So the new Stubbington bypass has been approved. This must be a relief to the people of Stubbington and to all commuters who find themselves stuck in traffic jams going into, or out of, Stubbington of a morning – or evening.
Hooray, a new road will mean that we can all avoid the jams.
But does it actually mean that? I don’t in any way intend to dismiss the circa £90m being spent on the scheme. Nor do I mean to deny Stubbington what it wants, but what exactly is the point of the bypass?
Let’s have a little moment of big picture thinking. Having a different road is not going to affect the number of cars that clog up Titchfield, or Fareham, or Gosport.
So as soon as we have bypassed Stubbers, we will hit the rest of the jam, just in a different area.
And then, as the numbers of cars on the roads increases, the money will, I suspect, simply create additional parking around the Stubbington area at certain times of day – though no-one will be getting out of their cars to enjoy the scenery.
Here’s a thought. What if we said no to any more road improvements or changes and instead put the money into alternative means of transport?
What about subsidising the buses to a point where people would be foolish not to use them? And then buying buses with bike racks so that people could cycle one way to work and catch a bus home with their bike if they didn’t fancy a long ride late at night?
How about trains, or trams, where the costs make it a realistic alternative to taking the car? How about making the Gosport ferry free?
At some point we’ll have to say ‘stop’. There simply won’t be enough room on the roads for all of the cars.
Then we’ll be completely gridlocked, never to move another vehicle again.
Let’s prevent that happening now by stopping building more space for cars and instead coming up with creative ways to decrease car use.
Surely with all the technology we have at our fingertips and all the creative talent in this country, we can invent ourselves out of our roads turning into one giant traffic jam?