Thursday, 13 March 2014

Do I survey before I start a petition?

In light of the latest petition that I've started for Tooting High Street, Simon Robinson, posed the queries above on twitter. The limitations of 140 characters, and a bit of a wordy response, made me think a blogpost would be a better way of putting across my point of view.

1. Do I survey locals before I start a petition?

With the safer streets petitions the answer is no. I'm a local resident myself, and through my involvement with groups like Wandsworth Living Streets, and Wandsworth Cycling Campaign (local branch of London Cycling Campaign) have become much more aware of both the problems that our current street environment present, as well as some of the solutions.

2. Re: emailing for ideas, talking, consulting and listening.

With my involvement with the groups mentioned above, I have talked through evidence based solutions which have worked in other locations. So discussions have taken place with debate, and differing views put across.

What I find horrific is the current council policy which basically states that either someone has to be killed, or 25% of local residents need to agree to a specific ask for the council to just look into making improvements to our streets. We are not all highway engineers, but we do employ them at the council. Hope you would agree with me that those engineers ideally should be planning and working to constantly improve our streets. Why the current political parties that represent us seem to think that the current policy which prevents them from doing so, with the exceptions raised above, is a good one is beyond me.

Over a 3 year period residents from every street in the borough will write to the council telling them that they think there is an accident waiting to happen. Local people see and feel the danger. Our current politicians instead of seeing this as a call to action have hindered anything happening with their policy position.

Whilst the policy is in place, in the meantime, I do want things to improve. Petitioning is one way to achieve that. Indeed, if the petitions weren't worded in a way that people could sign up to, then they don't have to. There are many differing views in the local community on a whole range of issues. Also, a petition if successful, will ultimately result in a consultation, as has happened with the proposed trial for the Fishponds road area.

With other areas/issues where I'm not so well informed, then yes I would look to gain further information through surveys, and speaking with relevant groups who have people who are informed on the specific topic.

Hope this answers your queries Simon, and do let the local Lib Dem team know of any issue which is of specific concern to you.

PS of course you, and others are free to comment below should you have further queries.

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