Dear British Friends and Colleagues,
Forgive me if I am being naïve, but based on what I am reading and hearing it strikes me that there is a major crisis abuilding for sustainable transport in Britain in the months immediately ahead — as a result of the coalition government withdrawing funding from a lot of mainly small and local (since they really have to be small and usually local and focused if they are to succeed) sustainable transport initiatives This strikes me as a caring observer as unfair, unsafe and unwise.
Yes, these are hard times for Britain and yes, the available public moneys need to be spent wisely and well. But in this context I am at a loss to understand why great gobs of hard earned taxpayer earnings are being set aside for massive investments in motorways and high speed rail projects, none of which pass even the most elementary performance test of these hard times.
Beyond this, the cost of abandoning something that is working pretty well and making an important contribution, such as is the case with literally hundreds of these modest high impact programs, is very high. You can shut down the operation in a single day, send the people who are its soul home to try to figure out what they can do next with all their preciously won experience, and the nation is a loser. After decades of observation and work experience at the leading edge in this sector, I and my colleagues have learned at least one thing – and that is that consistency and continuity are vital for sustainable transport and sustainable cities, and sustainable lives.
So I ask you this: what if anything can I or, better yet, World Streets do to gently bring these choices before the widest possible public in Britain and abroad, so that your government can be brought to reason on this before it is too late? My hope is that as an independent international collaborative of high repute and with literally thousands of professional contacts working in the field in countries all over the world, some attention may be paid to our views on this important topic. (You can see just below the map showing the origins of World Streets last eighty readers just below. To which I might add that a steady 20% of our readers are British.)
When my forbears sailed with empty pockets from England and Scotland in the early 18th century to make their life in America, they would I am sure have not approved of their distant grandson just sitting on his hands when he could at least try to be of help at a hard time for what is after all our historic native land. So please if you do have an idea contact me and let me know how I or World Streets might be able to help in getting greater attention in the media and the public before it is too late.