We must resist unhealthy domination of the car
All the research shows that the more roads you build and the wider you make them, with additional lanes, the more traffic expands to fill them. It produces a constant game of catch-up in which Tarmac is the only winner.
We also know from research findings that the car is bad for all our health, bad for the individuals who are driving rather than walking or cycling, and for the rest of us who are breathing in the exhaust fumes. Car pollution is not visible like the 1950s smogs, but the polluting effects are just as serious for the health of the whole community.
Buses are badly coordinated and expensive.
I have been to many US cities and the most successful are those that have controlled their cars, expanded their public transport and opened up green spaces in the heart of their city.
I lived a year in Portland (Oregon), regularly voted the most liveable US city.
The car is virtually absent from the downtown, which is served by a free bus service. The central square used to be a giant car park, but now it is a vibrant public space with culture and commerce thriving. This in a city whose downtown used to be skid row.
The citizens of Portland voted to tear down the freeway and flyovers that dominated the river front and convert it into a linear park of several miles. This park now hosts festivals and other outdoor events, criss-crossed by paths and cycle ways, and is always busy with families enjoying what was once a noisy, fuming strip of tarmac.
Conversely, cities like Los Angeles have pretty much abandoned their downtown area as the vested automobile interests long ago killed off the public transport system, but LA is one big parking lot, because the more freeways and fly-overs that they built, the more traffic increased to clog them.
As long as cities are places to visit and not to drive through, we must resist the domination of the car. It is literally killing us.
Don’t forget about PPS
PPS must not become the forgotten footnote of a virus that paralysed the world with fear.
World Polio Day is marked around the globe this week. Until eradication, this terrible virus remains the world’s problem. When eradication day dawns and polio is finally banished to the history books, post polio syndrome (PPS) will remain with survivors for decades to come.
Polio is so close to becoming the second human disease to be eradicated after smallpox in 1980. With Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria the only counties where polio remains endemic, we can’t stop now. Cases in Syria have shown polio’s power to pop up when least expected.
When polio is defeated, millions will confront PPS, a debilitating neurological condition that affects around 80 per cent of polio survivors. 120,000 people in Britain are living with PPS today and can face six years waiting for a diagnosis. Without a care pathway, they struggle to access essential treatments and benefits, when there is much we can do to alleviate the symptoms. The lessons we learn about PPS management today, will help us support who must be the final victims of polio tomorrow.
The British Polio Fellowship continues to raise awareness and offer support to those who are affected by PPS. For more information, call 0800 043 1935 or visit www.britishpolio.org.uk
Ted Hill MBE
The British Polio Fellowship
Grow a beard for bowel cancer
I’m calling on all lads to do their face a favour and give it some warmth this winter by growing a beard in December for Bowel Cancer UK.
The rules are simple, just clean shave on November 30 and let your facial hair flourish throughout the month of December.
Already bearded? No problem. Dye, ditch or decorate your beard and join the campaign.
Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in men in the UK and the nation’s second biggest cancer killer. It doesn’t have to be this way as the disease is treatable and curable, especially if diagnosed early.
Sign up to Decembeard and give hope to those that are going through treatment, remember loved ones and come together to stop bowel cancer: bowelcanceruk.org.uk/decembeard
C/O Bowel Cancer UK