Saturday, 6 March 2010

Vote Labour for cheaper car dependency

Waltham Forest Matters drops through the letterbox. A four page glossy pamphlet from the local Labour Party about all the wonderful things it is doing locally.

No surprise that it nowhere mentions walking or cycling, because there wouldn’t be anything to boast about. And anyway walking and cycling aren’t important. What matters is the perceived interest and vote of the car-owning resident. And even though the cost of an annual Controlled Parking Zone permit allowing a resident to park their vehicle in streets around their home is only £45 – possibly the cheapest CPZ permit charge in London – our friendly ‘Green’ council is slashing it to £30.

Fairer Local Parking. Naturally the consciousness of Councillor Terry Wheeler only extends to cars. He's been a councillor for longer than anyone can remember, and in all that time Terry and his colleagues have never put in a single cycle stand in the whole of Walthamstow Village, home to most of the best pubs and restaurants in the area. Numerous council buildings used by the public lack cycle parking, including 4 out of the borough's 10 public libraries. Cycle parking is a farce in the London Borough of Waltham Forest, because it's grossly inadequate, patchy and incoherent. It's a glaring symbol both of the car-centric crap Council and the campaigning inadequacies of the local cycling group.

“Eco-cars go free” it says on the front of the pamphlet, whatever that’s supposed to mean. If you can afford to buy a Toyota Prius, why should you be exempted from paying £30 for the privilege of parking your car in the street for a whole year?

“Larger cars will not qualify for free permits” apart from when there will be “exceptions to recognise family circumstances”. Crikey, that’s a relief. There must be lots of familes that really, really need that gleaming People Carrier, 4X4 or large Mercedes. And let’s face it, how else could you get the kids to school?