14 September 2007
Shared space
Mark Holland

If there’s one thing more annoying than the over zealous greens then it’s the knee-jerk, suck on my exhaust pipe, gaze upon my carbon footprint, “oppressed motorist!”, anti green. Isn’t it funny how many folks who claim to be guided by reason can be so prejudiced at times?

Anyway, The Conservative Party released an environmental discussion document yesterday which most bloggers, in fairness, guided by experience no doubt, pounced upon before the ink was barely dry. Personally I haven’t read it so I have no opinion. Presumably there’s some good and some not so good.

However, some people should really look before they leap:

Bonkers idea #4 : removing white lines from the nation’s roads. The idea is that we would all drive more cautiously as a result, and so save fuel. It also says street lights should be turned off at night.

Whoops. Someone should have been reading Transport Blog last November. The scheme, Guido should know, is something those of a libertarian bent should applaud.

Mr Monderman, 61, compared his philosophy of motoring to an ice rink. “Skaters work out things for themselves and it works wonderfully well. I am not an anarchist, but I don’t like rules which are ineffective and street furniture tells people how to behave.”

In short, if motorists are made more wary about how they drive, they behave more carefully, he said.

In the immortal words of Brian: “You’ve all got to work it out for yourselves!”.


  1. Don’t know how much American television comedy programs you get to watch, but the no-lane-lines approach reminded me of “Seinfeld.”

    The show has a character named Kramer, the mildly “impaired” person played by entertainer Michael Richards, who showed himself to be emotionally impaired in real life when he was caught on video letting loose with the most disgraceful invective against a black audience member in a comedy night club.

    Kramer got the idea that he wanted to “adopt a highway.”  Do you have this in the U.K.?  Some business or fraternal organization agrees to collect the litter from the roadside, and they get to have a sign.  In real life, people are OK if a church or a school or even a local business does this, but when the KKK tried to adopt a highway, it resulted in some litigation.

    The fictional Kramer does not belong to any fraternal organization and it is not clear whether he has a job, so his stretch of road was “Adopted by Kramer.”  Kramer also had the idea that the normal traffic lanes were too narrow, so he painted black over the lane markings to make a “wide body” highway.  Soon Kramer’s friends heard on the radio that traffic was backed up for miles leading to an obscure section of highway in an outlying area, and no one seemed to know why this was happening.

    Kramer feels badly about painting over the lane markings, and his decision to remove the lane-marker blackout with mineral spirits leads to a series of “cascading failures” involving one friend, who is living out a janitor closet so she can be in the delivery zone of her favorite Chinese take-out restaurant, and another friend, driving a postal truck filled with empty soda cans from New York to Michigan, a state that requires payment of a cash “recycling bounty”, which leads to a piece of junk from the janitor’s closet getting caught under the frame of the mail truck setting a spark which results in a conflagration of the mineral spirits.

    So the Conservative MP’s who are serious of doing away with lane markers have certainly not seen that television program, which gave a comic treatement of the logical outcome.

    Posted by Paul Milenkovic on  20 September 2007 at 05:03 am

  2. Wow. Awesome comment.

    Yes we did have Seinfeld but it along with The Larry Sanders show were treated terribly by the BBC and you had to scour the schedules to figure out where and when it was on. It’s on fairly regularly on Paramount Comedy - a satellite channel - nowadays mind.

    It was great how they took silly little things that we all take for granted and blow them out of all proportion.

    Otherwise, the closest we’ve come to Seinfeld at Transport Blog before was observing how Larry David managed to use the car pool lane.

    Posted by Mark Holland on  20 September 2007 at 12:02 pm

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