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Archive for the ‘Transport’ Category

No signs for visitors

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Confusion over Tyne Tees Run

Just came back from the sea front in South Shields where I’d hoped to pick up a few interesting photos of vintage commercial vehicles taking part in the annual Tyne Tees run today, fortunately for me I knew that the event was finishing in Gypsies Green Stadium. Not so for many others, I bumped into knots of people in the Bents Park who were expecting old Austin 6’s and Morris Minor vans lined up on the grass, I had to point them a further hundred yards along the road. Although there is an announcement on South Tyneside council’s website there were precious few signs about the event until you were almost upon Gypsies Green.

A great pity that nobody thought of putting a sign at the entrance of Bents Park to redirect people, we need visitors to keep returning here yes?

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Written by curly

June 6, 2010 at 12:54 pm

War on motorists to end

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Hammond to introduce “fuel price stabiliser”

On the face of it this looks like good news too, but will it do much at all to reduce the costs of motoring, not just for the average car owner in South Shields but for hauliers also?

So the Treasury’s “take” of petrol taxes will fall as oil prices rise, and their revenue will increase when oil prices fall, this seems to me a very good incentive for Shell, BP, et all to keep the price at the pump as high as possible to give them some sort of margin. Despite the fact that supermarkets are the main drivers of competitive pricing in this market and that demand will always be high, I can see the oil men being quite pleased with this announcement.

Err…..well done Philip Hammond (but at least he appears to be putting the brakes on the rising numbers of speed cameras and promising no tolls on current roads, and the faint hope of high speed rail links.)

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Written by curly

May 16, 2010 at 10:07 am

It’s like “intellectual theft”

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Ahmed Khan and Jim Hodgson formulate “policy” for the South Tyneside Independent Alliance!

Local government elections in South Tyneside can be quite amusing things at times, and this year proves to be little different from previous years. In the Beacon and Bents ward of South Shields Jim Hodgson is the candidate for the South Tyneside Independent Alliance and his agent is Cllr. Ahmed Khan, and I have criticised them in the past (often) for being somewhat “policy lite” with a long record of negative campaigning or being short on ideas, initiatives, or firm alternative policies. Well it looks as though they are at last attempting to remedy the situation.

Take a look at Jim’s leaflet:

View this document on Scribd

They want to support a system of 30 minutes free car parking in South Shields town centre followed by a system of increasing parking charges for up to full day parking in an attempt to discourage bay hoggers I assume, they are also calling for “equitable “parking charges.

A theme that you might just be familiar with seeing as I have continuously banged the drum here for quite a while:

Oh, and they also like to look at the feasibility of covering the Market Square and King Street

How about their ideas to maximise the South Tyneside as a tourist destination (remember they fully opposed the development of a new hotel at Gypsies Green and wanted to blight all development at the sea front park area), a winter festival might be a bright new fresh idea then, eh?

There comes a point where you have to start to think that these ideas are nothing short of intellectual theft – originality does not seem to be one of their strong points does it?

Here’s another nice idea for the council – develop a system of openness, accountability and integrity! Great idea, after all it’s exactly what the Independent Alliance is built upon, that’s right the same group of people who won’t allow their supporters to even talk about the things that go one in their own meetings, the same people who refuse to register their party with the Electoral Commission, the very same people who won’t allow the public to see into their finances! Take a look at this protocol from the South Tyneside Independent Alliance

View this document on Scribd

The content of the meetings, the views expressed, the decisions taken, and the actions planned by the Alliance are to be confidential unless a campaign meeting decides otherwise.

Have you ever seen such two faced duplicitous hypocrisy?

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Written by curly

April 26, 2010 at 11:38 am

Eruptions don’t happen every day in Europe!

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Lord adonis“This was an unprecedented situation” – Lord Adonis, Transport Secretary.

Just been listening to Radio 5 Live after walking back from school to hear Lord Adonis, the Transport Secretary, being wheeled out by Gordon to “big up” the news story about how Labour has done everything that it possibly can to help those stranded abroad after the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano. Many of the travellers, of course, had different thoughts.

Having defended the government’s case in front of Paxo last night, they’d even wheeled out Dame Deirdre Hutton, of the Civil Aviation Authority to say that it was a “situation without precedent”.

Oh really? (This was Mt. Etna in 2001)

Adonis repeated this ridiculous statement this morning to Nicky Campbell saying that volcanic eruptions don’t happen every day in Europe, and “that this was an unprecedented situation”.

Of course there is plenty of known precedent of politicians talking a load of old cock!

Meanwhile South Shields MP and Foreign Secretary David Miliband was suggesting yesterday that those thousands of people stranded abroad, running out of cash, living hand to mouth, should reply upon “that Great British spirit” to get them through, and incredibly advised then that they ought to enforce their rights on airlines!(A sure sign of someone cosseted by the comforts of the job).

One might have hoped that our government could at least do that bit for them.

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Written by curly

April 21, 2010 at 9:43 am

Clarkson for PM!

with 4 comments

jeremy clarksonClarkson urges a stop to “Elfin Safety” lawyers

As Lufthansa and KLM confirm that they have made test flights of their own aircraft, within their own airspace with no discernible damage to jet engines reported, Jeremy Clarkson, the veteran tongue in cheek journalist ought to be encouraged to run for Prime Minister after this article which cuts straight through the clouds of ash and points the blame firmly where it belongs.

There is a warning here, because on the volcanic explosivity index (VEI) — which goes from one to eight — the eruption at Eyjafjallajokull will probably be classified as a two. And yet it shut down every airport in northern Europe. There are much bigger volcanoes in Iceland. They could, in theory, shut the whole world down for years.

Let’s not forget that back in 1980 Mount St Helens in Washington state blew with a VEI rating of five. It was a huge blast but only local air traffic was affected.

What’s changed, of course, is our attitude to safety, brought about in the main by our fear of being sued. Could volcanic ash bring down a jetliner? Fifteen-hundred miles from the scene of the volcano itself, it is extremely unlikely, but so long as there are lawyers, licking their lips at the prospect of proving the crash could have been avoided, air traffic controllers are bound to push the big button labelled “Stop”.

It won’t be a volcano that ends man’s existence on this planet. It’ll be the no-win no-fee lawyers. They are the ones who brought Europe to a halt last week. They are the ones who made a simple trip from Berlin to London into a five-country, all-day hammer blow on your licence fee. They are the ones who must be stopped.

I would say he has a fair point.

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Written by curly

April 18, 2010 at 9:20 am

MOT failure rates

with one comment

MOT certificate

Spokesman blames batch of faulty badges

Click picture for story

Funny thing about this motor manufacturing industry, once you’ve had a good look at the list, can you tell me which of those companies do not operate without the support of taxpayer funded subsidies in whichever countries they are producing?

We want a greener cleaner environment, our governments get together and try and cobble deals that would see worldwide action for electric vehicles or non fossil fuel burning alternatives, but in reality they are paying motor manufacturers to carry on producing the same old crap that cannot pass a basic MOT test!

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Written by curly

January 14, 2010 at 10:22 am

South Tyneside drivers A1 with no grit

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Caution and safety become the norm

Now that South Tyneside Council has ran out of grit and rock salt for all but the highest priority roads, it has become apparent in a very short space of time that drivers can manage without it. During yesterday evening’s fresh snowfall I witnessed drivers negotiating a roundabout on a major road in South Shields driving at speeds of around 10 mph and leaving gaps of about 60 yards between each other, it was fascinating to see how careful, thoughtful, cautious, and safety conscious the drivers were.  All road markings were thoroughly covered by the heavy snow, leaving drivers with no option but to fend, very carefully for themselves, and they nearly all managed to give an A1 driving performance.

It was a pretty instructive few minutes of behaviour watching, just shows what people can manage to do when left to make their own decisions.

It would be nice to think that we could manage without any new supplies of road grit during the rest of the winter, it might stop shopkeepers complaining about the mess being dragged onto their floors every day too!

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Written by curly

January 9, 2010 at 10:37 am

Do we want free parking in South Shields?

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car parkIndependent Alliance calls for free parking

It’s a bit of a vexed question at the moment with all sorts of letters having been recently published in the local newspaper bemoaning the fact that our town centre appears to be dying on its feet during the recession with a collective view that parking charges are driving customers away. There can be bo doubt that the development of out of town shopping centres (which NEVER charge their customers to park) have had an effect over the past couple of decades, with places such as the Metro Centre, the Royal Quays, Washington Galleries, and Dalton Park all encouraging us to jump into the car and enjoy the benefits of varied shopping with free parking, but it is still true that many prefer the more individual characteristics of the traditional high street shopping experience.

The removal of parking charges in South Shields town centre may just encourage more to shop in King Street but it isn’t guaranteed, what would make a greater difference would be the introduction of more retailers to fill the empty premises and offer more choice and variety. Removal of parking charges would also be costly to South Tyneside Borough Council with a loss of revenue, which goes some way towards paying for the maintenance of car parks, it would also encourage the clogging up of parking bays by commuters and others who want to park all day long, thus reducing the number of spaces available to shoppers. The issue is being considered by the council and there is a public consultation exercise going on to gather our views, and at Thursday’s meeting of the Borough Council in South Shields Town Hall the Independent Alliance group of councillors is proposing a notice of motion which calls upon the council to introduce free parking throughout the borough. Now this seems odd for a couple of reasons (a) the council is already committed to reviewing car parking charges and is expending money, energy, and time in trying to find a solution, and (b) in another notice of motion the Alliance wants the council to sign up to the Guardian’s latest 10:10 campaign to reduce carbon footprints (free car parking would surely encourage a much greater use of the car at the expense of public transport) – they cannot have it both ways!

I am not in favour of a general free parking regime throughout the borough, indeed I am not in favour of free parking in South Shields town centre either, but I am in favour of free parking for shoppers and tourists at the appropriate time and in the appropriate places. I favour a system which ties retailers into a partnership with the council and shares parking revenues on a short term basis and provides for free parking for those shoppers spending cash at the retailers within the scheme. I have argued the case before many times in this blog and the main details can be found here.

Such a scheme for shoppers ought to prove popular whilst still discouraging the bay hoggers who want to park all day for free, for retailers it provides guaranteed sales, for shoppers it provides free parking if they spend £5 (or cheap parking if they stay less than two hours), and for the council it still guarantees a revenue from car parks. All round it is far better than what we have and only needs a redesign of tickets and a small administrative change to make it work.

The other matter of car parking at the sea front needs to be re-addressed, perhaps we could go back to free parking in the winter months without seeing a huge loss of revenue, I saw no real reason to change other than to try and maximise car parking revenue.

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Written by curly

October 18, 2009 at 10:51 am

So you thought Edwardo was a diver?

with 2 comments

Just wait until the motorists start to complain.

I never thought it would get this bad, although perhaps I should have, NuLabour’s war against the motorist has just been ratcheted up another notch. The car  and van drivers become yet another group presumed to be guilty before even having a chance to be proved innocent, in fact it seems that NuLabour want to decide in advance that we are all guilty before we even sink into the drivers seat and turn on the ignition. They want everyone to be clear that if a cyclist or pedestrian is involved in an accident with a car or motor vehicle then the driver of the said vehicle will be automatically liable in any civil case! Streuth, just how far do they want to go? It’s bad enough being labelled a pervert for driving the under 7s football team around but now they have found another avenue of justice which they have decided needs closing off.

Do these people in government have no concept at all of natural justice? Can they not accept that in some “accidents” there are actually two points of view, two participants, two sets of reactions, and that sometimes cyclists and pedestrians by their own negligence can actually be the causal factor in the “accident”? Don’t get me wrong, I can argue this from both sides of the fence having cycled miles and miles around South Tyneside with it’s green lanes painted all over the place, and I have to admit that there are some stretches of road where it is safer to cycle on the pavement (think King George Road in South Shields and the stretch from Cleadon Village to the White Ensign, where there isn’t even enough pavement to keep you safe). But if Labour gets it’s way and makes every motorist guilty without the due process of natural and fair justice, then mark my words some cyclist is going to launch his mountain bike at an almost stationary vehicle and dive onto the bonnet a la Edwardo.

Particularly as the pound signs start rolling over the eyeballs after the first few cases!

When will they relent in their bloody war against motorists, who are now used as cash revenue machines by government departments with pernicious tax rates, fuel duty escalators, money making cameras, resident parking permits, and even cowboy clampers.

Via Iain Dale.

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Written by curly

September 21, 2009 at 9:45 am

Pedestrian Tyne Tunnel

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applauseHurrah! this deserves a round of applause.

I am delighted to read about this, I’m a bit of a fan of the old pedestrian tunnel under the River Tyne at Jarrow having walked through or cycled through many times to Howden. It has also provided me with some very interesting photo opportunities over recent months and much as though some of us love the work created by young artists engaged by the Customs House in South Shields, eventually when the new crossing project is completed their work will either have to be rehoused or destroyed I fear.

The construction of the second vehicular tunnel under the Tyne was always likely to be a massive civil engineering undertaking which creates disruption, mess, and noise for the people of Jarrow but it has given rise to an excellent opportunity to market the benefits of the original pedestrian tunnel with it’s renowned wooden escalators (which I believe are still the longest of their kind in the world). It would be an achievement to increase the daily amount of users, either on foot or bicycle, and to massively improve the environment around its entrance with a recreated riverside park, which had always proved a little disappointing in the past.

So one hopes that the consultation period will help foster a number of fresh ideas to promote the health benefits of walking and cycling, as well as creating new links between the old and the new and highlighting the prominent historical importance of Jarrow as the seat of Christian learning in the UK. We have a chance to promote South Tyneside and it’s ability to attract World Heritage status for St. Paul’s church and Bede’s monastery, let us hope that we grasp it with both hands.

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Written by curly

August 25, 2009 at 10:34 am