Car Free City Sundays

New Bristol mayor, George Ferguson is kicking around a proposal for a ‘car free Sunday’. He hopes to create a calm, continental atmosphere where people can relax and enjoy themselves, free from the all-conquering tyranny of the motor car.

Hugh Blaydon, from the Bristol branch of the Alliance of British Drivers, is not so keen on the idea:

“These people live in their ivory towers and have no clue about the real world. What we need is more car parks and access so people can get into towns. Our city centres are struggling already, so why would we want to stop people from driving into them? If we banned traffic from city centres we would just end up with derelict ghettos with no businesses or shops. This is just another idiotic idea. If you really want a city to thrive, you need people to come into the city and to do their business. The more difficult we make it, the more likely people are to go to Cribbs Causeway instead of the city centre. I went around The Mall Bristol recently and I was shocked at the number of shops that were closed. I know it’s partly to do with the recession, but people get so exasperated trying to get into the city centre; you can’t just dump your car and go ahead shopping.”

Hugh seems really confused and has a spectacular penchant for contradiction. He also holds the characteristically myopic outlook of the hardened motorist, neglecting the importance of the motor car in creating the ‘out of town’ supermarket and retail park in the first place, destroying the high street and and local consumer identity.

The Alliance of British Drivers… another typically tedious, myopic lobby group for the confused and angry motorist, impotently raging at the stars.

3 thoughts on “Car Free City Sundays

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  1. Considering most places in town seem to be food or drink related they should be fairly pleased to know that encouraging cycling would see more customers spending more at their shops / cafes / bars / restaurants…

    Also the theory that cyclists spend less in each shop, but visit more shops (less time constraints and more freedom to make spur of the moment decisions) and spend more collectively than people who drive to shops…

    There are countless studies that prove this over and over but no one ever listens to them. The study that Antony mentions above actually compared shop owners perceptions of how customers got to their shops too. It proved that most people massively over estimate the number of people who arrive by car anyway, so the high street’s fight for more parking spaces to increase their business is actually really misguided and founded on incorrect assumptions.

    And for someone who’s argument is about encouraging local shopping / spending rather than the money going out of town, can he not see that the best way to divert large amount of money quickly and easily out of the local economy is to fill up a petrol tank?

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