Traffic in QT image credit ODT


Gridlock: we’re all part of the problem; we have to be part of the solution

July 26 2021 by John Glover

Gridlock: we’re all part of the problem; we have to be part of the solution

We sit in stationary traffic, seething. Kids miss exams because their bus is late for school. The delivery truck can’t make its’ schedule so three trucks split the round instead. You stand shocked at the bus stop when the half empty bus drives by because it’s running so late it doesn’t have time to stop. Your staff are late for their shift. Your customers are late for their reservation. You miss the start of the movie. Arguments on the way about leaving enough time. Kids crying. Living the dream.

‘Someone has to fix this’ you scream to anyone who will listen. Guess what? There’s no ‘someone’. No one’s coming. And it will get worse. The utopian vision of vertical take off Uber air is still a good while away.

In this District we have perfected the ability to expect everyone else to solve our problems and then to dismiss any solutions as unworkable because our ‘issues’ are so unique. We are eager to offer our own response to problems, as long we don’t actually have to personally implement them. Experts in justifying why we can’t change our behaviour.
But until we start to change our mindset and start to think about how else we might get around and change how we make our journeys, the problem will just get bigger and bigger and no amount of money that we might want to throw at it will make it go away - even if there was the money in the first place, which there isn’t. 

Like many present day issues, the enormity of the problemleaves us feeling overwhelmed. It’s just too big to tackle on an individual basis. It won’t make any difference.

And therein lies the solution. If a large number of people just make a tiny change in what they do, it collectively makes a big impact. It’s not ‘someone’s’ job to fix this. It’s ours.

Just what would it take for us to:-  not make the journey in the first place/carpool/stagger start times/walk/bus/bike/ferry/zoom meet/phone/use home deliveries/shop on line? Try it. Just once. Maybe the sky won’t fall on your head.
Of course the alternatives have to be reasonable, convenient, affordable, safe and we need to pin down what investment in improved services or facilities is going to have the greatest impact in enabling us to comfortably ditch the car or change how we get people and things around the place.

So this week is a good time, as the school run rush grinds us to a halt, to ask two very powerful but simple questions. “What would it take?” and “How would that look?”

John Glover
Secretary – Shaping our Future Inc.

Shaping our Future have a community led workshop on these issues on Thursday, 5pm at Remarkables Park High School

- John Glover