7/5/2017UK: London Mayor Goes All Out With Anti-Car Strategy
Mayor of London, England unveils a strategy to tax motorists to pay for a massive expansion in transit.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan wants the UK capital city to be a showcase for anti-car activism. Last month, he released a £3.3 billion (US $4.2 billion) draft transport strategy focused on increasing taxes on drivers to subsidize less efficient means of travel.
"This is not about being anti-car, but about supporting Londoners in moving around the city without having to rely solely on cars," Khan wrote. "More car-free days in central London, town centers and high streets would enable people to experience their local area from a different perspective."
The mayor's vision is captured in an image from his strategy document. The only motorized vehicle on the empty street is a delivery van. A second delivery is on the way with a man pushing a pedal-powered cart. A businessman in a suit rides a bicycle one way while a woman in a dress rides toward him in the opposite direction. The pedestrians on the sidewalk check every box in the list of minority subgroups.
"London's streets should be for active travel and social interaction, but too often they are places for cars, not people," Khan wrote. "This simple aim of a shift away from the car will help address many of London's health problems."
To accomplish this goal, the plan's primary weapon is taxation. Automobile drivers will face an extra £12.50 (US $16) charge -- on top of the existing £11.50 (US $14.65) congestion tax -- for entering the central London area beginning in 2020. Khan offers an exemption to the upcharge for owners of politically favored electric cars. Residents who cannot afford the new taxes will have to walk, cycle or take the bus. The strategy admits that trips on bus and the London Underground are considered unreliable, with 24 hour labor walkouts a routine occurrence.
"Most people already use public transport regularly, but too often Londoners are not getting the quality of experience they are entitled to expect," Khan wrote. "Unreliable rail services make journey times unpredictable, wasting people's time and even threatening their livelihoods."
The strategy's other key tool will be to force people out of their cars by redesigning streets to create "healthy routes" where cars cannot be driven. Existing parking spaces will be removed with the space given to storing bicycles. Where parking spaces remain, the charge to use them would be raised significantly.
"Transport for London's analysis suggests that three quarters of journeys currently made by car could be made on foot, by bicycle or by public transport, and that there is the potential to reduce car use in all areas of London," Khan wrote.
The plan will generate additional revenue for transit by accelerating the Vision Zero plan to lower speed limits so that more tickets can be issued with speed cameras. The strategy remains open for public comment until October 2. A copy is available in a 1.5mb PDF file at the source link below.