Sisyphus was condemned to push a boulder up the hill, so it could roll back down again. Endlessly.
And that’s what we seem to be doing in Richmond – as at countless other places across London. Every time you make a step forward, you can take one back.
This character – William Webb – seems worryingly unclear on quite a lot of things. (Including where he lives, unless he’s ex-directory – surely the letter isn’t a lazy plant by local councillors?)
He thinks Twickenham’s heart will ‘beat more effectively’, because it’ll cease to be a passing through area but will become a destination. Since the only change here is to remove a bus lane (making it worse for bus users and cyclists), his logic seems faulty.
But never mind that minor bit, because Mr. Webb thinks that Twickenham – with traffic levels close to the A316 at some junctions – can be ‘shared space’ like Exhibition Road. (See here for a good overview of the issues with shared space.) But whatever you think of shared space, we know this isn’t even what the council has planned, because they’ve failed to include any features to support it. In ‘proper’ shared space, you don’t need road markings, pedestrian crossings, kerbs, yellow lines, etc., because everyone knows how to share it. Whereas Twickenham is going to have pavements separated by four lanes of traffic, the same number of traffic lights – probably with pedestrian countdown timers so you can just get the fuck off the road and let the traffic flow – and lots of lane marking.
So Mr. Webb’s ‘special treatment for pedestrians’ looks like the blather it is. At the very best, pedestrians will no longer be penned in at key junctions. That’s it.
Honestly, any Dutch traffic engineers would be screwing their face up with disgust at the suggestion that their work directly leads to what we’re planning in Twickenham. It’s time we reclaimed our borough for walking and cycling, over the ceaseless primacy of traffic fumes and danger.