road tolls

I’ve always considered the taxman as being like the housewife, who demands more housekeeping money to cover the rising cost of groceries but once the money is in her purse, goes shopping for shoes.
The money grabbed from motorists by the taxman has no relevance to the stated intention of building roads to relieve congestion.
It is more or less inevitable that we will have toll roads, whether they be new PFI roads or the implementation of tolls on the present road system. Whether the tolls are collected by Council employees or, more likely, foreign companies with experience in this field.
My main concern is the implementation of toll roads will be accompanied by measures to ensure their success.
In the early years of Labour it was announced that Motorways were to be converted to Toll Roads as part of the European plan to pay for the Galileo GPS scheme.
Although this scheme was put on hold, Councils still went ahead with plans that assumed that  all visiting motorists should be directed onto the motorways, in order to alleviate local congestion and to ensure that toll roads became profitable.
Now, it is rare to find an arterial road, which is signposted for the two cities that it connects. Such signs invariably direct you onto a motorway, instead.
Similarly roads, out of most cities, direct unwary visitors to the nearest motorway slip road, sometimes taking them miles out of their way.
A prime example is presented by our only toll motorway near Birmingham.
Locals know which roundabout exits to avoid but the unwary visitor, in rush hour traffic, taking a simple left turn, finds themselves committed to paying an unnecessary toll fee (yes! two well separated cases), and the feeling that they are on unending carousel ride without any indication of how to achieve their intended local destination.
If toll roads do come (and there’s a profit to be had, so it seems likely) we need to ensure that road signs are helpful for visitors and locals.
In fact, rather than opposing toll roads, we should be opposing the vandalising of local roads with schemes to slow traffic (speed humps, one way systems, chicanes etc.).
We should be requiring that these roads be properly signposted and equipped to ensure fast easy flow of traffic during rush-hour periods.
It’s time for Government and Local Government to plan for traffic movement, instead of wishing that motorists could pay taxes without actually requiring to commute to work.
E.g. why build schools on main roads? Why allow sports stadia and trading estates to be built near town centres? Do Bus Lanes genuinely help relieve congestion or are they merely an attack on motorists? Are bicycle lanes anything more than a waste of green tarmac paint that contributes towards congestion?
Some shops, in City Centres, have bridges across main roads. Why not implement ideas that were around in the 1960’s, whereby, instead of pedestrianising city shopping centres, we separate shops and traffic on two levels, as the do in place such as Salford’s Lowry centre.
I suspect that most Councils such as that in Sheffield, which is about to replace its old Market with a new one, will continue to go for an artistically designed ground level enclosure, which assumes that shoppers will not need transport for themselves or their heavy shopping bags.

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