Document Supply GPC/01874

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Traffic in London: a discussion document on initiatives to tackle the problems

Date range1989
LocationBritish Library (see all files stored here)

Context

This report comes from a strange time in the history of the UK's (and London's) roads. It's after the massive roadbuilding boom of the 1960s and early 70s, when vast urban road plans were made, but before the environmental movement really took hold and road construction started to become politically damaging. It's from the same year as Roads for Prosperity, the white paper that promised a new roads boom in the 1990s, so it was published in the last days of 1980s optimism about roadbuilding. But in London, new roads were already off the agenda. It wants to enable the free market, pro-motoring thinking of the Thatcher government, but doesn't know how that can be done in London. As a result, it's a report that doesn't really know what it is.

Its main aim seems to be to do something about London's traffic, but without providing any new roads. It's stuck between the opposing forces of not wanting to restrict the use of private transport but equally not having any other means with which to intervene.

The main things that this report does propose is tougher parking restrictions and better enforcement of traffic regulations in order to clear London's main roads for through traffic. It then spends an equal number of pages fretting about how the extra capacity that can be freed up in this way can be put to use without actually allowing any more traffic to use the roads.

Its main proposal is for the creation of Red Routes which, it sternly instructs, must absolutely not use red signs or red road markings.

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