About

Rosalind Readhead

Rosalind Readhead

‘Healthy citizens are the greatest asset this country could have’  Winston S. Churchill

Welcome to my website which campaigns to free up Central London’s streets for the majority of householders who do not own a private car. I want to redress the balance of London’s streets to truly represent the changing face of the city, where more and more people living here choose to cycle, walk or take public transport or all three.

Private cars are not only unsustainable in terms of space, congestion and pollution but restrict the free movement of those wanting to use cleaner, healthier and kinder means of transport.

In London pollution is killing 9,400 per year, inactivity kills 1 in 6 and 7 in 10 London children are not meeting the minimum standard of activity. The CEO of NHS England has said obesity will bankrupt the NHS. It is vital that we re-allocate road space to active travel to address these public health crises.

We are now officially the most congested city in Europe. Clearly The Congestion Charge and Lower Emissions Zone have not worked. Meanwhile road pricing has enabled the wealthy to drive on London’s streets at the expense of the majority of non car owning Londoners.

Parking absorbs vast quantities of the public highway, an invaluable and finite resource in London. There are 6.8 million car parking spaces which, based on the minimum parking space, take up 78.5 km sq . These parked cars, that line the streets, could be transformed into safe cycling infrastructure which is often compromised for lack of space. Residents Parking Permits are ridiculously cheap and tax payers are effectively subsidising them, residents often paying as little as £50.00 per year and in some cases nothing. In the real world private parking spaces in Cental London cost from £2,000-£20,000 per year. Some people use their parked car for extra storage!

We are far behind our counterparts in Europe. Dublin has announced plans to ban cars and taxis from the city centre, Oslo has outlined plans for a car free city centre from 2019, including a ban on electric vehicles. Madrid has banned non-residential cars from the four Central Barrios, paving the way to go car free. Meanwhile in Paris they will ban all diesel vehicles by 2020 and have announced plans for the four Central Arrondissements to be free of cars. Even in New York they have pedestrianized large areas of Manhattan.

I understand that there will always be a need for taxis, delivery vans and contractor vehicles but owning a private car is not a necessity. A large majority, 71% of households in Tower Hamlets, 69% of households in Islington, 67% of households in Westminster and 66% of households in Camden and Hackney already do not own a car.

My ultimate aim is for children to be safe on the roads, walking and cycling to and from school and playing outside in their leisure time. This is my benchmark for a successful road traffic system. We have the highest level of childhood obesity in the EU here in London and it is critical to restore the health of the next generation.

A car free city would also create new opportunities; like redundant car parks / garages freed up as brownfield sites and designated for housing key workers at reasonable rents, linked to their jobs in the vicinity.

I am wholly independent and not affiliated with any old school party politics. This is about enhancing the quality of life of Londoners by the most practical and efficient means.

Recently I have become very concerned about an ‘arms race’ to take over the streets of London with driverless cars, backed by corporate billions. These in no way address the public health crises of obesity, inactivity and urban diabetes, and have been aptly described as ‘mobile couch potatoes’  Meanwhile driverless vehicles create very real dangers for people who wish to self-empower by cycling and walking. Stephen Hawking has warned of an  ‘AI arms race’ which includes driverless as a means of potential cyber war.

Follow me on Twitter @Privatecarfree

 

43 thoughts on “About”

  1. Hi, I’d like to know what drugs you are smoking? Thanks.

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  2. Then be prepared to smoke then a bit more as the private car is staying put.

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    • That’s what they said about vinyl and video recorders !

      Liked by 1 person

      • dan5324 said:

        Except vinyl has viable replacements. The car does not

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      • In Central London, the majority of householders do not own a car, plenty of options including walking, cycling or using public transport. 66% of car journeys are under 3 miles, polluting and congesting valuable space. Sustainable modes of transport often save time and are more convenient, the car is a dinosaur in an urban environment.

        Liked by 2 people

      • dan5324 said:

        The majority of the country doesn’t own a car, your point? Also roads aren’t just for private cars so stop making out they are. Plenty of other motor vehicles have to use them. Also I’m interested to find out how you think jobs in London that require cars such as on call doctors, nurses, carers, late and early shift workers, bus and train drivers etc etc would get to their jobs if you wanted to be an authortarian green prick and ban cars?

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      • Dan, the title of the blog is ban _private_ cars in London [my emphasis]. Go to the bottom of the class for missing the point entirely.

        Liked by 1 person

      • dan5324 said:

        Also a minority cycle so by that logic, we shouldn’t build anymore useless cycle lanes, right?

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    • Except vinyl has viable replacements. The car does not

      Other than buses, trains, trams, bicycles, motorbikes, walking, jogging, running, scooting, rollerblading and skateboarding you mean.

      Liked by 2 people

      • dan5324 said:

        The fact you think public transport and kiddies toys even compare to having your own personal motorized form of transport completely sheltered from the elements, with a comfortable lumbar seat, ability to reach anywhere in the country, carry passengers and heavy loads, infotainment and climate control is quite frankly bizarre. You’re obviously some Loon who voted green. Loser.

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  3. Jesus, does the world have to be so black and white? Why alienate millions of Londoners unnecessarily. There’s no need to ban private cars – we only need to reduce their numbers to a more manageable level and make other modes of transport such as walking and cycling more attractive. This campaign will end up doing more harm than good because it makes reasonable transport campaigners look like the lunatic fringe.

    Liked by 2 people

    • In Madrid they have banned non residential cars in the four Central Barrios. The locals actively petitioned the Mayor and they are paving the way to be car free by 2020. In Paris, in response to critical levels of pollution they will ban all diesel traffic by 2020 and are banning non-residential cars from the four central Arrondissements . These are real policies in response to pollution that is killing their citizens. Here in London we have nobody who is prepared to make these tough decisions.
      Many people seem to be happy wasting money tinkering rather than have a vision. Encouraging motorised vehicles to go diesel was just putting off difficult decisions about reducing cars on the roads.
      How do you propose we get children cycling to and from school on our roads? As Former Mayor Enrique Penalosa stated, children are an ‘indicator species’ of a functioning system and ours are hemmed in , the most obese in the EU, and suffering from pollution.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. That’s just it dan5324 – YOU are staying put – in a traffic jam, where you’ll be inhaling all that lovely pollution – it rots the brain, but you can’t tell that, can you?

    Liked by 4 people

    • Funny that ….I haven’t been in a traffic jam in months. If you know your way all jams can be avoided you silly goose

      Liked by 1 person

      • You drive regularly in London and haven’t been in a traffic jam in months? either your definition of traffic jam is different to everyone else’s or your just lying.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. dan5324 said:

    Yes Chris that is correct. If London was one big jam as you tree hugging twunts like to put it, no one would drive in London. I think it’s you that needs to look up the definition of traffic jam.

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    • I fail to see why people who wish to move to a sustainable form of living are ‘tree hugging twunts ‘

      Perhaps you’re one of those global warming denying idiots.

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      • dan5324 said:

        Nope. I just think driving is the best way to get about. Not on peasant public transport, and certainly not on a two Bob bicycle.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Pollyesther said:

    To one of the previous commenters, I’m a shift-worker and I don’t use a car. I use a bike and a night bus. Sure if you’re disabled I can see the reason for driving. This is a small proportion of people. Driving is a privilege, not a right. Too many completely able-bodied people are lazy, lack imagination and driving is still too cheap.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I haven’t hugged a tree in ages. Must make a note to self. Mind you that pursuit seems to have got a lot more risky lately what with all those buses crashing in to them.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Also banning cars would severely restrict people who wanna travel outside of London. Contrary to what you lot seem to believe, there is a world outside the m25…

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    • I would make environmentally friendly, low emissions vehicles available to hire on the outskirts of London so that possible to drive outside the city.

      Liked by 1 person

      • But how on earth are you supposed to get to the outskirts from zone1/2 with family, lots of luggage etc? Bus?:/

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      • And if by “environmentally” friendly, you mean electric, they’d bs completely useless on long distance drives to the south west and other places.

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      • “But how on earth are you supposed to get to the outskirts from zone1/2 with family, lots of luggage etc? Bus? :/”

        Have you never heard of a taxi? Or train? Or both?

        Hell, I cycle to the station 10 miles with a big rucksack on my back no problem, London’s pretty flat.

        You know some electric cars can go 300 miles on a charge right? London is smaller than 300 miles BTW.

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      • Ermmm please tell me how getting a taxi, to a car is more efficient than a getting in a car to go direct to your destination? Seriously you guys are crackpots if you think the electorate would vote to make life more inconvenient for themselves.

        Also you may like a train is just as inconvenient, if not more so than a bus!! Not to mention more expensive. You greens/lefties really need to see life beyond your own little bubbles.

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      • You managed to jump to several different conclusions at once.

        You said “”But how on earth are you supposed to get to the outskirts from zone1/2 with family, lots of luggage etc? Bus? :/””

        You didn’t say to get to a parked car in that comment. And the obvious conclusion would actually be that you take the taxi/train/bus all the way.

        Are you not capable of having a conversation without name-calling and slandering?

        You also jumped to the conclusion that I support a ban of all cars in London, I never said that.

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      • LOL! Shows how much you go out of London then doesn’t it? Public transport outside of London , particularly off the beaten track is either atrocious, or it simply doesn’t exist!

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  9. lclarkberg said:

    Rosalind what you are doing with this website is nothing short of heroic. I wish you well. I appreciate your statistics and arguments and I found your around the world section inspiring. But really, isn’t it about time those who wish to use their private automobiles in our cities made a convincing argument about why the rest of us should tolerate them?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, really appreciate your support. This is a positive global movement: we are all joining up the dots to wean cities around the world off their addiction to the car and reclaim the streets for people to enjoy. Paris Une Journee sans Voiture (carfree day) was an amazing inspiration. It is important to focus on cities around the world which make up 2% of global land but account for 70% of emissions.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. But don’t you think its unfair to force this ban of private cars on people that drive into london for work, as it is; for a lot of people; the quickest and most cost effective method of travel?

    Liked by 2 people

    • I understand that many individual private car drivers value their own convenience and saving money over the consequences of their choice of transport.

      We are experiencing multiple public health crises in London and private car use is heavily implicated. Please read this recent report.
      https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/Health_Impact_of_Cars_in_London-Sept_2015_Final.pdf

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s funny how you go on about obesity and diabetes, yet don’t advocate banning mcdonalds of cola? You go on about pollution, yet seem quite happy to keep 8000 busses on the road, diesel generators powering buildings, all other commercial traffic which is far dirtier than your average modern small petrol car? Seems to me you just hate cars for the sake of it? Socialist perhaps? We all know socialists hate personal freedoms like card etc

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  11. I want all buses to be cleanest technology possible and I want their numbers reduced by encouraging people off buses and onto bicycles and walking. I want to rationalise commercial vehicles by capping Taxi and PHV numbers and reduce freight, transferring light deliveries to cargo bike where possible.

    I am not a fan of junk food or sugar, and I totally support taxing sugar laden fizzy drinks and unhealthy foods, which doctors are advocating. But exercise is also a major factor in diabetes /obesity and private car drivers, as illustrated in this report, are statistically the most inactive, hog valuable road space which could be used for safe, comfortable and desirable active travel.

    I am not affiliated to any political party, neither right or left, but I do believe, like Churchill, in the invaluable benefits of a healthy population.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Realistically how many votes do you expect to get? Let’s not forget there are over 2million cars registered in London…that means you practically need everyone who doesn’t own a car to vote for you lol? Surely you relise you have no chance(

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  12. Tony Karl said:

    Instead of banning private vehicles outright you should aim to restrict vehicle use between ceritain hours (Mon-Friday 06:00 – 09:00 and 15:00 – 18:00) with exemptions for buses, certain delivery vehicles and emergency vehicles. Central Government should also consider a max limit on annual miles driven (say 4000KM) for every person(driver), which can be on a sliding scale based on amount of aeroplane use in the same year. Businesses should have a 50/50 responsibility with their employees to determine a sustainable commuting plan.

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