In 2000, London’s previous mayor, Ken Livingstone, began the process of fixing forty years of mistakes that had been made in the pursuit of the impossible — the comfortable accommodation of mass motor vehicle use in a dense city centre. He recognised that cities are supposed to be places for people and returned key locations like Trafalgar Square to use as more than mere traffic gyratories.
But the current mayor has not quite caught up with the modern age and still labours under the delusion that congestion and the problems of the motor vehicle can be solved with bigger and faster roads.
While claiming to be the cycling mayor he tells us that a splash of blue paint along the gutter and through the bus stops is enough to fix the conditions that prevent most people from ever using their bicycles.
And his officers at TfL push through these wider and faster roads in the name of, er, accommodating pedestrians (wider roads are good for pedestrians, right?). While ripping out the pedestrian crossings.
After ignoring the thousands of objections to the wider and faster road layout at Blackfriars, TfL announced last week that they were bring in the earth movers on Friday night. So with 48 hours notice we assembled a thousand cyclists for a go slow.
It might be too late for Blackfriars this time around, but we still have a mayor who is stuck in 1970s, determined to force ever more motor vehicles through the centre of the city, at the expense of the sensible majority who combine walking, cycling, and public transport, and the vibrant city activity that depends on attracting people. It’s not the last he’s heard from us.