Sunday, 13 April 2014

Why do I do it? Why should the Fishponds trial take place?

Just gutted for the family of the people involved in that RTC (Road Traffic Collision).

It's a beautiful spring day, I'd been out collecting more signatures for the Tooting High Street petition. Got home, putting their details onto the system I check on twitter, and I see the post above.

One family today will have received a call to go to the hospital for their loved one. It is very likely that the driver of the vehicle will not have been seriously injured. Cars/vans are very good at protecting their occupants. Whilst I don't know the exact details of this RTC, it is likely that the person who has been seriously injured wasn't in a motor vehicle. Whether they were or weren't is kind of irrelevant.

The fact is that at least someone has been seriously injured this morning on Fishponds Road, as a result of someone driving a motor vehicle.

I don't want to be a family member caught up in this, when I know action can be taken to reduce the risk of events like this taking place. How many more people do we need to let get hurt, before we will even just try a different solution?

For all those that oppose the trial scheme, I don't think many would choose to swap places with the family of the seriously injured person today.

I campaign because we can, we should, we must act to reduce the chances of this happening again. We need politicians who don't just stand up and say, 'one crash is one crash too many' and then not act. We need both politicians who recognise the problem, and importantly are prepared to do something about it.

I'll be standing with the Liberal Democrats in Tooting ward in the coming local elections. I think too many people have been hurt on our streets, and nothing of substance has happened to reduce danger for too long. If you agree with me, I hope that you'll be able to support me and my colleagues with your vote so that we can try to reduce the chances of these terrible incidents taking place again.


  1. Isn't part of the problem with traffic in Tooting that there are too many Asians coming from outer suburban south London to shop in Asian shops in Tooting, and most of them coming by car. This is phenomenon that is also starting to occur in other parts of London. Visible ethnic minorities are becoming more diffuse in where they live, but less so in where they shop/eat. Unfortunately, the Asian community still attaches status to car ownership and attitudes to women among a part of it encourage travel by private car of wives/daughters.

    1. Le Regardeur, you would be quite right if looking at the amount of space in Tooting Town centre dedicated to motor traffic matched up with the research on who shops in Tooting, and how they get to Tooting.

      A few years ago the Town Centre Partnership commissioned a report to find out more about shoppers in Tooting. It covered a whole range of issues including where they travelled from, and how they got to the town centre.

      From memory, the research showed that around 15% of shoppers in Tooting drive, and I think 2% are passengers in those vehicles. Over 80% walk, use public transport and walk, or cycle and walk to go and shop or use our town centre.

      Part of the issue, in my view, is that we have created an incredibly cramped pedestrian environment, all but designed out cycling to the shops (blue paint doesn't really count as designing in cycling), and in terms of space allocation have prioritised space for motor vehicles over everything else.

      I think we could boost footfall, help local businesses, make Tooting an even more attractive place to be by improving the experience when you aren't in your car. The likely consequence of this would be that fewer people would choose to use their car to go and shop in Tooting. There will still be the through traffic, but it doesn't need to dominate to the exclusion of all else.

      I think you are right in terms of raising the issue of status associated with travelling by private car. I believe that if we create a very attractive public realm where walking & cycling short trips are the easiest ways to travel, then whilst there will be those who still drive through need or desire for status, there will be a shift from others, improving conditions for everyone.

      PS can dig out that Town Centre report if you are interested.