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Letter: We All Need To Play Our Part to Achieve a ‘Modal Shift’

Published on: 21 Mar, 2017
Updated on: 21 Mar, 2017

Traffic builds along Ladymead on the approach to the Stoke interchange.

From Jan Todd

Those who appear to mock the idea of a “modal shift” must take the findings of studies like the most recent from the Campaign for the protection of Rural England and the recent findings concerning pollution caused by traffic in Guildford – seriously.

We have to take responsibility for this ourselves. I often read comments in the Guildford Dragon NEWS, and on social media, from motorists complaining endlessly about traffic and about sitting in jams, without thinking, “How can I, personally, help to make this better?”

Some correspondents seem to want pedestrians hidden away in underground passages, or up on bridges – just somewhere out of their way – so that they can plough their way through, as quickly as possible.

They even appear to complain if traffic lights are set in favour of pedestrians for too long, because pedestrians and cyclists aren’t as important as the motorist and can’t possibly be in such a hurry as the motorist.

I am struck by the quote in The Dragon’s header today – “If I complain about a traffic jam, I have no one to blame but myself” – it says it all. And I was struck by a previous quote the Dragon NEWS used: “A Developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It’s where the rich use public transport.” This is the “shift” we need to strive for here in Guildford.

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test 2 Responses to Letter: We All Need To Play Our Part to Achieve a ‘Modal Shift’

  1. Ben Paton Reply

    March 21, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    Taking responsibility in this context means holding politicians to account for their incompetent public administration and their half-baked un-thought-through policies.

    The modern economic ecosystem depends on transport by private car. Whether this is sustainable or not, it is a fact. Rather than engage in any realistic evaluation of its sustainability, most politicians simply promote “more of the same”.

    The Guildford Local Plan is a classic example of the prevalent group think which flogs the same economic model to try to drive it faster.

    Its leitmotif is population growth. This is not what economists call “endogenous” growth. It is simply a London metropolis spill-over effect. And it is growth premised entirely on the existing motor car economy.

    The borough council’s plan to encourage an increase of 25% in the number of houses and people over the span of the next local plan is nonsense and a recipe for lower quality of life for all existing residents. Contrary to council propaganda it will do next to nothing to shorten the council housing waiting list. But it will probably cause an increase in council tax to pay for the already deficient infrastructure.

  2. Jim Allen Reply

    March 22, 2017 at 1:38 am

    I think “modal shift” for Guildford displays a wonderful misunderstanding of the problem. In 2012 the Burpham Forum conducted a survey and from that it was discovered that people in Burpham worked at over 50 locations averaging 14 miles distance.

    Any one up to cycle that every day rain or shine? Any one going to walk 28 miles, there and back, to work?

    Is anyone going to organise the public transport system to get everyone to work in the morning and home again a night?

    It might have been a wonderful concept for ship building workers on the Clyde in the 1950’s who mostly lived close to there work, but not in the South East in 2017.

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