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Taxe de stationnement, did you say?

July 9, 2009

We have come across a French public forum where the bike parking tax in Westminster has been the subject of a debate. We say public forum, because it has not yet been shut down by Councillor Danny Chalkley and we hope that by exposing it on here, he won’t jump on the occasion to impose legal threats on it, like he did a few months ago on the official and public forum run by the No To Bike Parking Tax campaign.

Anyway, we think that it’s always interesting to open our eyes and ears to the views and opinions of other European citizens, as we are supposed to work all together and support each other, aren’t we? After all, democracy is a legal concept in Europe, although Westminster have decided to stand a little bit on the rebellion side when it comes to democracy. And no, we are not making it up, we have found this French forum and can substantiate it, unlike Councillor Susie Burbridge with her French report, that she has never been able to substantiate and which, according to her, states that “motorcycles, even small ones, pollute more than Hummers”.

Below are a few quotes (in French and translated into English) from this forum:-

“Si je comprends qu’on puisse vouloir faire payer le stationnement des voitures (encombrement, nombre…), ça me semble idiot de faire payer les motos, vu que la place prise par ces véhicules est bien plus faible, et qu’ils contribuent donc au désengorgement de ces villes”

“Although it makes sense to charge cars for parking (congestion, numbers…), it’s ridiculous to make bikes pay, given that they take much less space and contribute to reducing city road congestion”.

“Tout est bon pour se faire du fric”.

“Anything is a good excuse to grab some more dough”.

“Bientôt les piétons devront aussi avoir une plaque d’immatriculation et si tu traverses pas quand le piéton est vert ou en dehors des clous ou si tu marches trop vite sur le trottoir, tu seras flashé. En cas de trop nombreux flashs, ton permis piéton sera suspendu voire annulé”.

“Pedestrians will soon need to carry a registration plate and if one doesn’t cross the road when the pedestrian sign is green, or crosses the road outside the predestrian crossings zone, or else if one walks too fast, they’ll be flashed. In case one has been flashed too many times, their pedestrian licence will be taken away from them or even cancelled”.

“(…) Quitte a se faire chier en vélo (vent, pluie, décoiffé, costume sale) et payer pour stationner, autant reprendre la bagnole. Bravo les incitations”.

“Why bloody bother taking the bike (wind, rain, messed up hair, dirty suit) and pay to park, it’s best to revert to cars. Great initiative!”.

(UKFRANCE note: the writer of this comment was confused and thought Westminster was stealth taxing bicycles to park, although we are sure they are considering the option, but the principle of this comment is still relevant).

The bit that really concerns us is this very last comment which implies that, once bikes have to pay to park, then it’s best to revert to cars. And in fact, we think that the writer is making a very good point. Westminster Council, by stealth taxing motorcyclists to park, show that they simply don’t recognise the positive impact of bikes on road congestion, air pollution and the many advantages offered by a low cost mode of transport, especially in a period of economic recession.

In the Westminster dictionary, a bike is a car, so why not reverting to cars after all, pollute the environment and increase road congestion? Conservative Councillor Susie Burbridge, during the 31st March 2009 scrutiny committee meeting, was promoting the green aspects of transport policy while she herself enjoys the benefit of free parking in the borough of Westminster! Did she not say that green issues were very important? Yes she did, and going green, in her opinion, seems to consist of using her car as much as she can to make her free parking permit worthwhile.

But Susie is not the only Councillor at Westminster City Hall who supports cars. Her parking colleagues, managed by Conservative Councillor Danny Chalkley, have decided to allow visitors to park their cars in resident bays between 10am and 4pm which, inevitably has the continued effect of increasing pollution, road congestion and, most importantly, bringing more money to recover £17 million taken from tax payers and invested in now failed Icelandic banks. £1 a day taken from bikers is not enough, especially as it keeps snowing all the time over the bike parking signs, even in the middle of the summer!

So here is a slogan which we think would suit Westminster very well:

WELCOME TO WESTMINSTER, THE ONLY CITY IN THE WORLD THAT PROMOTES AIR POLLUTION AND ROAD CONGESTION! CARS, COME IN AND BIKES, STAY AWAY!

 

Please join and support the campaign to get the bike parking tax in Westminster scrapped before it spreads all over the UK and the European Union. Visit http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

Soutenez et participez a la campagne dont la mission est de forcer la mairie de Westminster a supprimer la taxe de stationnement des deux-roues avant que le concept ne se propage a travers le Royaume-Uni et l’Union Europeenne. Consultez http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

 

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