Thursday, October 29, 2009

Three-lane whip as cars find themselves out in the cold

While controversial plans to pedestrianise the High Street and the town square seem sure to be thrown out, Petersfield Newswire can exclusively reveal that cars are to be banished from the High Street.

In an effort to make the High Street more attractive to residents and visitors to the town - and in a token effort to appear to be concerned about the environment - new lanes were this morning on trial in the town centre.

The High Street was made 'one-way' heading towards the war memorial with three lanes indicated: a bus lane, a cycle lane and a mobility scooter lane - leaving no room whatsoever for cars.

But a spokesman for East Hampshire District Council refuted claims that cars had been banned from the new lay-out in the High Street.

Mel Thpiece explained: "The intention is not to ban cars. They are perfectly at liberty to use the High Street as before; the problem is there is actually nowhere for them to drive.

"The cycle lane is important because we want to encourage as many people as possible to use bikes in order for us to qualify for a Government environmental support grant. Plus I have a share in the only shop in town which sells cycle helmets.

"The demographics of Petersfield's population shows that it has a much higher proportion of old and elderly residents than many other towns and we need to take this into account when planning for 'tomorrow'. That's not just 'tomorrow' as in Friday, you understand; it's a generic term we in bureacracies use for 'the future', just to sound hip and green.

"So the bus lane is essential because we give out tokens and have to justify the promotion and the mobility scooter lane is essential because Petersfield has more mobility scooters per capita than any other town in Western civilisation.

"This will enable the elderly and the infirm to move around Petersfield safely while not getting in the way of everybody else as they do currently. And as a further step to encourage use of the lanes and of our local retail outlets, we are also passing a bylaw which states all shop windows have to be bi-focal to ease the burden on the elderly eyesight.

The new lane lay-out was trialled this morning with some success

"So, as you can see - providing of course, you're looking through a bi-focal window - cars are not being ostracised they are merely being squeezed out, almost literally. There is just no room for them on the High Street. However, the bus lane only operates between 5am and 11pm, so cars are free to use it at any other time."

While the new lay-out was well received by crumblies and mad unwashed hippies, it did not go down well with solid Conservative types like jeweller and haberdasher, Matt Tress. 

"This outrageous!" he stormed. "Why do they take notice of these ridiculous demographic studies? My own ridiculous demographic study shows that people who pointlessly drive massive 4x4s have much more disposable income than those on mobility scooters.

"People on mobility scooters currently serve a useful purpose when they stop in the middle of the road for an arbitary reason. That holds traffic up and allows me to drag people into the jeweller's shop.

"Admittedly they are much more likely to be killed as they are tossed across the square by the bull-bars on a 4x4 than they would be in a specialist lane, but that's a small price to pay for continued capitalism."

Joy Unbridled, 94, a spokesman for Petersfield Elderly Groups in Tandem (PEGIT), said: "I'm 94 you know..."


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