Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Cause and Effect

14th October - Secretary of State for Transport, Douglas Alexander says "NO" to Crossrail in Woolwich on cost grounds.

2nd November - Secretary of State for Transport, Douglas Alexander says he'll "rethink" Woolwich Crossrail.

7th November - Leader of Greenwich Council, Chris Roberts announces that Greenwich wants to be guinea pig in Douglas Alexander's congestion charging project.

To be confirmed - Woolwich Crossrail back on the route with funding provided by congestion charging revenue in Greenwich?

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Blogger Indigo said...

Is this another wheeze agreed privately between the local mayor and the Labour Group? Has it been discussed by full Council? If this connection is true, then truly Greenwich Council is NuLab's "bitch".

What with the threat of the casino-related crime wave, an increase in the population equivalent to the whole of Banbury, and even more traffic - estate agents may wish to take note - Greenwich is becoming a bad place to be a home-owner or a family with young children or a small business.

7:58 am  
Anonymous andrew said...

Actually, I have some sympathy with Roberts on this one. Something must be done. Simply, there is too much traffic in Greenwich and travelling through Greenwich.

I fail to understand how it benefits local traders to tolerate Greenwich residents driving short distances to their shops, when they could quite perfectly well walk, improving the urban environment for all. And 'passing-through' traffic is a severe blight on our borough. Anything that will improve the Trafalgar Road for Greenwich residents must be considered.

Sadly, you fear that the Council will goof this up and will fail to deliver sensible objectives. Will sufficient alternative means be put in place to encourage local transport to be undertaken by (say) bus? Can Greenwich/Lewisham/Blackheath car transport be moved onto public transport? And will the extra funds be reinvested sensibly in the community? I'm sure central Government will seek to reduce its funding if Greenwich becomes more self-sufficient.

9:46 am  
Blogger Indigo said...

Is it possible that Chris Roberts sees this - allowing congestion charging to be extended all the way to Woolwich, in exchange for "another look" at CrossRail's route - as a way of going straight to the top of the greasy pole, close to the young Brownite rising stars, Douglas Alexander and Ed Miliband. However, as he is not (as far as I know) an alumnus of either Oxford or Cambridge, I doubt that he will ever be a six-figure salaried, unaccountable, Downing Street or Treasury "special adviser". I suppose that he could be looking for a safe Communist (I mean, Labour) seat. For myself, looking back at newspaper reports earlier in 2006, I cannot help feeling that Roberts has just lined himself up for a knighthood.

Where are the Tory and LibDem Councillors?

10:27 am  
Blogger Indigo said...

The Council web site still asserts that All 51 Greenwich Councillors meet once each month at a Full Council meeting to discuss and vote on key Council policies and strategies. That's not true - as anyone can ascertain from the meetings schedule - there was no meeting in August, the September meeting was cancelled, and there was no meeting in October.

Can't this Council be straight about anything?

11:25 am  
Blogger Indigo said...

Andrew - don't you think that this should have been discussed and decided by a full Council meeting, rather than by Chris Roberts flying solo?

11:27 am  
Anonymous CllrAWilson said...

We have called for the September Council meeting, but it was not forthcoming.
Personally I’ve got to say that I’m very concerned about any congestion charging scheme in Greenwich. The merits of it working in central London are another discussion but the one fact is that in Greenwich we do not have a tube, bus and rail network to rely on; we just have a bus network; therefore we would be forcing people out of cars and onto the busses and this with their weekly shopping?

2:44 pm  
Anonymous andrew said...

I don't think the proposals force people to do anything. Currently a significant part of the congestion is caused by people who don't live in Greenwich, but the cost of congestion is borne by people who do live in Greenwich. That's unfair, so the congestion charge seeks to ensure that those who cause congestion pay for it.

We don't own a car by the way. Yet we still manage to get our shopping done...

4:17 pm  
Blogger Indigo said...

Andrew said, We don't own a car by the way. Yet we still manage to get our shopping done...

Anyone who visits your blog can see that you are a young family. I'd expect you to be able to manage quite easily without a car AND be able to afford a cab home from the supermarket if necessary. It behoves all of us to consider the elderly and infirm and those on low incomes. I know an 80-year-old lady living just off the Woolwich Road for whom the new 129 bus has been an absolute boon: she can now travel to Sainsbury's without having what was for her an impossibly long walk with shopping bags from the supermarket to the bus stop opposite the East Greenwich Library.

4:43 pm  
Anonymous andrew said...

I'm not sure of your point, Indigo - I'm not unsympathetic to those who really need to use their cars. But it's a fact that the vast majority of road traffic in Greenwich simply doesn't need to be there.

Those on low incomes should surely be the last to be thinking about owning/running/insuring/taxing/using a car? They're very expensive, you know, even before you get into congestion charges and the like.

5:12 pm  
Blogger CharltonAverage said...

Do you have any information on what's being proposed?

All I've seen is the
story at the newsshoper web site.

Is this a scheme that only affects the town centre or is it an extension of the central London CC zone out to Greenwich?

11:33 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not surprised that this has come to pass - it is quite clear that a council which grants planning permission after planning permission to developers wanting to build big schemes but with no real provision for the inevitable additional strain that this places on the transport infrastructure has to find a way out. No way to build more roads or other capital intensive projects - more busses add to the problem anyway - so price people out of their cars. Or use the blunt (and I am sure ineffective) means of saying that new developments have limited parking.

I do in general agree with road pricing and think that it will be the only effective way in future to moderate car use and I agree that those from outside Greenwich should pay for the congestion they cause. What I don't agree with is haphazard and ill-thought-out planning policies and decisions - Greenwich is in terrible danger of being horribly overbuilt and is becoming an increasingly difficult place to live in.

Perhaps these developers with whom the council is so enamoured could stump up the costs of implementing a decent system - at least that way it's not left to what is clearly an incompetent and inefficient council.

11:51 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

personally I just see this as yet another form of extortion by Greenwich Council to obtain revenue for its 'black hole' of expenditure (i.e. where does all the money go)

I do not drive a car, and as per previous comments I do manage to get my shopping done, however if I did have a car I would object strongly to paying congestion charging in Greenwich....perhaps the council should look at the absurb amount of money they spend on useless projects, self advertising and the salaries for the top knobs before they continue to think about how to extort yet more money out of their beleaguered residents!

8:41 am  

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