Friday, 1 January 2016

Why I am not supporting the 'Save Wandsworth Common' Crossrail 2 campaign.

... well, it's about time I restarted this blog!  I've been surprised by how many people have read my posts and started to follow me on Twitter, so thanks for taking the time to read what I have to say, it's your views and support that has got me back at the keyboard.

Sorry for the long delay since my last post, sometimes this being sick and disabled thing can be a royal pain in the backside!!  So, after a couple of operations, loads of different medicines and a gruelling physio/rehab programme, I'm hopefully going to be able to write a bit more often.  Life is still a major struggle, but at least I'm getting over a particularly horrid patch.

Hope it's not all waffle, but no promises ;-P

Below is a copy of my post on the Wandsworth Gaurdian's website in response to the 'Save Wandsworth Common' (sic) campaign that has restarted following TfL's announcement of a planned route change.  As the Common is effectively my front garden, I think this qualifies me for a 'I'm not a NIMBY' badge!

I can't promise to be able to debate this, but alternative viewpoints are welcome in the Comments.

"I live opposite the Common, where the shaft is planned and can't support this campaign based on the information available.  And I'm not sure why all the vitriol is being directed at a local councillor when this is a TfL decision...

If it will cost an extra £500 million to go via Tooting, where is the money coming from.  Put it into perspective: the entire cycling budget for TfL for all of greater London (which funds most borough cycling projects too) is less than £98 million per year.  £500 million could pay for a brand new hospital or an entire tram line.  We can't just be NIMBYs, we need to have a logical alternative and none has yet been suggested.

The other options if Balham is chosen all involve demolishing homes, churches, schools and/or businesses.

And the killer argument for me is: what about the frikkin railway lines?!  The planned shaft will take a tiny piece of land.  The railway lines that bisect the Common take tons of land and how many people campaign for them to be ripped out or put in tunnels?  None (well apart from me who keeps suggesting that at least some of the rail track gets covered by a green bridge and getting zero support from the ranty NIMBYs who just prefer to say No to everything).

It makes no sense to support the railway lines (which were built on land that used to be part of the Common), but not this single shaft that is necessary to deliver a vital new public transport service serving millions of people.

Sometimes, we need to recognise that our fear of change distorts our perceptions and encourages us to make illogical decisions.  This is one of those times.  The idea of our lovely Common being a building site for a long time isn't nice but I'm sure people felt the same when the railway lines were built.

The shaft will help take cars off the roads.  The roads around the Common suffer traffic jams every day and the pollution levels on the roads around the Common are a disgrace.  That is a real threat to us all - hundreds of Wandsworth residents die early from pollution and thousands from lack of exercise every year.  That's not just stats.  It's our friends, our families, ourselves who suffer and die early for no good reason.

Why not campaign for something that would improve the Common?  If not my green bridge idea, by placing cycle tracks between the roads and the footpaths around the Common, we could hugely reduce the pollution inhaled by pedestrians, get cyclists off the pavements, give people a proper alternative to driving local trips, reduce collisions and reduce the increasing volume of cyclists using the ++awful shared-use footpaths on the Common.  We could also create 'pocket parks', adding more greenery to streets surrounding the Common.  Please respond to the consultation, but please also try to make some sensible suggestions as just saying No isn't likely to achieve much."

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