Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Woman Who Stops Traffic, tonight at 9pm on Channel 4

In this compelling new three-part series Kris visits two towns and a city – Marlow, Boston and Durham. Each is a traffic black-spot. Can Kris persuade people her idea of going car free for just one day a week is a runner?

Professional trouble-shooter and creative problem solver, Kris Murrin is on a mission to stop traffic for just one day in three of England's most congested locations. King Canute tried to stop the tide rising, but Kris has to convince local councils to get behind her campaign and then change the behaviour of car users who rely on their vehicles to get from A to B daily.

Kris's journey starts in the Buckinghamshire town of Marlow, where car ownership is one of the highest in the country. Her aim is to get one in five cars off the roads to simultaneously promote healthier lifestyles and encourage a greener way of life.

She is no stranger to challenging situations and has canoed down the Amazon, climbed to the base camp on Everest and competed in some of the toughest yacht races in the world. But Kris has got her work cut out trying to convince parents to ditch their cars for the school run here.

Kris' second challenge lies in the Lincolnshire town of Boston, where road traffic is already a serious issue and obesity rates are the worst in the country. Boston is a town whose council is dominated by 'Boston Bypass Independents' rather than main party politicians, so how will Kris persuade the locals to give up their cars for the day?

Kris' journey concludes in the City of Durham, where she is encouraged by the enthusiasm of the local council. They already provide several services to get the residents of Durham walking, cycling and using public transport and Kris hopes to build on this positive car-free thinking.

Can Kris change the motoring habits of road users in Marlow, Boston and Durham? Watch The Woman Who Stops Traffic, Channel 4, Tuesday 26 February 9pm.

- Channel 4: The Woman Who Stops Traffic

Update (11/02): The final part, about Durham, is on tonight at 9pm.


Brian Vigurs said...

Brilliant ! Invite her to Darlington ASAP.

An Inconvenient Truth said...

Unfortunately missed Tuesday's episode, but will watch next week.

I did, however, get a report from someone involved in the Durham episode, who told me that the exercise was a total flop - there were more cars than usual that day because of an accident on the A1(M)!

It will be interesting see what the take is on that in the actual programme.

Why did they not choose Darlo in the first place? The only town in the UK with both Cycle Demo and Sustainable Travel money to help make it less car dependent?

I just hope this programme is not all spin like the government's approach to these issues....

miketually said...

It looks like Marlow and Boston were chosen because they have real traffic problems and also a statistical "hook" - (one of the) highest rate of car ownership for Marlow and an obesity problem for Boston.

I'm not sure why Durham was chosen; perhaps because of the toll road?

Cllr. Mark Burton said...

Not about your topic... but; My works are offering me a bike (it’s a tax thing). I can go pick one up to the value of £400. I’m looking at this ‘Claudbutler’ road bike from Bikesport... as it’s also in the sales. But as I’ve never had a bike since I was 12 I’m a bit lost off... would you buy a road bike or a mountain bike these days?

cllr. mark burton said...

PS... couod you add my site to your links ;)


miketually said...

I would buy a road bike, but that's because I already have three mountain bikes :)

It depends upon what you want to use it for.

Obviously, if you want to ride it off-road don't buy a road bike. If you're riding on the road, but in traffic, a mountain bike generally gives a more upright position and lets you see better, it'll also survive hitting potholes much better than a road bike.

If you're looking for a bike for getting about town on, you should seriously look at getting a really sensible bike with mudguards, a chainguard and maybe a rack or a basket. One with built-in lights would be even better. They're not as 'cool' as a mountain bike, but they're much more practical and mean you don't have to worry about remembering lights or tucking in your trouser leg.

miketually said...

I've added the link as "Harrowgate Hill". Would you prefer a "Cllr Mark Burton (Lab)", like the others?

cllr. mark burton said...

Thanks Mike... and yes plese ;)

An Inconvenient Truth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
An Inconvenient Truth said...

Just to add to Mike's comments about choice of bike for Mark...I have considerable experience of cycling in bike-friendly countries, and find the psychological approach to using a bike important in your choice - essentially to what extent do you want to fight with the traffic (sport attitude) or relax (Dutch bike attitude).

It's easier in this country to do the former, more difficult to survive with the latter attitude. In bike-friendly countries it tends to be the opposite. I would say if you want to make a political point about your daily travelling, go for a City Bike (European for road bike) and cycle in a suit and tie.

Just a thought.....

cllr. mark burton said...

Thanks for that. I’ll be popping into the bike shops down town this weekend.

cllr. mark burton said...

Went around the shops in Darlington on Saturday, but the £400 allowance didn’t really go far... and ended up with one for £550 called a Specialized ALLEZ http://www.bikesportltd.co.uk/product.aspx?id=436 so hopefully (on nice days) you’ll see me zipping (gasping for breath) up and down North Road to attend meetings at the Town Hall. Just need to scout out where I can lock it up and feel confident that when I return... it will still be there.

Mind you, I’ve probably got more to worry about my two teenage sons taking it for a spin up the five arches and it falling apart :0

An Inconvenient Truth said...

Good Luck, Mark. When we attended the Cycle Forum at the Town Hall the other day, we were advised by the guy at reception to lock our bikes to the rail at the entrance, rather than to the stands in the forecourt, as he'd seen some lads trying to steal a bike a few days before.

He can monitor the rails from his desk. Maybe you will be a spur to getting more secure bike parking at the Town Hall!