Letter: Change is key to motor car gridlock

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The Independent Online
Sir: The excellent paper by Friends of the Earth and Christian Wolmar (report, 19 August), and John Prescott's invitation to contribute to ideas for developing an integrated transport policy (report, 22 August), are welcome and long overdue.

The reaction of the motoring organisations is generally cautiously welcoming but the screams of anguish from three-car families (mother from Guildford - ``I love my Mercedes'' - report, 22 August) and the Association of British Drivers (Letters, 22 August) - ``to be able to travel at will is a vital freedom'' are sad.

Do not pedestrians, cyclists and those who do not own cars have equal rights to highway space and to reliable, safe and cost-effective public transport?

The fact that there is not enough road space for everyone and that the message is loud and clear from the Government: ``We are not against you owning cars, but we must consider constraining use, particularly where there is congestion, to enable better use of the road space for everyone, and so that buses and other priority users may have some chance of providing a reliable service.''

Of course there are essential car users, but how many of the drivers entering and leaving cities in the rush hour or belting around the M25 really need their cars for "work" on a particular day? Are they not just making use of that valuable perk, the free office car park?

Perhaps they should try public transport, lobby for its improvement and, if necessary, plan to alter their lifestyle before they are forced to do so by gridlock.

BERKELEY

House of Lords

London SW1

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