Coming out of lockdown in London it’s hard to believe that a few months ago we were revelling in the peace and quiet of reduced traffic and aviation.
Several months on and the roads seem to be more congested than ever. People have turned to their cars as they avoid public transport for safety and comfort reasons.
But a significant contributor to this traffic is the delivery companies. As we shop more online we get our groceries, meals, household items instantly delivered to our offices and homes. That has spurred the growth of delivery vehicles from private cars, white vans, scooters to e-bikes. We also physically expect to be picked up from our homes and offices by an Uber or minicab- no more hailing black cabs in the rain.
Then there’s the infrastructure. Cycling has become more treacherous than ever. Not only from the increased traffic but also from the state of the roads – they are in a bad way with holes appearing and councils taking months to react.
But perhaps the most shocking is the state of London’s bridges. London is a city with a river running through the middle of it. 9 million people approximately live in and around it and unsurprisingly many of those need to cross it. Hammersmith Bridge has been closed to vehicles since 10 April 2019 and to pedestrians and cyclists since 13 August 2020. Nothing is even allowed to pass under it including rowing boats and motorised boats, pedestrians on the towpath or on the banks. Worst of all it appears all repair work has frozen with councils on either side and TFL/ The Government unable to agree the £170m repair bill. Our resolution would be to install a fixed bridge but keep the supports and chains in place for decorative purposes… but whatever the solution is, it needs to done immediately. Wandsworth Bridge is also in a state of disrepair with works there taking months and Putney Bridge is impassable at peak times and that’s just our 3 closest bridges!
Then there’s the general mood of drivers: road-rage incidents are on the increase and despite the coronavirus pandemic - when motorists were told not to travel unless their journey is essential during lockdown - more than 2,300 road rage crimes were recorded between January and October 2020.
It’s not surprising that House prices are on the rise as people look for bigger gardens in more peaceful locations and properties in rural environments have seen a sales boom.
Lockdown has helped us connect more to nature and take time to appreciate our local green spaces. Holidaying domestically will reinforce this biophilic and naturalistic affinity.
We need to be responsible for our own actions – we cannot always blame the Government for everything, but let’s hope when we look back, more positive results will have come out of our lockdown sacrifices. After all there is herd immunity to covid now!
©Ateliers Verts Ltd. 2021
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