Thursday, November 27, 2008

This year, Father Christmas will be old fashion

I'm doing what most parent spend most of their free time in December and November and have decided to resolutely be old fashion: no wii or activity pads or else, I think it will rather be garden games, that we can play together and outside.
QUOITS SET (563) - ENJOY HOURS OF GARDEN FUN WITH THE ANCIENT GAME OF QUOITSBoules (8 Per Game)GOOD IDEAS CROQUET SET (309) - Enjoy real english croquet in your garden! REDUCED TO CLEAR.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Darling and the impact on the Sterling

Read this morning Pre-Budget Report and Alistair Darling's £1 trillion debt gamble (Times Online)

What the chancellor, and the media, forget to say is that VAT cut won't help much in an economy that's hooked to imports.

More borrowing probably in fact will further weaken the Sterling Pound, resulting in more imported inflation and negating those 2.5% VAT cut.

Time to join the Euro?

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Traffic in Richmond park

Richmond park has come up with a way to limit the increasing Traffic in Richmond Park: The way forward for Case 17165.

In a nutshell, they're talking about closing the Pen Ponds (photo from Richmond Upon Thames Daily Photo) and putting a land train in place.

I find this just short of hypocritical and short sighted:
  • hypocritical -if they want to restrict traffic to Pen Ponds, why then do they have a diesel-powered snack-food and ice cream van selling their wares there? (and also I wonder, why does it have a German licence plate?)
  • short sighted -they've closed Robin Hood gate and displaced a lot of traffic onto adjoining roads, specifically the A205 is now quite terrible and the A3 was never improved either.
While I understand the reasons to restric traffic in the park, the "not in my street" approach is creating increased congestion on fewer streets each time a gate is closed, a street is made one way or transformed into a cul de sac (latest one to my knowledge is Well Lane in Sheen, which I find strange and not motivated)

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Restaurant Review: Club Gascon

I'm running way behing with my restaurant reviews and Cook Sister has already posted a very good review, so I'll simply link there: Cook sister!: Comptoir Gascon

I don't have much to add, apart that it's a very good address, a bit tough to get a table (book in advance) and another good reason to go to Smithfields.
Comptoir Gascon
63 Charterhouse Street

Tel. 020 7608 0851

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Parking in Richmond

Another parking post, after the one on Kingston hospital parking: I need not to add much to the picture apart that I was taking my child to the Doctor's surgery and ended up putting a pound for 15 mn.

It seems that councils are seeing parking as a goldmine: they're using private agencies to aggressively enforce it, brought in charges on Sunday and taxing cars that don't pollute as they're not moving when parked...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Airtrack and North Sheen Crossing

I picked up last week a flyer from the LibDems at North Sheen station, to read that at my great pleasure Susan Kramer has obtained that the footbridge to the South side of the track will be rebuilt.

This is not only a practical issue, as with the new train schedules the level crossing in Manor road is down a a lot (read in the RTT: Level crossing bottlenecks choking Richmond, apparently it could be 75% of the time in the future!) it is also a safety issue. Indeed, I'm glad to get someone chiming in on something I've raised over two years ago:

Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon discussed safety concerns to pedestrians brought about by the delays.She said: “People get so frustrated waiting for the barriers thatsome have been tempted to go round them and run across the tracks.“Children have been seen doing this and it’s just an accident waiting to happen.”

It's also unfair for local residents: we get all the congestion but only four trains per hour at peak time. At least, we should get four trains per hour off-peak as well.

(plus, let's fine stationary cars too: Stuck at a level crossing? Turn off the engine or pay £20 fine - The Times)

What's the link with this and Airtrack, the plan to improve Heathrow's access by rail? At first sight, it looks like a good idea, and I am always supportive for better public transport.

However, it's hard to read without being suspicious of BAA's intentions, here's my take:

  1. BAA and BA build a new terminal in Heathrow (despite massive local opposition, read on Heathrow runway debate a 'sham'), claiming it's vital for the economy (without supporting this with any proof) and despite London being served by 4 other airports...
  2. Oh, shoot, access to Heathrow by public transport isn't that good and, as opposed to what's going on the continent, there's no high-speed rail link.
  3. And, bugger, if they extend the airport, they won't meet the new EU emission criteria, even with BAA's imaginary green’ jumbo (The Times).
  4. Easy: they just improve the public transport and create a car-free zone around the airport.
  5. Expensive? Not really, they say let's just extend the existing train lines, charge more for parking and create a road tax on the model of Red Ken's London Congestion Charge.
The snag? The train network, for not having received significant investments in the last 30 years, is completely saturated in the South East of England. And those trains to Heathrow, they will have to run somewhere. Like through Richmond...

This is why I oppose Airtrack, unless they actually invest significantly to increase rail capacity: North Sheen should be buried underground, a car park created on top to encourage people to park and take the train and we should see 8 trains an hour.

You can make your views heard on Thursday

Read my other posts on the North Sheen footbridge and those on Heathrow Expansion.

And also: MPs attack Airtrack (RTT)

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