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Discussion:

Congestion charges for Leicester?

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Message 1 - posted by LeicesterHost_Kat, Jan 8, 2007

What do you think of the plans to introduce congestion charges in Leicester?

Also, how long does it take you to get to work? Has it got better or worse in recent months? Does Leicester need a congestion charge to 'unlock the gridlock?'

Plus, why not share your tips for avoiding the tailbacks? Do you know any decent short cuts?

Have your say on the BBC Leicester message board - and listen to BBC Radio Leicester every day this week for more from Congestion Week.
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Message 2 - posted by supaMarrowMan, Jan 8, 2007

The best tip for anyone living in Syston is to catch the train,its cheaper and cleaner than the buses and only takes 6 minutes to get to London Road station.
I wont take my car into town if you have to pay,i will do my shopping at Fosse Park.They have the same shops and no junk or pound shops,and i wont miss the beggars who sit in the doorways.Leicester is a tip and the charges will be the final nail in the coffin for the good shops and the market place.
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Message 3 - posted by Mewski, Jan 8, 2007

Moving here to Leicester as a student and having travelled and lived elsewhere in my life Leicester sure doesn't seem to be a place for such a charge to be placed upon it, along with Derby and Nottingham. If anywhere needs a congestion charge it's places like London. Birmingham is the second largest city and is chaotic when it comes to car travel in the city area, living there in the past and living here in Leicester now I cannot say Leicester is one bit chaotic road wise compared to Birmingham.
How about we use these congestion charges in places where they are actually needed?
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Message 4 - posted by 21stcenturyserf, Jan 9, 2007

Congestion is automatically self-limiting. Motorists are not fools, if it takes me half a day to get into Leicester by car because of the gridlock, I would walk, cycle or use the bus instead. So would most people I'm sure.
So a congestion charge is unnecessary, anywhere, unless our intention is to price the poor out of the city centre (after all, they will probably spend less than richer people).
But I doubt that our masters are motivated by that. Mote likely they see an opportunity to introduce a new tax.
BTW could someone explain to me how the amount of congestion a vehicle causes is related to its CO2 emissions? Or is it not a congestion charge at all?
Moving here to Leicester as a student and having travelled and lived elsewhere in my life Leicester sure doesn't seem to be a place for such a charge to be placed upon it, along with Derby and Nottingham. If anywhere needs a congestion charge it's places like London. Birmingham is the second largest city and is chaotic when it comes to car travel in the city area, living there in the past and living here in Leicester now I cannot say Leicester is one bit chaotic road wise compared to Birmingham.
How about we use these congestion charges in places where they are actually needed?

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Message 5 - posted by alanpartridge80, Jan 9, 2007

Actually if the Leicester Mercury are to be believed then Leicester is the most congested City outside of London.
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Message 6 - posted by 21stcenturyserf, Jan 9, 2007

I don't know, but Leicester does, I'm told, have the lowest average traffic speed outside of London. But I think this has more to do with the apparent belief of our road engineers over many years that every problem can be solved by erecting a set of traffic lights.
Contrast that with places like Peterborough and Swindon, that invested in roundabouts instead and therefore have some of the highest traffic speeds in the country.
A lot of Leicester's traffic problems could be solved by building a decent high speed route from the M1/M69 junction to the A47 east of the city, instead of dumping all that motorway traffic into the congested area around Fosse Park. But that would cost money (although from a different authority)!
Actually if the Leicester Mercury are to be believed then Leicester is the most congested City outside of London.

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Message 7 - posted by richie0671, Jan 9, 2007

The trouble with Leicester's road system is not that it is particularly congested with too many cars, but that the road planners have seen fit to produce a system which is totally loopy.

In Aylestone at the major cross roads (by Graham Goode, they saw fit to narrow the road for the pedestrian crossing. Why? It's still a pedestrian crossing over a major road, but now it is also a major choke point on the road and causes no end of problems especially as it is so close to the junction. The Junction itself is a nightmare and a choke point. The problem here is not that there are too many cars, but that the junction is too old/badly designed/managed to handle the volume of traffic that it does.

Similarly other areas of the city have suffered major road works (often narrowing or shrinking lanes and junctions) - simultaneously - which results in all routes in and out of the city becoming conjested as traffic try and find routes around it.

And yes, Leicester is a pain to drive in, but it is no where near as bad as Nottingham, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Northampton, Birmingham, Chester and Liverpool - all of which I drive in regularly.

And finally, I don't go into Leicester that much anyway (Socially or Domestically) and a conjestion charge would just cement that fact for me personally. I would imagine that most people will stay away to start with and the scheme will be hailed a great success - then slowly everyone will adjust and things will return to normal and the powers that be will find another way to tax us! :)
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Message 8 - posted by jezzyb, Jan 9, 2007

I've moved back to the area after 10-years in London-congestion what congestion!
There are a few problems in whats proposed here.

1) There is not the public transport infrastructure here that can get people effectively to and from work 24/7 at a reasonable cost.

2) People do not willingly sit in traffic, therefore its as they have no viable alternative.

3) The jury is out as to if it worked in London:

It worked to effectively early on-more effectively than Ken Livingstone predicted. As a result of the shortfall in projected income for CC for London, the London taxpayer had to subsidise that shortfall. (In effect being taxed twice!).

It has not produced a significant fall in times driving across the city. (This is from official figures).(For example Piccadilly even in rush hour kept moving-now its static!) Ken Livingstone claimed it was more pedestrian friendly, but how can static traffic with engines on be that?

Traffic levels have now returned too the levels previously.

4)The impact on retail. In London established shopkeepers inside the zone (i.e. Marlebone) have had to close. Have Leicester City Council thought about the impact on retail (as most high streets are struggling for trade) especially with the new shires development. (Would John Lewis be so keen to come knowing this? They're shop on Oxford Street was hit with the charge and they have been vocal again extending it to Chelsea and impacting on they're shop there).

5) Its not means tested. It will hit people indiscriminately. Normally those who work unsociable hours are the lowest paid. i.e.. Nurses, shopworkers, cleaners etc. (Will John Lewis have trouble recruiting staff now, on top of car parking? See above!). It is no deterrent to people who can afford it, thats why Ken Livingstone is trying to up the charge on 4x4's. This may not work so he may just try to ban them anyway!

6) Will it be zone or per mile based?

7) We have bus routes in the city which are not policed or the timings wrong. Coming into town in the morning people park along the bus lanes forcing them out and impeding the traffic. The same situation I have witnessed in the evening rush hour at the end outside the Council Offices! The bus lanes need not be 24-hour on Hinckley Road in both directions near Braunstone Park. Its not an effective use of road space. Only on the busiest routes in London are they so.

8) Where will the income go? If its being put back into a better public transport infrastructure most commuters will not mind. If its going back to operators, once they have covered costs it should be capped and put back in.

9) There was a huge increase in public funding to London Bus. Is that possible in Leicester with private ownership?

Having said all that I do admire Ken Livingstone for trying, for example at peak times if a stragegic junction had a traffic light malfunction traffic would come to a standstill for miles around. The traffic leval is at saturation point and cannot take any increase.

But we need to look at ALL the options before committing.
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Message 9 - posted by dmac11, Jan 9, 2007

It is a given fact that year on year there are more cars on the road. If the government choose not to cater for them by providing a better road network then congestion will naturally follow. In Leicester over the last few years there has been a trend by the Council to reduce the amount of space for traffic on the roads: removing lanes (Vaughan Way for instance), creating Bus only lanes, creating one-way routes, etc. This sort of behaviour only ENCOURAGES congestion as more and more vehicles try to negotiate less space.

I would imagine that the idea behind this is to encourage more people to use public transport. But if the public transport system is inadequate, or does not serve the routes that people need for commuting, then it won't work.

The introduction of a Congestion Charge will bring about two effects: Firstly, it will drive away those people that visit Leicester for shopping reasons. Why pay a tax to enter the city and then pay extortionate prices to park? The result being that businesses will suffer. Secondly, those people that work in the city but do not have the luxury of a public transport link will have their commuting expenses increased. Are employers willing to increase wages as a result? I doubt it.

In both cases it is not the Council that is losing out here, it is the public and the businesses - from their pockets!

One alternative exists and that is Park and Ride which I used for the first time last week. The Hinckley Road site was well out of the way for me which meant extra travelling by car and I was lucky enough to find the very last parking space on the site and that was at 11am! And have you ever tried to get on a bus with more than two bags of shopping? Not easy, and there's certainly no room for it.

In recent years I have been fortunate enough to work from home so I don't have to suffer the congestion myself, but also I have taken to doing all of my shopping on the internet which removes all the hassle and costs of city centre shopping, and the choice available is far superior. So I suggest to you all: stay away from Leicester if you can and get online.
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Message 10 - posted by TravelWise, Jan 9, 2007

Most drivers see the mounting costs of fuel, insurance, car tax, parking and servicing/repair of driving a car. So it's no surprise they don't want another cost on top. But if the cost were to replace car and fuel tax they should be happier. Those of us that drive and park at the busiest times and routes should pay more - just as we do on the railways or on 'low-cost' airlines. People choosing greener cars or alternative options should pay less. Rural dwellers typically drive further but their roads are often less busy so could actually pay less in tax than they do now!

Anyone concerned about the rising cost of car commuting and parking should ask their employer to have a 'Travel Plan' to help them - free advice is usually available to employers from their City or County Council - just ask - everyone could benefit.
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Message 11 - posted by dmac11, Jan 9, 2007

Does anybody know what the money generated from the Congestion Charge will pay for?

The CC will exist as an attempt to reduce the amount of traffic on the roads - ie. reduce congestion. But where will the money go? As this is in effect a Green Tax, will the money be spent on cleaning the environment that congestion causes? I have yet to hear of any invention that can clean the atmosphere so I can only see that this tax is nothing more than a sly way of boosting the Council coffers without providing a return for the people that will be paying into it.

Tax is never the answer to anything but is the cheapest and easiest thing to impliment!
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Message 12 - posted by geoeagle-i, Jan 10, 2007

WHY do they want to introduce congestion charges in the east midlands anyway - does the people profit from this!
WHY have we got so many people come into our country the total figure I can't comprehend, from asylum seekers to workers which have been put on our doorsteps and have been accepted into our British culture, to what cost?
Congestion charges,
Gas & electricity,
Council rates,
Overcrowded hospitals & schools,
Pollution.
I see all around the midlands, little towns & villages that have doubled or trebled in size due new estates being built, I am a working family man with three children who is very concerned as to whether i can afford the future!
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Message 13 - posted by ashzash, Jan 10, 2007

Congestion charging is a good idea because car use needs to be discouraged. There is bad congestion and most cars carry only the driver. I use a motorcycle because it is more covenient, cheaper to run and environmentally friendly. Having said that the government should do more to ensure easy and convenient access to busses and trains.However I am dead against any form of road pricing where satellite tracking is used because it is too close to the BIG BROTHER scenario.
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Message 14 - posted by Davidwigston, Jan 11, 2007

When is everyone going to realise that 'road pricing' is simply a means devised by the rich to ensure that THEY get less congested roads? Having to pay to use the roads will not affect at all the likes of David Beckham or even for that matter, MPs and well-off county councillors.

In the same way, parking charges are simply a means of allowing the well-off to park when and where they like; what's a 40 parking fine matter if you're on half a million pounds a week?

In wartime, when things were in short supply, they were rationed; not by pricing, but by ensuring that everyone got an equal share. The same principle should apply to road space; if space is in short supply on the roads, it should be rationed. One way of doing this fairly is to introduce petrol rationing, so that everyone received, for example, coupons to enable them to buy 2000 litres of petrol a year. They would not be transferrable, and would encourage people to buy more economic cars, encourage people to use public transport, and would cut congestion at a stroke. Above all, it would be fair, which road pricing patently isn't.
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Message 15 - posted by l0tuselan, Jan 11, 2007

Congestion charging is fundamentally wrong. It is just another form of taxation which we already pay. Vehicle drivers pay in road tax and fuel tax and that money is supposed to go into the transport system. The reality is that very little of that money is actual used for that purpose and the bulk of the money is used for other things. How can we be sure congestion taxes would be put to their proper use.

Congestion is an issue, but really only at peak times. It is possible to drive into the city centre outside of peak time with ease.

The majority of the congestion is caused by people who simply have to be in the city centre and so it is made up mainly of workers rather than shoppers. If this taxation (I refuse to call it congestion charging) is applied, businesses will need to pay higher salaries or face losing staff who may seek employment elsewhere, increased transports costs etc and inevitably this will be passed on to consumers. If shoppers at non peak times have to pay a congestion charge, why? It's not congested when they travelled in and if they do, why will they not change their shopping habits to retail parks outside of town. This would cause economic shutdown in the city and congestion at places like Fosse Park. What then, create a congestion zone there and charge only to see the pattern reverse when once again people move on to the next free zone?

If the East Midlands accepts congestion charging it could well find itself in an uncompetitive position and shoppers and businesses will seek alternative venues.

Things need to change and most people can accept that argument but why must we only consider taxation and not other ways to improve things? If all shops opened at 10am - 6pm and all offices opened 9am - 5.00pm then that would split the peak volume of commuters in half and reduce congestion, more parking spaces would mean less queing for car parks which is often the cause of bottle necks.

If it is really is about congestion rather than taxation why should emmision have a bearing on what price people should pay? A Hybrid car whilst carbon efficient still has the same physical foot print of an equivalent petrol or diesel vehicle.

Taxation causes social divide, if you are wealthy a congestion charge is not going to make you change your use of the car, if you are less well off you may be forced to and that is simply not fair.

Lets hope this committee who are to research the issue look at all the alternatives and not just taxation. Lets have innovation not taxation, we have enough of that already!

What do you think of the plans to introduce congestion charges in Leicester?

Also, how long does it take you to get to work? Has it got better or worse in recent months? Does Leicester need a congestion charge to 'unlock the gridlock?'

Plus, why not share your tips for avoiding the tailbacks? Do you know any decent short cuts?

Have your say on the BBC Leicester message board - and listen to BBC Radio Leicester every day this week for more from Congestion Week.

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Message 16 - posted by sywig8, Jan 11, 2007

Sorry, I don't think much of the congestion charges at the moment, apart from the fact that: I feel very aggrieved that Leicester is being included, along with Nottingham in this survey. I realise Nottingham must have allocated a substantial amount towards its tram system but am also aware that The Government (which obviously includes Leicester taxpayers) has pumped a considerable sum into this. On Nottingham East Midlands today - sorry East Midlands they stated the Government had given x amount towards this. We don't seem to have a system comparable with Nottingham's so why, until an alternative viable public transport system is up and running are we, the Leicestershire tax payers being asked to take part?
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Message 17 - posted by personalmobility, Jan 12, 2007

Rationing IS fair, but a lot more difficult, (read "expensive) to administer, so this is why no government is keen to even think about it. You can be sure there is also a lot of behind the scenes pressure from the rich/powerful to ensure it isn't.
The one thing we have working for us as motorist citizens is that we are now THE MAJORITY. If we all say no to such taxes and demand better roads then the government will have to start spending a bit more than the present miserable 10% of motor taxes on the roads. Pricing the poor off the roads to make way for the rich is divisive and a lot of people will think that they will be among the winners, thus splitting our opinions. Cunning, isn't it ?
But this is only a temporary respite: the numbers of vehicles will continue to increase and therefore the charges will have to increase to maintain whatever low congestion rate is achieved this way. Sooner or later YOU TOO may be forced off the road by these artificial costs.
Why not consolidate now and present a united voice to the government and anyone else trying to get rid of our personal transport ? This is the way we want to travel and public transport belongs to the 19th century. It is pathetically slow, meandering around all over the place stopping continuously and is manifestly unpleasant. It's not even cheap unless subsidised. Subsidies are a poor instrument, invariably creating distortions.
There is any ammount of improvement which can be made to our roads without building new motorways: traffic lights which have modern software would be a big start. Bottlenecks widened, especially the artificial ones created by placing bus stops so that the bus halts the traffic; general improvement of junctions; and above all, making ALL our roads useable. There is no such thing as a "rat run ". The roads are there to be used by the public. Nobody has a right to think that their street should be excluded from traffic use, unless nobody on that street drives a car. If it's OK for that person to drive along main roads with houses beside them, then it's OK for someone from those houses to drive down the first person's street.
Or lives have been blighted by a lot of so called "planners", paid good money to find ways of telling the rest of us what to do. Their vision is limited and timid, but they still think they know best. All we need is a mass of artery clearing, not lots of signs and directions.
Unite, fellow drivers. Don't let the news media bully you into submission by making you feel guilty about your vehicle. Sooner or later these are going to be emission free; let the control freaks talk you out of it now and you will never get it back.
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Message 18 - posted by Rabbiitpie, Jan 13, 2007

Does anyone know what will happen to Disabled Blue Badge Holders if this concession charge comes into force in Leicester. We have two registered disabled adults in the family, one of whom is a powered wheelchair user and likes regular trips into the city centre just to look round and visit restaurants etc. We can't use park and ride as a) there isn't one anywhere near us b) you can't get the wheelchair on board along with necessary bags for change of clothes, toileting needs etc. If we have to pay to go into Leicester we'll seriously look at going elsewhere which will mean travelling further and using more petrol/creating pollution - defeats the object doesn't it. I also think independent city centre shops will suffer.
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Message 19 - posted by Bluefox65, Jun 27, 2007

I totally agree, the layout of the roads in Leicester and the traffic management system is what are to blame for the congestion. Traffic lights on main roads that only allow 3 vehicles over at a time. (Aylestone Road at its junction with Raw Dykes Rd/Freemans Common Rd).
The council say the Pork Pie Island is to be "improved", I believe with traffic lights there will be even more congestion.
Another cause for congestion is the placing of bus stops adjacent to central refuges (Saffron Lane outside Kwik Save for example),there is sufficent room there to build a bus lay by,if that was done then traffic would flow better.
Leicester needs a congestion charge like a hole in the head,the city/county councils need to take a long hard look at themselves and improve traffic flow in other ways.
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Message 20 - posted by Lambchop13, Jun 30, 2007

I couldn't agree more KIERON66, <ok>, have you been along Sturdee Road lately? They have done the same there, nine times out of ten, due to parked cars, the buses and diverted lorries due to Saffron Road being closed between the roundabout & Dorset Avenue, the buses and lorries go by the refuges on the wrong side of the road, regardless of oncoming traffic <yikes>

I feel a theory coming on, what with all of these roadworks around the city, especially Saffron & Wigston way, seeing as we are possibly in the running for a try-out for the congestion charge, I'm starting to think those that are sitting behind desks believe if they put roadworks all over the place, we'll be begging for the charge to come to Leicester <steam>.

Last week they have started putting cones on the Lutterworth Road end of Glenhills Way for the rush-hour <steam> and have a man sitting in a digger at the side of the road on the grass!

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