diamond geezer

 Thursday, November 06, 2008

Way To Go?

Phrases to be found in Boris Johnson's newly-launched and slightly unusual 36-page transport strategy document
» "chuntering and roaring"
» "packed to the gunwales with perspiring passengers"
» "roads and pavements are cratered with enigmatic holes, coned, fenced, deserted, as though the city were still recovering from a series of unexpected Scud attacks"
» "the colossal new Cloaca Maxima called the Thames Tideway tunnel"
» "a holy war against holey streets"
» "kerbs seem to have sprouted traffic-throttling excrescences"
» "It does not mean that City Hall has been captured by J Bonington Jagsworth of the Motorists' Liberation Front"

Hmmm, what might this mean, eh?
» "It is absolutely essential for TfL to bear down on costs" [We're going to publish a major "efficiencies" initiative tomorrow]
» "Oxford Street is still bisected by a panting wall of red metal. Can we really leave it as it is?" [Expect the removal of lots of those bloody annoying bus things from Oxford Street]
» "We are considering a tunnel under Park Lane, releasing land for development and green space, which could be funded from the development it produces." [Some rich friends of mine, who own hotels and sports car showrooms, would like to increase pedestrian footfall outside their premises]
» "the day is surely not far off when passengers will swipe through the turnstiles with their mobiles or other hand-held device" [We used to tell you not expose your mobile in a public place in case it got stolen, but our new technological partners would rather we didn't mention that any more]

Is this really a good idea, Boris?
» "We need to make sure that all London's transport infrastructure is fully wheelchair accessible." [Only 200 astonishingly expensive tube station upgrades to go! Why not rip out the entire Victorian-built underground network and start again?]
» "Create dedicated routes that give nervous cyclists the confidence they need." [Great, because most Londoners won't go cycling so long as they fear they might end up under a lorry]
» "A couple of extra seconds on green can cumulatively make a huge difference to traffic flow" [And never mind the two second delay to pedestrians]
» "Think how magical it would be to pick up a boat from central London, and take a day trip downriver to see the Games at Stratford." [Erm, you could get as far as Greenwich, but sailing up the tidal River Lea is going to be bloody difficult at low tide unless the boat's no deeper than a kayak]

Did he really say that?
» "in many parts of London a feeling of oppression is compounded by the thought that public transport is the only option." [How awful that some Londoners feel they can't own their own car]
» "Free travel for kids has brought a culture where adults are too often terrified of the swearing, staring in-your-face-ness of the younger generation." [Bloody kids, they should be driven around by their parents, or start walking]
» "The motor car is not intrinsically evil." [It's only polluting and dangerous when there's a human behind the wheel]
» "I have asked GLA and TfL officials to produce an initial report into an island airport in the Thames estuary" [yes, he really did say that]

Good news: "London has secured a budget of £39 billion for the period 2007 to 2017, and this will be spent on major projects for the improvement of mass transit: Crossrail, the tube upgrades, the expansion of the Overground rail network."
Bad news: "One thing we cannot do is spend tens of millions keeping projects alive, for political reasons, when there is simply no government funding to deliver them."

Projects not mentioned in the under-ambitious document and therefore probably very dead:
» Cross River Tram (bugger Peckham)
» DLR extension to Dagenham Docks (bugger Dagenham)
» East London Transit (bugger Barking)
» Greenwich Waterfront Transit (bugger Thamesmead)
» Thames Gateway Bridge (bugger Beckton)

Statistics gleaned from the document
» Total tube ridership is about 1.1 billion journeys per year
» The average number of passengers on a London bus is 16
» It is not raining in London 94 per cent of the time

Translate the following...
» "if we are going to buy these new tunnelling machines, as we are, why not see if we can use them to dig south of the river, and expand the Tube network there?" [We may have no money, but I don't want Bromley and Bexley to lose faith in me yet]
» "Why is it that so many buses seem half-empty? Passengers may like it, but it is expensive in subsidy." [We intend to thin out London's bus network to save money]
» "The new vehicle will have some of the advantages of the old Routemaster" [The new vehicle will not be a Routemaster in anything but name]
» "I will encourage – with my policing hat on – whatever steps are possible and necessary to crack down on aggressive cycling." [Arrest the red-light-jumping bastards!]

Who's impressed? Londonist; Evening Standard; Boris, obviously
Who's not impressed? Val Shawcross;Tory Troll; Christian Wolmar

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