By TONY MOBILIFONITIS
THEY call them “LTNs” which stands for low-traffic neighbourhoods, which are council-imposed controls on traffic movement – part of a bigger Agenda 20-30 scheme of municipal councils worldwide to control the movement of people and traffic, and ultimately the amount of carbon you generate.
In Australia, on streets where neighbourhood traffic movement is too fast, speed humps are the standard solution to slow down traffic and discourage “rat runs”. But UK councils are now taking it one big step further by putting bollards up in the middle of streets and telling people they should ride a bike or walk (for their better health of course).
And as reported previously by Cairns News they are also imposing punitive control on vehicle and people movement by employing traffic camera networks to fine people who dare drive through designated suburbs outside their 15 or 20-minute city zone.
The reality of municipal councils is that they are run by corporate bureaucrats who operate under corporate rules that require public liability insurance, which according to some researchers is their real legal vulnerability. Cairns News is aware that the Lawful Notice process appears to have worked in several instances in Australia against the imposition of bicycle lanes – another element of the Local Agenda 20-30 program.
Oxfordshire Council in the UK decided to forge ahead with it’s 15-minute city project and simply ignored the widespread public opposition. These same members of the public then had no choice but direct action to take down the bollards.
The Telegraph reported that bollards on Howard Street, Oxford, had been vandalised 20 times in the past three weeks. One person was captured on CCTV setting the bollards alight, another was seen ripping them out of the ground, and numerous car and van drivers were filmed ploughing through them. Cement is also used to stop them popping up
“The controversial traffic calming measures have been installed across the city by Oxfordshire County Council as part of the LTN scheme. The LTNs are designed to stop motorists using residential roads as rat-runs and to encourage walking and cycling.”
A female resident said in an interview she didn’t condone the direct action but she understood it because councils were not listening to people “and that’s where the anger is coming in”. So what has been the reaction of Oxfordshire Council? Put stronger steel bollards in, of course. After all, they are the rulers and what people want is irrelevant.
But ask a compliant citizen who is “concerned about climate change” what totalitarian restriction of movement has to do with 15 minute cities and you’ll get an answer like this: “A 15 minute city is a residential urban concept where most daily necessities can be accomplished by walking or cycling from residents homes. There’s no enforcement component. Just more people-oriented, less car centric communities.” The green bureaucrats will be self-righteously nodding their heads in assent. “Thank you citizen Jane. You said exactly what you’re expected to say.”
Many more however, such as this Twitter poster, don’t buy into it: “It is entirely about control, herding people like cattle into manageable segments that can effectively be fenced off and policed so you cannot leave your small open air prison without proper (likely digital) authority from those who control the prison. Why can’t people see this?!”
The Telegraph quoted a resident who supported the LTNs, saying taking away the bollards (they call them “filters”) “put vulnerable road users like kids cycling to school in danger as they don’t expect a car barrelling towards them where they expected a filter”.
“Protesting is one thing, but these mindless thugs have cost taxpayers £100,000 to replace the barriers with steel bollards and many hours of police and council workers’ time which could be better used,” she whined.
“We’re really pleased that councillors are now installing steel bollards that will be much harder to destroy but we’d like to see some official cameras installed that could catch and fine those that flout the rules and the thugs that destroy public property and endanger lives.”
Oxford has one of the most ambitious LTN networks in the country, and the county council has brought in 20mph (30km/h) speed restrictions in several areas.
A council spokesman offered a predictable corporate blah-blah response: “Damage to highways infrastructure presents a significant safety risk to all road users. Oxfordshire County Council is working closely with Thames Valley Police and with highways engineers to monitor and respond to the unprecedented level of incidents targeting low traffic neighbourhood filters.”
If councils and governments really wanted to deal with the rising traffic problem without imposing authoritarian and unlawful restrictions on freedom of movement they could use a carrot and stick approach – for instance drastically reducing registration fees on small urban vehicles that in recent years have been pushed aside for giant-sized SUVs and utes. They could even encourage use of vehicles like golf carts and small-engine scooters or urban-adapted four-wheelers.