Archive for the 'cycling' Category

I’m a turkey voting for Christmas – and it feels great

October 19, 2015

IMG_1610I’ve been getting involved in a Mexican stand-off during the past few months. A couple of times a week, I drive to a Tube station and sit in my car watching a pair of parking attendants (they are always in pairs) prowl in front of me, like the two poor, rain-soaked blighters on the right. I’m guessing they can’t give me a ticket while I’m still in the car, and I’m not going to ask in case I’m wrong. If they can fine me, then the purpose of my journey – picking up Jen from the station after work so she doesn’t have to take a slow, crowded bus home – will become a bit harder. So I sit in my little car, watching them watching me, ready to make a quick journey round the block should they reach for the weapon on their hip – a digital camera to take photographic evidence of parking infringements.

I could, of course, just pay to park and meet Jen in the Costa near the station, but that’s never going to happen. I believe you should only pay for things which keep you alive, improve your life or make you happy, and parking falls into none of those categories (neither does coffee). Which is why, if the body that looks after Richmond Park changes the rules, I may not be using my regular route to pick up Jen.

A few weeks ago, as I drove into the park to make my usual shortcut, I took a form for the Royal Parks’ traffic survey and filled it in when I got home. My responses were completely honest: my journey is short, I use the park as a shortcut and I do it because it’s more pleasant than using the roads outside. The Royal Parks are considering introducing road charging for cut-through drivers like me; if they do, then I will have been a turkey voting for Christmas when I filled in that form.

And you know what? I’m pleased about that. Last December’s public meeting about cycling in the park indicated that the issue which unites cyclists and non-cyclists alike is cut-through traffic. No one likes it, and the Park doesn’t need it. So I’m optimistic that road charging is going to happen – and I’m equally confident that I’ll adopt another route. Those parking attendants haven’t seen the last of my Fiat 500.