Friday, 1 August 2008

My personal quest to make SE11 a bit greener

Following on from a recent article in the East London advertiser that suggested that Vauxhall Cross and Brixton Road are within the top 10 most air-polluted roads in London, perhaps it's time that car drivers other than trades related people or minicab drivers start to reduce their car use. Some of Vauxhall Cross is included in the SE11 area, and I was surprised that one neither Kennington Road, Kennington Lane nor Kennington Park Road were included in the top 10 list, especially considering their proximity to Brixton Road and Vauxhall Cross.

Current petrol prices might encourage the trend to abandon cars in favour of other methods of transport. (C'mon, the Cross River Tram would be a real asset...) I imagine a move from petrol to LPG powered vehicles might help the cause... But best of all, it would be really exciting if London could become more cycle friendly. I was reading an article in the Independent by James Daley who has changed his cycling route from being based around the quiet back streets of Stockwell to a new busy route along the Thames Embankment. Having seen Clapham Road/Kennington Park Road also become a route for cyclist anarchy, I'm not surprised that he notes
"much of my route seems to turn into a cycle racetrack"

I try and cycle responsibly (not going through red traffic lights, sporting bike lights at night etc.) but I hope the trend towards cycling will lead to some form of stiffer penalty for cyclists that break the rules in a dangerous manner. As a driver, cyclist and pedestrian, it's fairly clear to me that cyclists are the worst transgressors of the highway code (especially couriers). On the other hand, there's nothing more frustrating than facing red light after red light when on a bike, because the traffic lights are phased for motorists. Obviously, I'm not suggesting changing all of the lights in favour of cyclists, but some innovative thinking re. roads that could be "cycle only" or more cycle paths (preferably not on pavements) might mean that cyclists could ride around more safely.

Once the move has taken place, I hope to get the trusty old bike out again (am a bit worried about the level of bike theft, so a folding bike might be a better option), and cycle to work where possible. That will probably turn Lurking about SE11 into a list of traffic violation grievances, but hopefully it will also help SE11 go green!

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