Cugel wrote:Cars in London (and other urban spots) cause high levels of pollution, as well as squashing and maiming many pedestrians, cylists and, of course, the car drivers themselves. A superhighway does very little if it just makes you feel a bit safer - especially if (like the pedestrians) you are still subject to car-bite when going off your not-so-protected space (or even when still in it).
Well, it is true that cars cause pollution and danger! But I don't feel that this is a very fair comparison, for a couple of reasons.
What I am proposing, namely that we should build good quality cycle paths where roads have fast or busy motor traffic, is something which has already been started in London, and is progressing slowly. It has successfully been done in other cities, and in these cities a lot more people cycle and cycling is safer than in London. In public consultations on new "superhighways", the balance of feedback is usually positive, although there is of course some vociferous opposition.
What you are proposing is to ban private motor traffic from a vast area of land, in which many people live. As far as I am aware, this has never been done before. My assumption is that it would be immensely unpopular, although if you have evidence to the contrary then pray tell!
Do pavements (or footways as I believe they are correctly called) protect pedestrians against pollution and danger from motor cars? If not, should we get rid of them? They must surely be terribly expensive?
My point is that if we want walking to be remotely appealing, we need to provide pavements on roads that have significant amounts of motor traffic. We don't expect them to protect pedestrians against pollution, as that is not their purpose. Similarly, if we want cycling to be appealing, we need it to be possible to make direct journeys from A to B without having to deal with the stress of sharing space with fast and busy motor traffic. The same principle applies as for walking, although the specific situations where separate provision for cycling is desirable are different than for walking.
As experienced cyclists, it can be difficult to grasp just how much most non-cyclists dislike the idea of riding in dense motor traffic. This is why I think that even if private cars were banned from London, most people would still find cycling fairly unappealing.
Cugel wrote:Do the fumes choke you less if you're a few feet away from the polluters?
Yes, a bit.
Cugel wrote:Electric buses confined to 20mph would still get from A to B rapidly, especially if unimpeded by a zillion cars.
But not if they impeded by a zillion grandmas cycling very slowly
Cugel wrote:Why not have a holistic solution to London's transport ills rather than tinkering about ineffectively and expensively whilst solving practically nothing of the issue?
"Superhighways" cost peanuts compared to other transport projects such as Crossrail. Maybe that's not a fair comparison, but you get the point.
I don't think that cycle paths on their own are the whole solution. They are an important part though. I'd be happy to see measures to make driving in central London more expensive and difficult, in addition to a network of quality cycle paths. What you are proposing is entirely stick-based, whereas I propose a balanced diet of carrots and sticks.