Monday, January 20, 2020
Bonkers Birmingham’s barmy Bolsheviks plan to ban cars from the city centre. They think we’ll all commute by tram or cycle down the Bristol Road on their toytown cycle lanes which at the moment are largely unused.
Admittedly they have been deliberately turning the entire centre of Britain’s second city into a giant car park already, with roadworks more or less everywhere.
That’s why it takes twice as long to get into the city centre as it used to only a decade ago.
It’s nothing to do with the volume of traffic or a growth in prosperity; it’s all about the measures taken to make life as awkward, time-consuming, inconvenient and even dangerous for the average motorist as possible.
This is because the city’s burgers, aided and abetted by the supposedly-Conservative elected Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, want to reduce air pollution, greenhouse gases and all the noxious fumes which they presumably blame for their own delusions.
The best way to reduce emissions from cars is to keep them moving. The worst source of air pollution from vehicles is when they are waiting with their engines idling in long queues.
Birmingham has made pollution far worse than necessary by deliberately setting out to make driving in and out as tedious and slow as possible.
There are queues caused by traffic lights, fatuous 20 mph speed limits and bus lanes everywhere. They are closing down some of the main routes in and out of town. Broad Street is to become a tram-road. They are demolishing the Perry Barr flyover. Now they want through traffic to stick to the ring-road which is clogged and dogged with traffic lights.
They say there will be a public consultation. This is nothing but a sham. Whatever the public thinks, the council’s ‘experts’ have already decided what will happen and no amount of public opinion will change their minds.
After all, they are squandering millions on their cross-city metro system which, far from making Birmingham the ‘modern European city’ of their hype, is calculated to thwart and deny motorists any access to the centre.
Fine if you happen to live there. Fine if you usually take the bus, train, bicycle or even walk into the centre of Birmingham.
But public transport is overcrowded, unreliable and slow. The vast majority of Birmingham commuters - 62 per cent or 222,000 people - travel by car every day.
The anti-car enthusiasts want to force people out of their cars and onto trams, buses or trains. They claim these will be so dramatically improved and it will be such a wonderful new experience we won’t want to go back to our cars even if we could.
Does anybody really believe that? It is far more likely motorists will simply go elsewhere if they possibly can, especially with ‘clean-air charges’ and workplace parking taxes on the way.
It may seem desirable to force motorists to by-pass Brum. If drivers avoid it altogether it would reduce pollution and reduce traffic jams.
But it would be economically disastrous. If motorists avoid the centre if Birmingham it will mean less money is spent in shops, restaurants and theatres.
Worse still, it will force some of the city’s big employers to move out. After all, if their employees can’t, or won’t, travel into the centre any more, they will struggle to recruit and retain staff.
They will move to cities where they are welcome.
We are told everything will be fine thanks to HS2, the high-speed railway line. But a car-ban will make it almost impossible for many people from the Black Country and elsewhere to the West of Birmingham to get any benefit at all from this grossly expensive white elephant.
And, in any case, there is still a chance Boris Johnson’s Government will finally see sense and scrap the whole thing because it will never pay for itself, it will be a railway for the rich only and the place which would benefit most from its development is London.
This is the opposite of what the new Government says it wants to achieve, which is the revival of the ‘left-behind’ Midlands and the North of England.
You could argue that banning traffic from Birmingham will benefit the rest of the region. But closing down the West Midlands’ capital city is a short-sighted, panic-stricken, badly thought-out policy being imposed as an experiment by politically-correct planners.
They clearly dislike cars and the people in them. They think we should all conform to their vision of a car-free city. In their la-la land, loads of smiling people skip in and out of quiet trams onto their bicycles and the sun is always shining.
Reality is not like that. This car-crash policy will destroy Birmingham and take the rest of the West Midlands down with it.
It’s particularly disastrous given that, in 20 years’ time, we’ll all be driving in non-polluting electric cars anyway.
How many serious cities deliberately, methodically, and with malice aforethought go out of their way to destroy their own economies? Only in bankrupt Birmingham could they dream up such nonsense.