Examination of Witness (Questions 460
WEDNESDAY 7 MARCH 2001
460. If you could get rid of people, you would
not really have a problem, would you?
(Mr Turner) I think I would have a problem, but that
right. One of the areas we are looking at is to look at the movement
from the pelican crossing to the puffin crossing.
461. We are going through the bird world!
(Mr Turner) Unfortunately we areand we could
have toucans as well.
462. I hope we never get to the stork or we
might be unpopular!
(Mr Turner) The puffin crossing enables us to be more
pedestrian friendly in recognising the number of pedestrians that
are at a particular crossing and extend the crossing time. It
also enables us to recognise the pedestrians which are waiting
to cross and automatically get that recall time down. Those schemes
are actually trying to get a hybrid between a pelican and a zebra
463. It all sounds very unpleasant to me!
(Mr Turner)but I would not want to get into
the zoology of it.
464. I wonder if I could just ask you, given
all these various things that you are doing for pedestrians, if
you are going to start charging them for jay walking?
(Mr Turner) I do not have the power to charge pedestrians
for jay walking.
465. Who has?
(Mr Turner) I do not think anyone has. The police
possibly could introduce or use their powers for jay walking.
466. Could you be given power?
(Mr Turner) Under current legislation, I do not think
467. Congestion charging, Mr Turner. Are you
saying that the strategy envisaged when those charges are implemented,
of a 10 to 15 per cent reduction in the traffic, will affect inner
London as well as central London?
(Mr Turner) We believe that there will be a change
in inner London and there will be an overall reduction, but not
of the order of 10 to 15 per cent. There will be some redistribution
in inner London, because the traffic that was previously, as I
described, going into central London will be using the inner ring
road, which is Marylebone Road and Park Lane, to turn left and
right, and there will be some diversion taking place further out.
But we believe that, by removing 10 to 15 per cent, a large proportion
of that results in transfer of those trips to public transport
or them not occurring at all. This obviously will result in a
reduction in inner London and it will be primarily inner London
trips which will benefit the environment of inner London.
468. Will that reduction in the main be on TfL
roads or will it be on the London borough roads? Will there be
a mix? If so, what proportions are we talking about here?
(Mr Turner) I suspect it is likely to be a mix but
it is more likely that the majority will be on the Mayor's roads
in concentration. But you will appreciate that a lot of the trips
come from the local authority roads to the Mayor's roads, but
in concentration you will see
469. We are fully aware where the traffic off
motorways goes: on local authority principal roads.
(Mr Turner) That is right.
470. But does this give opportunities for such
things as the stopping of rat-runs, for example, or will it increase
the pressure for rat-running in local authority roads?
(Mr Turner) I think that in the immediate vicinity
to the congestion charging zone there will be a fear, and during
the early days of operation people will try to beat the system.
As a consequence, we are making funding available to the local
authorities and talking to the local authorities to ensure that
their roads, should they wish, are protected by traffic calming
and traffic management measures in the vicinity of the congestion
charging area. I think, further out, if we are successful, there
is likely to be a general reduction and that will enable the local
authorities more easily to introduce environmental management
schemes on their roads, because the main roads will be able to
accommodate more traffic.
471. That leads me to my next question, of course,
which concerns the benefits that it is claimed will result for
public transport, for pedestrians and so on. Have you been able
to quantify, perhaps in general terms, what the benefits for pedestrians
will be either in central or inner London?
(Mr Turner) In quantifying it, no, but what we would
be looking to do is to provide pedestrian facilities on the inner
ring road junctions, better pedestrian facilities, where they
do not exist. Also, as I explained, on the World Squares' scheme
it is not conditional on introducing congestion charging, in the
Mayor's view, but it will be an easier task for my staff to engineer
because of the reduction in traffic in central London. I think
further schemes in central London, within the congestion charging
area of the World Squares' type, will be a possibility.
472. Will this be on the basis of as and when
opportunities arise, present themselves and are identified, or
will it be part of a clear strategy, short, medium and long term,
to improve pedestrian facilities across both central and, where
possible, inner London?
(Mr Turner) The Mayor sees this as one of the opportunities
as a result of congestion charging, to improve the pedestrian
environment within central London, but the Mayor has got powers
over very, very few roads within central London so he will be
looking to, primarily, Westminster and the City of London councils
to come forward with schemes.
473. Of course, that is critical.
(Mr Turner) Yes.
474. The relationship between the Mayor and
the local authorities is essential to this process, otherwise
it will not happen. Can I just press you to be, perhaps, a little
more specific? Have you any idea in the medium term, let us say,
how many pavements will be widened as a result of the strategy?
(Mr Turner) We have not got that level of detail,
but we are saying to the local authorities, particularly to Westminster,
that this is, we believe, available and we are talking to them
about assisted funding and, furthermore, in terms of pedestrians
times at traffic signals etcthat is a real tangible benefit
which we will be able to deliver, and the Mayor will be able to
deliver, in terms of central London should we achieve this 10
to 15 per cent reduction, which is what we are looking at. If
it is more we will be able to make further steps to improve the
pedestrian environment in central London.
475. One last question: over what time-span
do you anticipate the 10 to 15 per cent reduction happening?
(Mr Turner) It is not in the paper, it will be purely
speculation but we would expect it to be something in the region
of six months for it to settle down. Obviously, it would start
to occur fairly quickly but there is then an elasticity that needs
to settle down.
476. Do we need a national walking strategy?
(Mr Turner) I think in order to try to get more people
out of their cars to walk it would be a good idea if there was
a clearer view on how we should prioritise walking among other
477. Would that involve some targets?
(Mr Turner) Yes. I think targets for pedestrians is
quite a difficult area because for targets to be meaningful they
need to be realistic and you need to know the mechanisms that
will lead to a successful conclusion in meeting those targets.
As we have discussed today, our understanding and "control"
of pedestrians is such that targets for pedestrians, I think,
will be aspirational rather than those which you will be able
to really expect to be achieved, because we do not understand
the mechanisms. There needs to be more research undertaken on
why pedestrians behave in the way they do, what we can do to change
their pattern and what we can do to make motorists realise that
it is not quite so unfriendly if they get outside their tin box.
478. Do you think walkers, then, are a core
lobbying group for funding?
(Mr Turner) I think there are better ones.
479. PPG 13. Can you throw any light on it?
Where it is up to? What has happened to it?
(Mr Turner) PPG 13, I think, was a ground-breaking
piece of guidance. I do think that more work needs to be done
now to reinforce it. The really critical thing, in my view as
my paper indicates, in terms of walking is the planning of our
urban areas, the reduction in density on our urban areas and the
dispersal of our general urban life and the concentration on certain
facilities in certain areasout-of-town shopping centres
being the prime example. Where European cities and, indeed, cities
like York or Brightonwhere there has been an increase in
walkingbenefit is that those cities have a much more mixed
demography and geography, where the city centres have people living
in them, there are places of entertainment, there are shops, schools
and it is a mixed environment, so that the trip length is much
shorter so people are prepared to walk.