Comment: Throwing cash at fixing something that ain’t broken

Throwing cash at fixing something that ain’t broken

Throwing cash at fixing something that ain’t broken

First published in News
Last updated
Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

It’s comforting to know Hertfordshire’s roads are in such rude health that highways bosses can now turn their attention to problems that don’t exist.

As it must surely have been this lack of meaningful things to do that led them to decide one of the most pressing concerns in the county was that not enough workers on Watford Business Park are cycling.

And once this scourge was identified, it acted with uncharacteristic decisiveness to implement the urgently-required reforms.

Yet, as someone who works on the business park, I have been fruitlessly trying to decipher the logic behind these expensive bureaucratic exertions.

I won’t bore you with the details, but needless to say the business park has recently been covered in yellow lines and had a one way system imposed. On top of this, its roads have been adorned with cycle lanes with massive bike symbols painted on the tarmac.

Workers were informed this dynamic reorganisation was needed because in 2012 highways officials decided “to investigate the problem of vehicles parking on pavements at Watford Business Park, causing obstructions to pedestrians and damage to the footway.” Which is interesting as this was not a “problem” that seemed to in anyway perturb the people working on it.

This is an isolated business park on the edge of the town. It is hardly Oxford Circus. Nor is it a leg of the Tour de France. You just don’t see many pedestrians and cyclists up here.

Also, as someone who frequently walks around the business park, I had never found my path insurmountably obstructed by a parked car.

However, now the county has bestowed its benevolent reforms on the business park, workers have started noticing problems that were not there before.

While the new system has thankfully further opened up an already very large road no-one was having trouble driving down before, all the cars that used to park there are now cramming into already overflowing car parks.

Meanwhile, the one way system is not being properly enforced so people are ignoring it, thus making the roads around here more dangerous.

All this pointless initiative has done is cause a parking shortage where there was not one to alleviate a problem that only existed in the minds of county officials.

As a taxpayer, you may be wondering what the overarching goal of all this expense was. Well, according to the council, it had “the aim of encouraging modes of transport other than cars”. You may then wonder why the workers of Watford Business Park were singled out for such an expensive programme of encouragement. Possibly because it fulfilled criteria of being a destination that is only really accessible by road with an infrequent and expensive bus service?

But with the county council cutting bus subsidies, they cannot be suggesting that as a credible alternative to cars. So this seems an initiative purely aimed at shoving commuters out of their cars onto their bikes.

Personally, I live too far to cycle (and I live closer than many of my colleagues) and ever-increasing prices on the trains and buses combined are more expensive than running my small, fuel-efficient, low-emission car.

And that’s not even taking into account the unreliability of public transport, as regularly moaned about by our MP.

If politicians are really concerned about reducing car journeys, they need to make public transport effective and affordable instead of indulging in green tokenism.

The upshot of the current ingenious strategy appears to be to leave most of Watford’s main roads in a parlous state for cyclists while turning Watford Business Park into an unused Olympic velodrome.

Comments (11)

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3:11pm Tue 10 Jun 14

oddjobman says...

A bus service free at the point of use, and fairly frequent, might persuade me to leave the car at home sometimes. As a lifelong cyclist I know that cycling to work may not be possible all the time. It was my policy to drive to work if it was raining at the time I was leaving, otherwise jump on the bike. My commute was only 5 miles each way.
A bus service free at the point of use, and fairly frequent, might persuade me to leave the car at home sometimes. As a lifelong cyclist I know that cycling to work may not be possible all the time. It was my policy to drive to work if it was raining at the time I was leaving, otherwise jump on the bike. My commute was only 5 miles each way. oddjobman
  • Score: 3

4:17pm Tue 10 Jun 14

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

How dare anyone drive a car in a LibDem town like Watford?

The writing was on the wall during the elections. We in UKIP said we would reverse the anti-car moves by the LibDems in Watford and the County Council.

It would seem our political masters believe cars are the enemy in Watford and drivers must be driven out of the town (pardon the pun).

Anyone who doesn't like what is happening to drivers should recognise that UKIP is the only party that does not believe in driving people from their cars. Most drivers would agree with us on that.
How dare anyone drive a car in a LibDem town like Watford? The writing was on the wall during the elections. We in UKIP said we would reverse the anti-car moves by the LibDems in Watford and the County Council. It would seem our political masters believe cars are the enemy in Watford and drivers must be driven out of the town (pardon the pun). Anyone who doesn't like what is happening to drivers should recognise that UKIP is the only party that does not believe in driving people from their cars. Most drivers would agree with us on that. Phil Cox (UKIP)
  • Score: -6

8:23pm Tue 10 Jun 14

WatfordAlex says...

Phil Cox (UKIP) wrote:
How dare anyone drive a car in a LibDem town like Watford?

The writing was on the wall during the elections. We in UKIP said we would reverse the anti-car moves by the LibDems in Watford and the County Council.

It would seem our political masters believe cars are the enemy in Watford and drivers must be driven out of the town (pardon the pun).

Anyone who doesn't like what is happening to drivers should recognise that UKIP is the only party that does not believe in driving people from their cars. Most drivers would agree with us on that.
You never learn do you Phil. This is a County Council scheme, so even if you had taken over the Borough Council, you still would no be able to influence it one iota.

Your right on one thing - your manifesto did look like it had been written by Jeremy Clarkson, but you are clearly still in denial. The voters saw what you were offering and comprehensively rejected you. You lost every seat and scrapped third in the Mayoral election.

As most voters in Watford have a driving license (even if they don't drive all the time) you are epicly wrong to say that 'most drivers agree with us' as if they did then you would not have lost the elections so badly.
[quote][p][bold]Phil Cox (UKIP)[/bold] wrote: How dare anyone drive a car in a LibDem town like Watford? The writing was on the wall during the elections. We in UKIP said we would reverse the anti-car moves by the LibDems in Watford and the County Council. It would seem our political masters believe cars are the enemy in Watford and drivers must be driven out of the town (pardon the pun). Anyone who doesn't like what is happening to drivers should recognise that UKIP is the only party that does not believe in driving people from their cars. Most drivers would agree with us on that.[/p][/quote]You never learn do you Phil. This is a County Council scheme, so even if you had taken over the Borough Council, you still would no be able to influence it one iota. Your right on one thing - your manifesto did look like it had been written by Jeremy Clarkson, but you are clearly still in denial. The voters saw what you were offering and comprehensively rejected you. You lost every seat and scrapped third in the Mayoral election. As most voters in Watford have a driving license (even if they don't drive all the time) you are epicly wrong to say that 'most drivers agree with us' as if they did then you would not have lost the elections so badly. WatfordAlex
  • Score: 11

8:31pm Tue 10 Jun 14

WatfordAlex says...

Not the greatest article in history. The author complains that cycle lanes are unnecessary as few people cycle on the street but he must surely know that research shows that people are put off cycling... by the lack of cycle lanes. Therefore, to encourage more cycling you have to put the infrastructure in first.

The tired old line of 'I live too far away from X so why expect anyone to cycle' just shows a complete lack of imagination. Granted that you may live too far away to cycle, but that doesn't mean that hundreds of others do as well.

Also, you might not have a problem with cars blocking pavements, but if you are in a wheelchair, are pushing a buggy, have other mobility issues etc then a blocked pavement is a big deal.

Disappointingly small minded article.
Not the greatest article in history. The author complains that cycle lanes are unnecessary as few people cycle on the street but he must surely know that research shows that people are put off cycling... by the lack of cycle lanes. Therefore, to encourage more cycling you have to put the infrastructure in first. The tired old line of 'I live too far away from X so why expect anyone to cycle' just shows a complete lack of imagination. Granted that you may live too far away to cycle, but that doesn't mean that hundreds of others do as well. Also, you might not have a problem with cars blocking pavements, but if you are in a wheelchair, are pushing a buggy, have other mobility issues etc then a blocked pavement is a big deal. Disappointingly small minded article. WatfordAlex
  • Score: 10

8:37pm Tue 10 Jun 14

Cuetip says...

Well done Mike Wright but will the people wake up or do they feel that it is too difficult to push the crap down and besides you can’t polish it.

Sadly dysfunctionalism lies at the heart of this institutional disorder.
At the very highest level, public administration deals, in theory, with optimizing ends (what do we all want and need) with ways (how can we best achieve our ends) and means (how do we pay for the capabilities and behaviors that lead the the achievement of our ends).

Dysfunctionalism is distinct from corruption in that it encompasses all the good people with the best of intentions who are doing the wrong things, at great expense, because they do not know any better and their political elite are totally corrupt and totally divorced from the actual needs and desires of the public. The elite do not see the public as “We” but rather as farm animals (useful) and also “useless eaters” (Henry Kissinger’s term) who are best exploited.
Well done Mike Wright but will the people wake up or do they feel that it is too difficult to push the crap down and besides you can’t polish it. Sadly dysfunctionalism lies at the heart of this institutional disorder. At the very highest level, public administration deals, in theory, with optimizing ends (what do we all want and need) with ways (how can we best achieve our ends) and means (how do we pay for the capabilities and behaviors that lead the the achievement of our ends). Dysfunctionalism is distinct from corruption in that it encompasses all the good people with the best of intentions who are doing the wrong things, at great expense, because they do not know any better and their political elite are totally corrupt and totally divorced from the actual needs and desires of the public. The elite do not see the public as “We” but rather as farm animals (useful) and also “useless eaters” (Henry Kissinger’s term) who are best exploited. Cuetip
  • Score: -3

10:17pm Tue 10 Jun 14

Sara says...

When I was in a wheelchair for eight months, I learned just how dangerous pavement parking can be. Being low down in a wheelchair in the road makes you more vulnerable, and having to go up and down pavements is tiring with cut downs and impossible without.
When I was in a wheelchair for eight months, I learned just how dangerous pavement parking can be. Being low down in a wheelchair in the road makes you more vulnerable, and having to go up and down pavements is tiring with cut downs and impossible without. Sara
  • Score: 9

8:22am Wed 11 Jun 14

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

WatfordAlex wrote:
Phil Cox (UKIP) wrote: How dare anyone drive a car in a LibDem town like Watford? The writing was on the wall during the elections. We in UKIP said we would reverse the anti-car moves by the LibDems in Watford and the County Council. It would seem our political masters believe cars are the enemy in Watford and drivers must be driven out of the town (pardon the pun). Anyone who doesn't like what is happening to drivers should recognise that UKIP is the only party that does not believe in driving people from their cars. Most drivers would agree with us on that.
You never learn do you Phil. This is a County Council scheme, so even if you had taken over the Borough Council, you still would no be able to influence it one iota. Your right on one thing - your manifesto did look like it had been written by Jeremy Clarkson, but you are clearly still in denial. The voters saw what you were offering and comprehensively rejected you. You lost every seat and scrapped third in the Mayoral election. As most voters in Watford have a driving license (even if they don't drive all the time) you are epicly wrong to say that 'most drivers agree with us' as if they did then you would not have lost the elections so badly.
You never cease to amaze me with your misinformation, WatfordAlex.

Tell me, WatfordAlex, what interest does Watford Council have in this site?

Also, I hope I am not the only one to notice your selective quoting misses out key words that change the meaning of the quote. I said, quite clearly, most drivers would agree with us on that. The "on that" rather changes your deliberate misquote.

What a shame politicians have to resort to such phoney measures as deliberately misquoting people to give a false impression and posting under phoney pseudonyms to hide their identity. Some voters might think that rather dishonest, which is quite possibly why the LibDems are languishing nationally on 6% of the vote. WatfordAlex is doing his best to ensure that Watford joins in the decline by his actions.

On a seperate note, I am pleased you believe Jeremy Clarkson believes that 30mph is a good overall national urban speed limit and that there should be parking spaces for the people of Watford to park their cars in and also that we should not be forcing people from their cars by car-unfriendly measures being introduced. What a rascal that Jeremy is, eh? Such a rebel!
[quote][p][bold]WatfordAlex[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Phil Cox (UKIP)[/bold] wrote: How dare anyone drive a car in a LibDem town like Watford? The writing was on the wall during the elections. We in UKIP said we would reverse the anti-car moves by the LibDems in Watford and the County Council. It would seem our political masters believe cars are the enemy in Watford and drivers must be driven out of the town (pardon the pun). Anyone who doesn't like what is happening to drivers should recognise that UKIP is the only party that does not believe in driving people from their cars. Most drivers would agree with us on that.[/p][/quote]You never learn do you Phil. This is a County Council scheme, so even if you had taken over the Borough Council, you still would no be able to influence it one iota. Your right on one thing - your manifesto did look like it had been written by Jeremy Clarkson, but you are clearly still in denial. The voters saw what you were offering and comprehensively rejected you. You lost every seat and scrapped third in the Mayoral election. As most voters in Watford have a driving license (even if they don't drive all the time) you are epicly wrong to say that 'most drivers agree with us' as if they did then you would not have lost the elections so badly.[/p][/quote]You never cease to amaze me with your misinformation, WatfordAlex. Tell me, WatfordAlex, what interest does Watford Council have in this site? Also, I hope I am not the only one to notice your selective quoting misses out key words that change the meaning of the quote. I said, quite clearly, most drivers would agree with us on that. The "on that" rather changes your deliberate misquote. What a shame politicians have to resort to such phoney measures as deliberately misquoting people to give a false impression and posting under phoney pseudonyms to hide their identity. Some voters might think that rather dishonest, which is quite possibly why the LibDems are languishing nationally on 6% of the vote. WatfordAlex is doing his best to ensure that Watford joins in the decline by his actions. On a seperate note, I am pleased you believe Jeremy Clarkson believes that 30mph is a good overall national urban speed limit and that there should be parking spaces for the people of Watford to park their cars in and also that we should not be forcing people from their cars by car-unfriendly measures being introduced. What a rascal that Jeremy is, eh? Such a rebel! Phil Cox (UKIP)
  • Score: -12

8:24am Wed 11 Jun 14

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

WatfordAlex wrote:
Not the greatest article in history. The author complains that cycle lanes are unnecessary as few people cycle on the street but he must surely know that research shows that people are put off cycling... by the lack of cycle lanes. Therefore, to encourage more cycling you have to put the infrastructure in first. The tired old line of 'I live too far away from X so why expect anyone to cycle' just shows a complete lack of imagination. Granted that you may live too far away to cycle, but that doesn't mean that hundreds of others do as well. Also, you might not have a problem with cars blocking pavements, but if you are in a wheelchair, are pushing a buggy, have other mobility issues etc then a blocked pavement is a big deal. Disappointingly small minded article.
Where LibDem town planning theory and reality clash, WatfordAlex is the car crash victim.

WatfordAlex is showing great imagination as he says. What a shame it bears no resemblance to real peoples lives. LibDemLaLaLand at its finest.
[quote][p][bold]WatfordAlex[/bold] wrote: Not the greatest article in history. The author complains that cycle lanes are unnecessary as few people cycle on the street but he must surely know that research shows that people are put off cycling... by the lack of cycle lanes. Therefore, to encourage more cycling you have to put the infrastructure in first. The tired old line of 'I live too far away from X so why expect anyone to cycle' just shows a complete lack of imagination. Granted that you may live too far away to cycle, but that doesn't mean that hundreds of others do as well. Also, you might not have a problem with cars blocking pavements, but if you are in a wheelchair, are pushing a buggy, have other mobility issues etc then a blocked pavement is a big deal. Disappointingly small minded article.[/p][/quote]Where LibDem town planning theory and reality clash, WatfordAlex is the car crash victim. WatfordAlex is showing great imagination as he says. What a shame it bears no resemblance to real peoples lives. LibDemLaLaLand at its finest. Phil Cox (UKIP)
  • Score: -9

8:31am Wed 11 Jun 14

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

Hey, WatfordAlex. Here's something you may not have considered.

What if people want to use their cars to travel to work? What then?

How about the LibDems and Greens show the way, you all give up and sell your cars as an example to everyone else? Then we can decide whether to follow your example or not. Lead by example WatfordAlex, don't have this "one rule for us, one rule for them" mentality. People do not respect being told what to do by politicians who have no intention of following their own dictats.
Hey, WatfordAlex. Here's something you may not have considered. What if people want to use their cars to travel to work? What then? How about the LibDems and Greens show the way, you all give up and sell your cars as an example to everyone else? Then we can decide whether to follow your example or not. Lead by example WatfordAlex, don't have this "one rule for us, one rule for them" mentality. People do not respect being told what to do by politicians who have no intention of following their own dictats. Phil Cox (UKIP)
  • Score: -9

6:23pm Wed 11 Jun 14

WatfordAlex says...

Three posts Phil, clearly I hit a nerve. If people need to drive to work then they still can. In your bizarre little world the County Council painting some cycle lanes equates to a ban on car driving. It doesn't.

Personally I don't own a car, although it's none of your business as I am not a politician. Similarly, the performance of the Lib Dems nationally is as relevant to my ridiculing of your posts as the price of cheese in Sweden, as I'm not a member of any political party.

I didn't misquote you at all. You said most drivers agree would agree with you, so I pointed out that your lack of electoral success would suggest otherwise. You could commission one of your beloved opinion polls to prove me wrong though!

Jeremy Clarkson is a talented presenter, but his climate change denial, 'run over hippies on bikes' shtick is just an act. The tragedy is you seriously believe in that sort of thing.
Three posts Phil, clearly I hit a nerve. If people need to drive to work then they still can. In your bizarre little world the County Council painting some cycle lanes equates to a ban on car driving. It doesn't. Personally I don't own a car, although it's none of your business as I am not a politician. Similarly, the performance of the Lib Dems nationally is as relevant to my ridiculing of your posts as the price of cheese in Sweden, as I'm not a member of any political party. I didn't misquote you at all. You said most drivers agree would agree with you, so I pointed out that your lack of electoral success would suggest otherwise. You could commission one of your beloved opinion polls to prove me wrong though! Jeremy Clarkson is a talented presenter, but his climate change denial, 'run over hippies on bikes' shtick is just an act. The tragedy is you seriously believe in that sort of thing. WatfordAlex
  • Score: 7

7:29pm Wed 11 Jun 14

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

WatfordAlex wrote:
Three posts Phil, clearly I hit a nerve. If people need to drive to work then they still can. In your bizarre little world the County Council painting some cycle lanes equates to a ban on car driving. It doesn't. Personally I don't own a car, although it's none of your business as I am not a politician. Similarly, the performance of the Lib Dems nationally is as relevant to my ridiculing of your posts as the price of cheese in Sweden, as I'm not a member of any political party. I didn't misquote you at all. You said most drivers agree would agree with you, so I pointed out that your lack of electoral success would suggest otherwise. You could commission one of your beloved opinion polls to prove me wrong though! Jeremy Clarkson is a talented presenter, but his climate change denial, 'run over hippies on bikes' shtick is just an act. The tragedy is you seriously believe in that sort of thing.
WatfordAlex,


Have you ever thought of sticking to the truth without twisting or distorting it in some way?
[quote][p][bold]WatfordAlex[/bold] wrote: Three posts Phil, clearly I hit a nerve. If people need to drive to work then they still can. In your bizarre little world the County Council painting some cycle lanes equates to a ban on car driving. It doesn't. Personally I don't own a car, although it's none of your business as I am not a politician. Similarly, the performance of the Lib Dems nationally is as relevant to my ridiculing of your posts as the price of cheese in Sweden, as I'm not a member of any political party. I didn't misquote you at all. You said most drivers agree would agree with you, so I pointed out that your lack of electoral success would suggest otherwise. You could commission one of your beloved opinion polls to prove me wrong though! Jeremy Clarkson is a talented presenter, but his climate change denial, 'run over hippies on bikes' shtick is just an act. The tragedy is you seriously believe in that sort of thing.[/p][/quote]WatfordAlex, Have you ever thought of sticking to the truth without twisting or distorting it in some way? Phil Cox (UKIP)
  • Score: -7

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