Transport

Shepway Green Party is working on a policy paper, along the lines of the one produced for housing (see under Affordable Housing section of Local Issues). Below is a draft summary which sets out the remit of the study and some of the areas that it will consider. Please do contact us if you are concerned about the future of transport in the area and have ideas or comments. A draft of the paper will be circulated ahead of our monthly meeting in April (see Meetings sectionfor details of this).

 

SUMMARY

 

Transport is a difficult topic: we all rely on it in so many facets of our lives (work, play, education, consumption) but the country cannot continue to rely on traditional forms in light of climate change, the end of cheap oil and the inability of infrastructure to cope with future demand.

At a local level, Shepway has exposure to all of the national and international challenges but also its own issues and problems, whether to do with congestion, the highly emotive issue of parking charges, dangerous roads, poor public transport and a lack of vision around alternative means of transport.

This paper focuses on the local issues and only touches on the national and international issues where they are pertinent to Shepway. For the Green Party’s overall policy on transport, visit our policy website: http://policy.greenparty.org.uk (and remember, one of the many differences between the Green Party and the traditional old parties is that policy-making is a completely democratic process, discussed and decided by the party membership).

Fundamentally, transport cannot be viewed in isolation. To truly bring a radical rethink to transport, then there needs to be a radical rethink on many other topics. Transport is merely a facilitator, a way of moving people and goods from A to B. Remove the root of the need in the first place to remove the need.

As a simple example, if you close a local recycling plant and force people to transport their recycling to plants further away, you add to the need for transport (this isn’t an example plucked out of the air, given Kent County Council’s intended closure of the recycling facility at Hawkinge). If local shops close, you force people to travel to shop. If you build more houses, the demands on transport must be fully considered.

One way to understand the extent to which transport is driven by our lifestyle is to keep a diary of each journey, the vast majority of which will be local ones. How many of them were necessary, what caused that necessity, what would be needed to remove the necessity?

And what about the social aspects of transport, in terms of the negative impact it has on our daily lives? This is often overlooked, probably because we have become immune to the dominance of the car. The Green Party is in favour of 20 mph speed limits in residential areas and many of Shepway’s roads would benefit from this. But there is a need to go further. Studies have shown that reduced speed limits certainly make for safer streets but they don’t, on their own, change the use of the streets.

For this, there is a need for innovative measures to change traffic patterns, to allow cars and pedestrians to once more co-exist, to regain streets as part of the community, to remove their mono-use. There have been a number of fascinating schemes around the country that have shown that streets can once more become a focus for the community, a social hub for children to play, for neighbours to communicate, for people to come together. At present, as usual, none of the innovation is happening in Shepway.

As with all Green Party policies, this isn’t just wishful thinking, it isn’t some rose-tinted view of what life used to be like, the policies can be funded – and we explain how to do so. And anyway, like it or not, our reliance on oil will have to change, whether we like it or not, so we would be well advised to start changing now.

 

Like to join the debate? Like to contribute to our vision for transport in Shepway? Please contact us and be part of the vision for changing Shepway for the better.



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