Lots of residents have contacted me recently voicing their outrage at the devastating new road being proposed along the Thames riverside by the Labour-run Council. A lot of people are asking – why aren’t they doing something else?
There was an ‘options appraisal’ done by the firm of consultants hired by the Council. However, they were assessing options against a set of criteria that is already loading the dice. Will the option:
1. Increase capacity and connectivity for movement of people within east Reading and the town centre.
2. Reduce the journey times and congestion along the corridor.
3. Facilitate economic development in the Thames Valley.
4. Allow access for mobility impaired and pushchairs.
5. Develop a system which visibly has priority over the private car.
6. Facilitate a future MRT network for the Thames Valley.
So whilst residents want to know the cost to the taxpayer (massive) and the cost to the environment (enormous), and weigh this against the benefits to congestion (minimal at best) and air pollution (negligible), the Council wants to know if it will 'facilitate economic development' and 'facilitate a future MRT network'.
Other options need to be properly considered. A congestion charge might well be cheap in comparison (say, £5 million to get started,) would return money in the form of those paying the charge, and remove cars from the network, resulting in a reduction in congestion and air pollution. (Would it facilitate economic development? Yes, if the charge was re-invested properly.)
You can view the plans and submit comments to the Council here: East Reading Mass Rapid Transit planning application must click
Or contact us and get involved: https://reading.greenparty.org.uk/get-involved/.