Archive | May, 2012

Parking Douche!

30 May

Check out Parking Douche and watch their video here which explains how it all works:

#Waitrose trash their own verge?

25 May

I recently noticed that Waitrose had parked one of their home-delivery vans on the verge right outside the entrance to their own Saxmundham store. I wonder if they always do that, and if that is why the verge has turned to mud? There is a huge message on side of the van which talks about being responsible, which they are not being really. Then there is another which reads ‘we shop like you shop’ however I don’t think that should give them the right to park like the most selfish of their customers! I can only assume that they just hate the idea of loosing a single parking space in their large car park, but I wonder if they said they would do that on their planning application?!

Needless to say it is illegal to park on the verge next to double yellow lines (unless they are fake lines as they were claimed to be at the Mercedes garage in Ipswich).

Showing the Waitrose van and their large car park and store beyond

Waitrose apparently trash the verge outside their own store

I wonder if their will respond to this post when they see it on twitter?

Inspiration from Bogotá, Columbia

11 May

Policy makers around the world have been paying a lot of attention to the transport changes that have taken place in Bogotá, Columbia over the past decade or so, many of which were initiated by their remarkable Mayor from 1998-2001, Enrique Peñalosa who managed to reorient the city away from the car and towards public transport, cycling and walking. Here are some my favorite quotes from the man:

  • “Children are a kind of indicator species. If we can build a successful city for children, we will have a successful city for all people.”
  • “We need to walk, just as birds need to fly. We need to be around other people. We need beauty. We need contact with nature. And most of all, we need not to be excluded. We need to feel some sort of equality.”
  • “A bikeway is a symbol that shows that a citizen on a $30 bicycle is equally important as a citizen on a $30,000 car.”
  • “If we’re going to talk about transport, I would say that the great city is not the one that has highways, but one where a child on a tricycle or bicycle can go safely everywhere.”
  • “One symbol of lack of democracy is to have cars parked on the sidewalk.”

And here he is explaining what he did and why:

This Streetfilm documentary explains how the bike free days work:

And this piece from the New York Times explains their clever bus rapid transit system work:

Simple really, almost child’s play, but it seems to be far out of reach for ‘developed’ countries. What exactly do we mean by the word ‘developed’ I wonder? I am reminded of how Gandhi  responded when asked what he though about ‘Western Civilisation’, saying that he thought that ‘it would be a good idea’.

Heroes, motorists and parking places

1 May

The BBC published an article earlier today asking ‘Is there a worldwide parking problem’ in response to a piece of research published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In the article they talk about all the cunning ways one can park 600 million cars in a smaller space that at present, or just change the colour of the car park so that the surface doesn’t get so hot.

Unfortunately they (and the report) doesn’t address the question of why so many people drive in the first place, how demand can be reduced. No mention of car clubs, public transport, cycling or simply charging drivers for the spaces they use rather than just providing spaces for free. The BBC gives Bluewater, which provides 13,000 free parking places ‘right next to the M25’, as an example of good practice because they have lots of tree shade. The architect of the Bluewater car parks is quoted as saying “[car parks] should be designed in such a way that they “honour the heroic routine” of driving, working and shopping.”

Heroes, driving, shopping? Now this is getting seriously weird!

They also make no mention of the dramatic reductions in car traffic in many UK cities since about 1995 or the impressive drop in parking demand in Canary Wharf recently; in the late 1990s 12% of workers in Canary Wharf ‘demanded‘ parking spaces, but now only half that number do. I am not sure why This is London uses the phrase ‘demand’; I could ‘demand’ more cycle racks or free bus travel and nothing would change! But I guess heroes can demand anything.

Anyway… I have written to the BBC with my views and will see if I get any sort of response.