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.

9 Responses to “Heroes, motorists and parking places”

  1. Tim Beadle May 2, 2012 at 9:05 am #

    I also left a comment on the piece, basically saying the same as you, and that the BBC are basically part of the problem. I suggested that they could apply the same journalistic approach to the problem of obesity: “Do we have a global waistband capacity problem?”

    The comment form disappeared shortly afterwards – they don’t like it up ’em.

  2. A N Onymous May 2, 2012 at 10:58 am #

    Has anyone asked the powers that be why cycling organisations encourage breaking the law? have a look at Bikehub, for example: http://www.bikehub.co.uk/contact-us/#wpcf7-f2974-p1626-o1. Check this statement –

    Quote: :”Zealous pedestrians often accost cyclists in pedestrian zones and ask them to cease and desist but, in the classic ‘missing the mote in your own eye’ way of the world, same pedestrians don’t give a monkey’s chuff about the vans making deliveries to shops in the self-same pedestrianised zones. If accosted, politely point this out, but don’t always expect a sane answer.”

    Ped zones usually allow deliveries anyway, and why should a walker not protest at being confronted by a bike?

    • Roger Hodgson May 2, 2012 at 8:26 pm #

      Two things to say to A.N.O.:
      – first, why are you commenting on a completely unrelated article on another website?
      – second, I have read the bikehub page before and read this section as “cycling is not always prohibited in pedestrian areas, it depends on local bylaws, be careful if cycling around peds”. Certainly not encouraging law breaking, but raising awareness that the law might not be what one assumes.

      • A N Onymous May 3, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

        Pardon Good Sir; I consider myself duly admonished and leave you with just a few thoughts.

        I thought one of the key issues here was a supected agenda at the BBC. This means a lower standard of scrutiny being applied to favourite causes, and (this is the relevance), I haven’t noticed large scale media criticism of illegal cycling in pedestrianized town centres, while enthusiasm is nightly voiced on local news bulletins for cycle ways and moves to interest more people in pedalling. Meanwhile pedestrian underpasses flood and crumble.

        My quote from Bikehub (found on yet another website) and your own are interesting to compare, and I am sure they can both be verified by readers. Many clearly have it in for motorists. Is it annoying to mention cyclists, too?

        The pedestrianized high streets in many towns have signs: no issue of who is allowed in – it’s all there. If NO Cycling is displayed, I believe it means no legal cycling .

      • Roger Hodgson May 3, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

        Sorry, A.N.O. I think we are both actually on the same side. As Tim said, there is a difference between the law and what is good and civilised behaviour. I also can’t stand cyclists weaving at speed through a crowded pedestrianised high street especially near my young children. On the other hand, at 7am on same street, a careful, respectful cyclist will do no harm by not dismounting.

        Cyclists and pedestrians should be united when the real threat to the lives and health of both is motorised traffic. Car culture and the woeful policing of motorist behaviour has forced some cyclists (legally and illegally) to share a diminishing amount of street space with pedestrians.

        I accept that there are careless, irresponsible yobs on bikes and these give all cyclists a bad reputation. But I wish people weren’t “fascist” in labelling all cyclists as pavement hopping red-light jumpers. That’s almost as bad as saying “I don’t like black people because they’re drug dealers”. Motorists on the other hand can be grouped because the all undeniably share a lot of characteristics–they drive too fast for pedestrian comfort, their cars take up a huge amount public space when moving and parked and they are less healthy for all than active travel.

        Btw, mine was not a quote, it was my interpretation of the same section.

  3. Tim Beadle May 2, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    @A N Onymous Perhaps because what’s legal/illegal and what’s harmless/harmful don’t always intersect.

    • Lily June 5, 2012 at 7:30 am #

      You know what? I support the Burrard Bridge biccyle lane project which seems to be working out just fine at this point. (I do agree with Vancouver City Council member Andrea Reimer, however: Enough about the Burrard Bridge. ) I support the construction of increased cycling and transit infrastructure. We need billions of dollars more for transit and millions more to improve bike lanes.

  4. Tim Beadle May 3, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

    A false war between cyclists and pedestrians is inadvisable: we are all pushed to the side by a century of motorisation. There is more power together than apart.

  5. A N Onymous May 6, 2012 at 9:58 am #

    RH and TB

    Keep trying (4th time) to reply but stupid txt window keeps deleting comments after sqeezing them and jumping around so short telegraph follows which could be nonsense:

    No group should be demonised – I have pics of misbehaviour by ALL people but Police as you discovered ignore – enforcement no answer anyway – good will required – where is it? I contacted Bikehub who stood by comments on other hand Motor vehicle large part of economy, not to be attacked soft machine in the middle for sacrifice?

    Ideas anyone?

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