Re: Residents Melbourne Grove, Adys Road, Bromar Road - Traffic increases due to Champion Hill
Posted by wulfhound
March 12, 11:02AM
... and to bring this back full circle, what this comes down to is that people will cut their cloth to fit their means.
This has two key implications:
1) That when those means are changed by external factors, people will - quite reasonably - get upset about it. If you've planned your life around a 20-minute car journey to school, and all of a sudden that 20 becomes 30, it's fair enough that you'll feel put out..
2) That people, generally, will do what's easy. Very few are so environmentally worthy that they'll put themselves out to walk and cycle everywhere, if it's much slower and more dangerous than the alternative. Which in turn leads to the conclusion that if you want to change peoples' behaviour, and their decisions around how to organise their lives, you have to change what's easy - but it's reasonable to expect that that will lead to inconvenience and unhappiness in the short term, as people who are used to doing things a certain way are forced to adjust.
Cue cries of "social engineering" from those who lean to the Classical Liberal end of the political spectrum. Newsflash: all engineering is social. Nobody describes Tinder or the M25 as social engineering, despite the massive implications for society. I've personally got no problem with the authorities taking it upon themselves to undertake this kind of project, as long as there's a modicum of democratic accountability.
One thing puzzles me though.. zooming out a little, one of the following must be true:
1) It's too easy to drive short trips (of say 3 miles and under), and it should be made more difficult in order to discourage such trips.
2) It's too difficult to drive short trips, and it should be made easier (by, for example, widening the South Circular, building new ones, opening e.g. Green Dale up to motor traffic, reopening the Dulwich Park road, increasing urban speed limits to 40mph).
3) The status quo in which we find ourselves is somehow, per Goldilocks, just right.
Now, should someone here argue for 2), from the point of view of economic growth, social mobility or some such, I'd vehemently disagree, but I'd at least recognise the consistency of their position. It's reasonable to want different outcomes and argue for them. If you want to live in a world where economic wealth and efficiency matters more than air quality, say, that's a legitimate point of view - just not one I agree with.
And yet almost nobody is making that argument. And while I'd strongly disagree with 2), I think it's at least more plausible than 3), which seems to enjoy wide support, yet on closer examination just seems somehow... unlikely.