? The parking complaint is equally alarming in its idiocy. These people have repeatedly visited Brighton but cannot work out that they should drive to another town, park there and then catch the train into Brighton. If, for some reason, they must leave their car in Brighton proper, they could use our local Park & Ride scheme. The local bus service is excellent, with hundreds of buses. We’ve even got a local bus company which runs on recycled fuel!
The Big Lemon's Buses Run On 100% Locally Sourced Cooking Oil
Leaving Hove aside for a moment ( ), Brighton’s street plan is pretty much a congestion charge in itself. At some point in the last century, our roads were gridlocked and a one way street was introduced. Predictably, traffic moved again. People complain about the one way system because they can’t remember the previous state of affairs. Either that or they are the sort of people who complain because their mothers never taught them to be positive. Viaduct Road, where I was apparently moved to when I was 18 months old, actually now enjoys lulls in the traffic whereas before it was a continuous shit hole. On a hot summer’s busy day, the traffic still moves albeit very slowly. The idiotic visitors who drive our local economy have to rush to spend money when they get here because they have wasted so much time sitting in their car on the London Road, queuing to get into town.
Queueing To Get Into Brighton
The fundamental problems with the current state of affairs are:
- localised, ground level pollution
- cycling is less safe than it needs to be
Apparently there about 80,000 commuter car journeys into Brighton & Hove every day; these drivers cover about three miles each. This accounts for nearly one-fifth of our local carbon emissions. Daily pollutant levels are published. A report from 2007 says that many City centre areas exceed the recommended safety limits for Nitrogen Dioxide.
Many more people would cycle if there were less cars in the City centre. This appears to be unarguable now, following London’s experience.
The Debate Will Be When & Where, Not If
It is often said that a congestion charge would destroy many businesses in Brighton. Surely people come to Brighton because they want to be able to walk around? Surely they don’t come because they want to spend hours waiting in their cars, trying to enter our quaint little streets? It was very naughty of the thieving Tory bastards locally to claim that the Brighton & Hove Green Party were intending on introducing a congestion charge. That was a bare faced lie. It was not in the local Green manifesto for this political term. I’d like to see a serious debate about whether it might be included in the next Green manifesto. Any congestion charge would have to include some local people and taxis. That would be easy to manage – it’s a simple registration of number plates. As to which local people would have to be excluded, that is a big issue and far too large for one post on this blog. The smart move would be making it tough to drive into the very City centre on weekends only to begin with. The zone could start where there were appropriate park and ride schemes – if necessary it can have panhandles to reach those points. Once people have got used to the idea, it could be extended by popular consent.
To end on a controversial note, removing cars from New England hill would be my idea of heaven! Just imagine the pleasure of cycling up it, yes up, without any cars. Its a classic hill ruined by motorists hammering their way past you.