Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Do we trust experts?

The local consultation for the Fishponds road trial is now out, and it's fair to say has generated a bit of controversy locally.

Expert view:
The officers who are highways engineers, are of the view that the scheme should reduce overall traffic congestion in the wider area.

Residents views:
All in all there is generally a widespread desire to see safer streets. The challenge is how do we best achieve that. Some people hold very firm views that the proposals will cause chaos, and significant disruption to how they get about locally.

With the current proposals it is about trying an approach which has worked elsewhere to see if it works locally. There are also fears that the proposed trial, is a trial in name only, and not a genuine trial which seeks to see if we can improve our streets.

My view:
I think the scheme will work if it is allowed to go ahead. I hope, if it does happen and work, that those who currently oppose it come round to see the benefits. That said, I'm also equally comfortable with the possibility of the scheme not working. It would allow me and other local campaigners the opportunity to scratch off this potential solution to the list of options in trying to improve our streets.

If more people respond against trying it than in favour of it, the option that it could work still remains. I'm prepared to be proved wrong by the evidence. I'm not convinced that those who are opposed to trying are as prepared to accept that there is a possibility that they too could be wrong in how they think it would work.

As a commenter 'Platinum' put at the bottom of this blogpost: http://aseasyasridingabike.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/the-mayors-vision-for-cycling/#comments

"Time we took road safety decisions away from politicians. If I’ve got cancer, I go to a doctor for a treatment plan, not the mayor."

Granted, I'll be standing as a prospective candidate for councillor in the coming local elections. That said, if the Highways Engineers think it would work, shouldn't we trust them?

PS if you haven't seen the proposals already you can download them from this previous post.


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  2. Why are you insisting on making life harder than it already is just so you can have a little bit more cycling space on the roads. Barricading roads and forcing cars onto the main roads will cause more traffic hence why local people who know the roads locally and know how bad the jams are already on the high st are opposed to this.

    Before you spout out that 85% want safer roads, everyone wants safer roads but I doubt the same percentage want this scheme. Nobody would like a single person killed on the roads but you have to draw the line somewhere and just accept that there will be accidents as harsh as that sounds.

    As far as I can see you are applying theory to the real world anyone with common sense knows how much havoc this will cause.You would like to conduct an experiment so you can have something to display on your campaign leaflets when you choose to stand. In the mean time local people who are trying to get to work or schools will suffer more delays and traffic jams, which this scheme will inevitably cause on tooting high st and surrounding main roads as a result.

    You can say traffic engineer all you would like but experts can be wrong. We all know that if this scheme fails the road closures will NEVER be reversed.

    1. Forgot to add, this consultation is as a result of a petition I did almost 3 years ago. Long before I was considering standing. Take a look through this blog, and you'll see a history of what I've been working on. Local politics should be about improving our local area. I like to think that I've got that as a clear goal.

  3. Morning Kashif,

    You are quite right in saying that experts can be wrong. This is why I think it's good to try it out locally.

    Where you are mistaken, is that if the trial doesn't work it will be removed. The barriers which are proposed are temporary ones, which if the trial goes ahead would be placed on the road surface. No digging up needed.

    In the event that it doesn't work, I'll be the first to want it removed. If it does though, I hope that you and others who currently object will see it as an improvement.