Letter in Barnet Times – car crisis

This week the Barnet Times carries three letters from Barnet Green Party members. One by Roger Aitken who stood in East Barnet at the election. Phil Fletcher who stood with me in High Barnet and one from me. Here is the text:

Your report on Selwood Drive’s drivers’ parking problems (“Motorists warned over parking outside homes” Times Series, 26 June) omits to mention that parking and traffic dominated the whole Chipping Barnet Area Forum where the matter was raised – and what’s more, always do dominate the Forums.

The steam that was seen rising from my ears that evening was caused not by the meeting’s bad-tempered shambles. I’m used to that. What made me so angry is the crisis that is staring us full in the face – and which no one will name. So I’ll do it now: Barnet has a car crisis!

Selwood Drive’s drivers complained that housing had been built at the bottom of their road increasing traffic and so they parked their cars on the pavements. (Whereupon pedestrians complained their way was blocked.) But Barnet is due to have many more new builds. (60,000 new homes are planned, and population projections are for growth of about 50% from 2001-2040.)

Barnet grows richer; the corollary is ever more cars wanting to park and to drive. And the result is ever more fractious petitions to the Area Forum for more pedestrian crossings, 20mph zones, CPZs, while parking has become the most poisonous political topic in the borough.

The piecemeal approach is already not working. Tempers are rising and drivers, residents, and parents are shouting ever more loudly about their rights, which all conflict. We are in desperate need firstly of admitting that we have a car crisis that needs concerted action. Secondly we need to agree what to do about it together. Whatever measures are taken, without the support of a critical mass of the people they affect, they will fail.

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