Letter: Gridlocked

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The Independent Online
GEOFFREY LEAN'S valuable report on the future of the car ('End of a love affair', 30 January) is surprisingly kind to Colin Buchanan.

What Mr Buchanan advocated in Traffic in Towns was certainly not environmentally benign. 'Recreating the urban environment in a vigorous and lively way' in fact meant building grids of motorways in all our cities. Oxford Street was to be a six-lane throughway, with no pedestrians or shops at ground level. 'Getting the most out of the motor' was one of Mr Buchanan's vigorous and lively themes.

Even as late as 1979 (when a first round of 'recreating' had proved a disaster in various cities), Colin Buchanan said the cancellation of inner-ring motorways for London had been 'the greatest tragedy'.

Today he laments that 'not much has been achieved' as a result of Traffic in Towns. In his new book, I Told You So, will he be reaffirming his case for urban motorways? Geoffrey Lean should have asked him.

John Wardroper

London N1