Thursday, March 12, 2009

Comment on new cars vs. old cars

Interesting post here:
Re*Move: New Cars vs Old Cars II

And my comment:

Interesting conundrum.

1. Yes, rewarding for failure is wrong.
Let's just however point out that rescuing banks was not optional to start with and then that Western Governments have lent money to those failed banks. It's a bet of course, but the tax payer should, hopefully, get some return when they cash in those shares in a few years.
Note that some govermments have been smarter than others (UK, USA) by getting some right-to-say instead of just buying non-preferential shares.

2. The car industry has come a long way, people won't give up individual mobility easily.
While US regulators did not do anything to force their national manufacturers to reform, the story is different in Europe where there's some pressure to reduce emissions. This has resulted in quite some considerable technological advances, but ultimately it's down to economics: when oil will be rare, people will switch to electric because it will be economically viable.
On the other hand, public transportation offerings vary from poor (USA) to excellent (Sweden, Netherlands, Denmark). You can't expect people to switch in a nation like the UK where there's been virtually no investment in rail for the like of 30 years, no high-speed lines between regions, etc...

3. Cash for new cars, it's not about ecology stupid.
It would be carbon-efficient to let every industrial job go on the dole. People would watch their plasma screen but won't have the money to have cars. The whole economy may collapse and some will cheer at the decrease in CO2 emissions. Riots will ensure, and we'll need to develop tear-gas that don't contribute to global warming.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Another petition, for Bushy park

Just got this email from Mich Miller about Bushy park.

Not much to add, except that I still have to figure out why Royal Parks, local and national government have this obsession about taxing down to the individual users, via things as ludicrous as road charging: are we going to have to put coins in lamp posts for street lighting?

In my opinion, there are things to be enjoyed by all that should be financed by the Nation, such as coastlines (read: maintaining flood barriers), nature reserves (Royal Parks), a transportation system that reduces pollution (canals, trains, etc...). And it seems it's always about making one thing more expensive and not the alternative cheaper.

Rip Off Britain?

Could I draw your attention to another petition (mine) against the proposed car parking charges for the deer parks. Mine encompasses Bushy Park as well as Richmond. We are likely to be herded into a new (and I suspect smaller) car park round the new "visitor centre". This will mean having to cross the access road to get onto the grassy park - daangerous for toddlers and dogs. If you would include the link in your blog I would be grateful.
Mich Miller

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Sign the petition to keep Richmond park free

Probably inspired by Richmond Council's Deer in Richmond Park never ending quest to extract more taxes from motorists, the Royal Parks has launched a consultation on whether it should charge for parking.

After free parking on Sunday being removed, the steep increases for Kew Gardens concessions, it's another blow for our purchasing power.

The detailed documents are on Royal Parks' web site:
I'm not sure what the real intent is, apart from the stated goal of "encouraging people to travel by public transportation" (which is daft as no busses go to Richmond Park). What is true is that the car parks are full at week ends, especially since they made the one at Pen Ponds about half the size (and tarmac'ed) as before.

The impact of charges, apart from the obvious bite in people's wallet (especially for OAP's), would be:
  • Parking congestion around East Sheen, Ham and Roehampton gates, where there's currently no CPZ (of course, this would be a great excuse for Richmond Council to tax us more with a CPZ extension)
  • Parents with young children would also find it difficult to travel to the park by public transport
Here are my alternative suggestion:
  • Remove the snack food outlets in Pen Ponds, Kingston gate and Broomfield parkings: those vans with German licence plates, complete with their Polish employees, do nothing for the public health, especially as they're powered by noisy and smelly diesel generators.
Go on and sign the Petition to take action against a proposal to charge for car parking in Richmond Park on

Read also:

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Monday, March 02, 2009

Social city guides

One of my pictures went into the Schmap guides, under Borough market, in their market section: very difficult to navigate to but a good read nevertheless :-)

Aggregating internet users contribution and "rich media" content into "social city guides" is interesting but often failing in its execution. The idea is to aggregate content, just like Wikipedia, for richer guides with more up to date tips.
Zagat does this already for restaurants (subscription required), and Tripadvisor for hotels and holidays but in practice there are many small players and in the current context many may go out of business as VC funding runs out. In the meantime, check out TrustedPlaces.

Read also my previous post on Borough market...