The Ranty Highwayman)
WHY DO OUR STREETS GET SO MUCH “STUFF” PUT IN? WHY DO WE BUILD SPEED HUMPS WHICH ANNOY PEOPLE? WHY DO WE STICK CROSSING REFUGES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD? WHY DON’T WE PUT SOME SIGNS UP TO STOP PEOPLE DOING SOMETHING? WHY DON’T WE GIVE MORE GREEN TIME TO THAT ROAD? WHY ARE PEOPLE CYCLING ON THE FOOTWAY? WHY DO WE NEED CLEARWAYS AT BUS STOPS?
The list of complaints about how our streets are managed, maintained and operated, or how people use them, is pretty long in my experience and probably has all sorts of combinations. I think I can boil them all down to just three themes (you may have other views, so please comment);
- an individual’s right to do what they want,
- how other people behave,
- concern for the community.
There are potential overlaps, but I think there are subtle differences between the themes. I should also apologies for the generalisations and stereotypes, but I’m not being scientific here, it’s an opinion piece and you are welcome to disagree with me! I think the following is a good diagram to some up the overlaps and themes which I’ll discuss below;
An individual’s right to do what they want
This essentially stems from a libertarian viewpoint about having a small state which does not interfere in people’s lives. It is the complaint about parking restrictions, the cost of parking, objecting to speed humps, objecting to filtered permeability and so on.
Of course, it’s not always the perspective of someone who identifies as a libertarian, so it goes back to personal convenience. People who don’t want a zebra crossing or a bus stop clearway outside their house will always cite the inability to park outside their house, or for tradespeople to park (these objectors always have tradespeople); of course, parking is often cited by business owners, although it’s often about *their* parking rather than space for their customers. A filtered permeability scheme means they have to drive further to get out from their house, or it forces them to use a congested route.