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Must get people out of their cars

Your headline in last week’s piece about the draft transport strategy, Bike vs Car…The Drive To Improve Our Roads, Kentish Gazette, April 3) was the only jarring note in otherwise excellent coverage. The scale of proposed development in the Local Plan means that the district faces massive increases in traffic levels on already-congested roads. Unless ways are found to encourage a sizeable proportion of drivers out of their cars and onto sustainable forms of transport, (walking, cycling, public transport) we face Increased gridlock and longer journey times, poorer air quality and higher carbon emissions; bad for drivers, business, the town centre, cyclists and pedestrians alike. There is plenty of scope for improvement. Our existing road space is currently dominated by vehicles (cars) designed for four or five people but usually occupied by one, making journeys that a generation ago would never have been made by car and which could easily be made by other means that don’t cause congestion, don’t pollute and don’t add to carbon emissions. Two-thirds of all journeys are under five miles.

The emphasis on sustainable transport in the strategy is very welcome therefore and there are many really exciting plans in it. However, even with such measures, traffic and air quality are projected to remain at around current levels until 2031. This is clearly unacceptable. Therefore more needs to be done and we would like to see the following, additional measures:
• A reduction in the overall scale of development, especially in South Canterbury
• Parity in spending for roads and for sustainable transport
• 20mph speed limits in all residential areas and outside all schools.

It is our view that it is only with such measures, and a revolution in the way we use our road space, that we have any chance of delivering the cleaner, greener district the city council pledged in its 2011 Corporate Plan.

Russell Page and Pat Marsh, Canterbury Green Party, Mill Road, Sturry

Herne Bay Gazette, April 10th 2014

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