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Who owns the roads?
13th January 2016 @ 19:30 - 21:30
This is an external event organised by Newcastle Sceptics in the Pub. You can find out more about the event:
Welcome to Gridlock Britain. Motorists get stuck in traffic jams not because of lots and lots of people in cars but because of medieval road systems, slow-poke cyclists, and militant pedestrians. But fret not, the Tory Government has a cunning plan – it’s going to build more roads.
If you’re sceptical about the Chancellor’s £15 billion road-building frenzy you’ll enjoy this thought-provoking and, at times, controversial talk by author and journalist Carlton Reid. He will explain that, in the words of an 1950s American urbanist, “building more roads to prevent congestion is like a fat man loosening his belt to prevent obesity.”
Carlton Reid writes for The Guardian and is the author of Roads Were Not Built For Cars, a highway history book that shows how it was bolshy middle-class cyclists in the 1880s who brought roads back into mainstream use, and it was these high-society pedal-pushers who went on to use cycle technology to create motoring, and who founded most of the world’s car brands. (Yup, cyclists *are* to blame for traffic congestion!)
Originally funded by a four-times-oversubscribed Kickstarter campaign, Reid’s book was later picked up by an American publisher, a specialist in books about climate change. While much of the climate-change debate revolves around the burning of dirty coal it’s less well understood that our love affair with motoring is also killing us (sometimes brutally). Cities around the world are waking up to the fact that the age of the private motor car is coming to an end. Think driving around the centre of Newcastle is hard? That’s increasingly being done by design, and it’s going to get harder.
Our driving habits are already changing – plugged-in Millennials drive less than previous generations – but they will have to change even more. Electric cars won’t solve congestion, and driverless cars are far from a radical solution (they’re glorified taxis). If we value our mobility we’re going to have to repurpose our roads.
This is a free event, although donations to help fund Newcastle Skeptics in the Pub events are appreciated. We suggest £3, or whatever you can afford. Seats are limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis.