Labour had run the council (RBC) for decades, and have a history of spending far too much money on road schemes that don't work. This culminated in the disastrous one-way IRD scheme which helped bring them down. Almost everyone in Reading was against it, just a few Labour stalwarts on the losing side. People were against it for a variety of reasons, speaking for the Greens we want money spent on more sustainable transport, buses, trains, pedestrians and cyclists.
The local Conservatives campaigned in the local elections to change traffic lights into roundabouts. To me its like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, the problems are deeper; we need to get people out of cars. However some people thought this was a fine idea and supported the Tories.
So its with some surprise that one junction, the Shinfield Road Traffic Scheme, has just has some new traffic lights. In its first week it seems a disaster, the traffic grinds to a halt, many people are complaining, there is talk of bus passengers turning to cars to avoid the junction.
Tory spokesman Cllr Richard Willis says:
Since the traffic lights were switched on there have been increased delays, partly resulting from initial problems with the lights themselves and partly from continued works being undertaken in the area.
He says that he inherited this from Labour, and it would have been too difficult to change it. He announced a comprehensive review of the scheme including the traffic-lighted junctions in six months time, so those who voted for him will be very disappointed he is choosing to stick with Labours plans rather than his own.
When I said this to him on his blog, he responded that I was supporting Labour! He does seem confused.
The contract was let and the works started under Labour’s control and before we took over. Under those circumstances it is very difficult or impossible just to stop the scheme as people wanted.
I responded saying "Blaming Lab or saying its difficult is like saying you cant cope." Why does he not have the courage to do what he promised before the election?
He responds "I suggest that if the Greens wish to be taken seriously you resume your previous constructive opposition and stop parroting Labour’s tired lines and providing them with cover for decisions they took while in office."
But he is the one sticking with Labours policies. Once more its the Greens that are effectively the opposition to the big parties.