Monday, 27 December 2010

Help persuade Westminster Council that bicycles are a better solution than cheaper taxis

London Taxi - blocking a bike lane near you...(courtesy
As I reported back here, Westminster Council seems to have total and utter antipathy towards cycling.

Funny then, that as part of their recent parking survey here they ask this question:

"If you ever drive into the West End at night, e.g. to visit the theatre, eat at a restaurant, go to a night club, or visit a casino, what, if anything, would make you leave your car at home and use an alternative form of transport?"

You then have a choice of options. Not one of the options involves cycling. In fact, cycling hardly ever appears in the survey. So, I've filled out the survey trying to explain things like:

- If the roads weren't so unpleasant in the West End on a Friday or Saturday night, my partner might be convinced to cycle in with me rather than drive
-If the approaches to Westminster (bridges, main junctions) weren't so dismal, I'd feel happier cycling in normal clothes for a night out in the West End

Things like that would make me and people I know leave their car behind. The only options this survey considers are things like

"First class travel on public transport"


"Cheaper taxi fares"

If you have a spare five minutes to fill out this highly irritating survey, I suggest you might consider doing likewise. People who use bicycles and don't think cheaper taxi fares are part of the solution need to fill out these sorts of surveys, if only to make the report mention cycling. Otherwise, we might be getting more of this sort of classic parking infrastructure, as blogged by Crap Waltham Forest here.

So, if you have a chance, click on this link here and tell Westminster Council that they really need to get their heads in gear. The survey is open until January 7. You just need some sort of connection to Westminster (like working there, visiting pubs, theatres or any such thing). Not difficult to do.


  1. Here are a few of the questions asked and my responses:

    Do you have any other comments on residents' and visitor parking in Westminster?

    a) Please can parking on Waterloo Bridge in the cycle lane be banned at all times.
    b) Where the removal of car parking would allow for streets to be made two way for cyclists I would like to see this measure taken.
    c) I would prefer to see Oxford Street pedestrianised. If parking on adjacent streets is a reason for buses being able to use them rather than Oxford Street I would like to see that parking removed in favour of bus relocation.

    Do you have any other comments on parking, servicing and deliveries in the West End?
    a) At present there is too much provision for motoring in the West End, resulting in a noisy, polluted and congested environment. I would like to see servicing and deliveries by motor vehicle limited to certain times of the day, and much less provision for private cars and taxis in favour in room and space for active travel and public transport.

    Should there be more electric recharging spaces?
    a) I agree, but with this caveat:
    These should be for car clubs. The electric car remains problematic as a 'green' solution because the electricity needs to be generated. This means exploiting resources and relocating pollution elswehere. The main focus must be on facilitating active travel and public transport.

    3 priorities for parking in Westminster:
    a) Decreasing provision for private car parking by residents and guests
    b) Reducing loading and delivery times for motor vehicles
    c) Increasing cycle parking provision

  2. Nice article, I went online and submitted my response.

    Concerning subsidised (free) electricity for electric cars, I mentied that the electric vehicles at the moment are expensive and with a short range, therefore they are a luxury for the wealthy thus needn't be subsidised by the rest of us.

    Subsidised cycling and / or public transport would be a far more egalitarian and democratic approach.

  3. Wish I'd read the comments before submitting my survey there are some points here I agree with especially about limiting hours for deliveries and large vehicles entering Westminster.

  4. I had set myself a reminder to look at this as soon as it opened so I did it a while ago. I used the comments boxes to add as much about bike use as I could, alongside reducing car parking, making it more expensive, especially for Chelsea Tractors, etc.

    I specifically voted against electric charging points, and commented why: the battery car is an evolutionary dead-end, like Neanderthal man. Batteries will NEVER achieve the energy density necessary to give the speed and range of internal combustion (I should know - my Uni chemistry tutor moved to Exxon to develop the lithium cell - in 1975!) Better to wait for the next generation eg fuel cells - we already have buses.

  5. Survey completed! Thanks for posting these types of things.

  6. We find that bicycles are the best way for my entire family to get around Westminster - for shopping, visiting, work - all journeys! The biggest single issue is inadequate number of secure lock points with space to use.
    Regards, michael herrmann