Cycle theft reaches over 200,000!

The BBC has the article on its website – see link below:-

www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-50946871

On one level this is a bizarre story to me because as a regular cyclist I’ve never even been tempted to use a shared bike/city hire bike or whatever you wish to call them. They are often heavy and cumbersome, which I suppose they have to be to survive long on the open street and so that they are not likely theft targets. Yet it seems they are very much theft targets!

Quote from the article – ‘Police in Manchester were called to more than 400 incidents involving Mobikes between July 2017 and August 2018. Of the crimes, 124 were listed under “criminal damage and arson offences”. There were a further 87 bicycle thefts.’

Me in my cycling gear

Cycling, like trams and railways, is the transport of our future yet we haven’t yet found a good business model for these shared bikes and neither do we have anything like the required infrastructure for safe cycling in the vast majority of UK towns and cities – York being a rather obvious exception of course.

My own view is that, like with the cars, cycles will be far more owned than rented/shared in the future although thefts of them will always be a problem.

2019 in 12 postings – And what a sad year for progressives

2019 must go down in politics as a really sad year for anyone who describes themselves as a progressive. That the UK has become more isolationist and racist is regretfully a given but for me as a passionate internationalist our frankly bizarre decision to become at best semi-detached from our European neighbours both economically and politically is profoundly depressing. I’m reminded of the play ‘Brick up the Mersey Tunnel’ as 2019 could easily be the start of us, at least in the abstract, bricking up the Channel Tunnel.

Anyway here’s my year; some big issues, some matters close to my heart and some personal reflections:-

January – Elected Mayors – too many and too costly tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/01/20/metro-mayor-tax-another-call-on-your-pocket/

February – Why we have a housing crisis on our hands tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/02/20/council-housing-social-housing-housing-associations-whats-gone-wrong-and-why-we-have-a-housing-crisis-on-our-hands/

March – HS2 the Brexit of the railway world tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/03/16/being-anti-hs2-is-a-bit-like-brexit-its-all-about-the-rose-tinted-past/

April – Rotten Boroughstonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/04/23/local-elections-are-rotten-boroughs-creeping-back-into-out-creaking-democracy/

As an aside I still remember a remark made to me on the day that I became Leader of Sefton Council in 2004. It was in the form of a question to me along the lines of ‘what’s the most important thing for the Leader of Sefton Council to do? Answer – Keep the Council out of the ‘Rotten Boroughs’ page of Private Eye!

Michael Portillo with Frank Hornby Trust Chairman Les French as seen on TV.

May – Time to celebrate in 2020 – 100 years of Hornby ‘O’ Gauge trains tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/05/27/maghull-2020-will-be-100-years-since-the-towns-most-famous-resident-brought-his-o-gauge-trains-to-the-market/

June – Still getting the local housing market wrong! tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/06/22/sefton-council-draft-strategic-housing-market-assessment-update-2019/

I realise that the link within the article no longer works

July – Co-option is not democratic, just stop it tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/07/14/melling-theres-a-price-to-pay-for-democracy-but-surely-its-better-than-co-option/

August – Air conditioning in shops and cafes an environmental disaster tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/08/26/supermarkets-cafes-shops-turn-down-or-even-better-turn-off-your-air-conditioning-shut-that-fridge-door/

September – A look back at New Heartlands in Bootle tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/09/04/bootle-newheartlands-pathfinder-housing-initiative-a-look-back/

October – The late great Isaac Hayes with Donald Byrd tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/10/25/isaac-hayes-the-master-jointly-cut-a-track-id-missed-back-in-1981/

Norman Lamb

November – Norman tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/11/06/norman/

December – Tactical voting (by progressives) did not work tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/12/16/why-peoples-vote-and-other-tackical-voting-orgs-sites-got-so-much-wrong/

So that, for me, was 2019 – a year when housing policy/practice remained far removed from the reality of our housing crisis, when the very real crisis of climate change took a back seat to the made up crisis of Brexit and when the crisis within progressive politics was exposed as much by our warped electoral system as by the lack of leadership from progressives. A year to forget unless of course you back the politics of the right and far right…….

Southport – In the era of the trams

I picked up this postcard at Wirral Transport Museum recently and having tracked the same photo down in the book ‘Southport in the age of the tram’ by James Dean & Cedric Greenwood I can say that the authors say this of it:-

Company cars 16 and 11 pass on Lord Street at the junction with Eastbank Street Square about 1907-08. The book credits the photo to the Geoff Price Collection. They go on to say that the neo-Elizabethan timbered building on the right is Lomas’s (later Cannell’s) a high-class fashion store which opened in 1905

Click on the photo/postcard to enlarge it.

Air quality in Sefton Borough

Air pollution has long been known to have a significant detrimental effect on all our lives, indeed it shortens lives.

I decided to have a look in more detail at this matter following Rebecca Hanson bringing the matter to my attention again recently. A good source of information is Sefton Council’s own website and in particular the page linked below:-

www.sefton.gov.uk/environmental-protection/air-quality.aspx

If you follow the links with the one above there’s a wealth of information and detail to plough through.

As a cyclist I probably notice and am more obviously impacted on by diesel particulates as I’m often sat within queuing traffic at junctions and traffic lights. Indeed, I often wonder how some diesel vehicles are still on the road based on what’s coming from their exhaust pipes!

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, why are Maghull’s circular buses not electric? And why for that matter aren’t the Royal Mail’s local delivery vans electric too? Both seem to be obvious, to me at least, for the ditching of diesel engines. I’m sure others could come up with additional examples where the routes are very local – maybe chemists prescription delivery vans, but you get my drift.

Not only is air pollution killing us it’s killing our planet!

MIke & Viv Penn and their recent award

There’s a lovely write up on the front page of this week’s North Liverpool Champion newspaper all about Mike and Viv Penn being nominated for and indeed winning a BBC North West Christmas Star award.

I’ve known Mike for many a year and count him as a friend so I’m delighted that he and Viv have won such a prestigious award for their efforts on behalf of those who are less fortunate. What’s more this award follows one they were given by Rotary quite recently.

I first got to know Mike when we were both governors of Green Park Primary School many years ago and it quickly became apparent to me that Mike was at heart a volunteer who just wanted to help people and his community. As a team Viv and Mike have established a great facility for people with disabilities and what a Christmas present for them to be handed a BBC North West Christmas Star.

Every community has people like Viv and Mike doing their bit to make things better but when when you know them and you have a personal insight into their work it makes you so pleased that they have been recognised for their efforts.

Well done Mike and Viv, we are all so proud of you.

Melling – Ashworth Junction of M58 progress of works

I thought it was time to have a look at the progress of the major road works to turn the M58 ‘Ashworth Junction’ in Melling into a full junction. Here’s some shots taken on 22nd December:-

Looking in the Maghull direction with the new pedestrian/cycle access running down to Giddygate Lane.

The present access to Giddygate Lane which will be lost when the new western access road to the M58 is finished.

Looking across the M58 with the slope of the new access road for traffic coming from the Switch Island direction clear to see.

My understanding is that the project is over budget – My recent posting refers:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/12/01/m58-ashworth-junction-delayed-and-costing-more-say-place-north-west/