You are not stuck in traffic; you are traffic

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

TrafficJamFrustrationIf you are driving and getting nowhere you are not stuck in traffic. You are traffic. Get out of the car. Cycle, walk or use public transport and you no longer are traffic and maybe things might work a little – may be even more than a little – better.

How often do we hear someone excuse themselves for being late for a meeting or whatever with: “Sorry I am late. I am/I was stuck in traffic”. Sorry, no, if you are with a car “stuck in traffic” you are not stuck in it, you are it. The traffic that is in which you say you are stuck.

The governments' answer to the “traffic problem” is ever more roads and bigger roads and wider road “to accommodate” all the traffic but no one ever stops to think that that will not actually make any difference to the “traffic problem” but will exasperate even further. The London Orbital Car Park, otherwise known as the M25 motorway, is a shining example for this. Well, not very shining, in fact.

When it was realized that more cars and trucks were on that road than it could cope with the answer by government was to make it bigger, that is to say, wider, adding another lane and guess what happened? Yes, even more gridlocks as more vehicles began using that motorway.

The problem is that Western society, in the main, is heavily motoring orientated and no serious effort is made to change this by creating, for instance, proper public transit infrastructure and especially infrastructure for cycling and walking.

While it is true that London has, for instance, created some “bike lanes” they are a joke as they are (1) not physically separated from the roads and thus the cars and trucks and (2) often have parked vehicles on them meaning that cyclists have to get into the road and endanger themselves. On top of that many of those routes end rather abruptly and the cyclist finds himself or herself again slap bang in amongst the cars. Taking a lead from what is being done for cyclist, and has been for decades, by our European neighbors is not something that is being considered or it is written off as something that is, supposedly, not possible in Britain. And that excuse we also tend to hear with regards to many other issues, be that as to waste management, or other things. Always the response is that it is not feasible in Britain. Where there is no (political) will there never is a way.

© 2015