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Amanda Martin

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Amanda Martin last won the day on April 23 2015

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  1. Well there you go: statistically Glenda is clearly a mobility scooter magnet and has been a tad unlucky because I've never narrowly missed being mown down by a mobility scooter ever. However, I did discover this morning that you don't even need to be riding your bike to be abused in High Town - just pushing it is enough. On the logic that we're going to ban every activity that ever results in an accident, there should be no traffic anywhere.
  2. We're obsessed with signage in this country. It has replaced the encouragement of common sense. I'm still completely baffled by the animosity towards cyclists. No-one turns hair at the reports almost every week about people in cars killing pedestrians but just let there be one incident involving an irresponsible cyclist.
  3. Thanks green knight - much appreciated. The objective is to get some media attention and kick start a debate of the sort we had in the aftermath of the felling of the Edgar Street trees, but this time before the chainsaws move in.
  4. I believe we do but the more the merrier and thanks for the offer.
  5. Thanks for that Jean. Every campaign has its diplomats and negotiators but if these people in the Cabinet don't feel the cold wind of public disapproval blowing in, they will just dust us aside because, as Cllr Price so eloquently indicated, they "don't give a ****" what we think. There doesn't seem to be much tradition of public protest in Hereford but the time has come to stand up and, as the Edgar Street trees campaign demonstrated, you don't need hundreds of people to make waves if there's majority tacit support. The DfT has written to us assuring us that they will review what we know to have been an exercise in arrogant box ticking and corner cutting for the funding case for this road. We can't rely on a call in but we do know that cash strapped government departments are looking to cull schemes that fail even on their own flawed criteria. Behind the scenes, the preparations will have continued and we don't have much time left. The bulldozers are on the horizon. Friday 25th September. Shire Hall. 9.45am. Placards and humour provided. #GetYourFeetOnTheStreet
  6. Correction: the meeting is at Shire Hall, St Peter's Street.
  7. No-one should be mowing down elderly ladies in High Town whatever the regs say but anyone who says this is a reason to ban cyclists should get a perspective check. Bikes on the pavements is a sign to make roads safer not ban bikes and there's plenty of space in High Town for both.
  8. Full council will be facing questions from Herefordshire Transport Alliance on Friday 25 September at County Hall, Plough Lane at 10.00am. Show your feet on the street, brothers and sisters. Humour, placards and camaraderie provided. Step up; don't give up. Arrive on two wheels. Bring cameras.
  9. Dippy, I have already invited Tony Johnson! I would be delighted to have Bobby47 come along and anyone else who wants to. It could indeed be an eclectic mix!
  10. Bobby47 I'm afraid that wasn't even the opposition: it was "friendly fire". I think you've put your finger on the risk of putting all your eggs in the "inward investment" basket instead of supporting local businesses. This is what Newport did with LG: they trashed SSSIs and schmoozed LG to come to a huge purpose built factory out of town. The only people who could access that employment were those who had their own transport. Short term it exacerbated the traffic problems and, after a few years, when the Welsh Development Agency grants ran out, LG shut up shop and moved on to cherry pick tax payers' money elsewhere. The same with Ford in Bridgend.
  11. Absolutely right, Cloudberry. John Stewart and I were talking about this over breakfast yesterday morning before he left. As you probably know, he and I were involved in the transport reform movement of the Nineties which became a groundswell of public opinion and a powerful alliance of local groups which propelled transport up the political agenda. Hansard records from the Nineties show how much Labour has shifted its position on transport. Back then, we were all talking to Labour shadow spokesmen at high levels and had every expectation that, if New Labour were elected, we would see a significant shift in priorities. These were clear promises on which, in retrospect, we should not have relied. We have recently got to know someone who started work at the Department of Transport, as it then was, in 1997 when New Labour did come to power. He said that initially there was some will to effect change but a combination of the consequences of Tory scorched earth policy on public transport and fear of the motoring lobby quickly dissipated it. The momentum was lost and they all fell back into what they knew: "predict and provide" road building although on a lesser scale. Many grassroots campaigners fell away too; in our case, our group had actually stopped the motorway we were opposing so many of us specialised in particular areas - with me it was the effect of traffic on children's independence, mobility and development - so we sat back and waited for Labour to keep their promises while John and the others at Transport2000 and ALARMUK, kept the line of communication open with the politicians. That's what happened. Transport fell off the agenda with the dismantling of the local community groups; without people power nothing can be achieved. As you say, things have moved on. We now have internet and in theory the dissemination of information and communication should be much easier. In Herefordshire, there is a general lack of political activism and awareness - people should be up in arms over local healthcare but aren't - and building up a head of steam is going to take time. I'm conscious that with a very small number of "chiefs", there is a danger that each of us will become "ubiquitous" and individually over exposed - I have already received vicious emails accusing me of "grandstanding" and this is another reason for having a good, informed team who understand the issues and can take the microphone. I personally struggle with public speaking and Wednesday was the first time I felt the nerves subsiding a little. Money is always a problem. Clearly we can't keep subsidising the campaign out of our own pockets and Campaign for Better Transport may be able to help us there - another benefit of networking with the national "mother ship". There's a lot to do but I am optimistic.
  12. All feedback welcome. Cloudberry, your point can be addressed in one word: resources. There are currently three of us trying to move this along. None of us are affluent and we all work so time and money are limited. We advertised two weeks running in the Hereford Times, posted prolifically on Twitter, Facebook and various other forums and invited key people we thought might be interested. John Harrington is still around £2k out of pocket following the Edgar Street trees campaign and last night's event and the Kindle event a couple of weeks ago came in at over £800. John Perkins is probably similarly out of pocket through ad hoc expenses and spends a lot of his time keeping the social media relevant and up to date. I share that with you to put into context any ways in which you feel we fell short of publicising and organising the event although in fact four people did come forward with contact details and an offer to become more involved - the event was worth that alone. Dippy, you raise a valid point. John H was up at 4.00am yesterday and came to chair the event more or less straight from his job as a Fedex driver - hence he arrived and left in a van. Julian cycled and the rest of us walked. I do use my bike whenever possible and frankly I'm amazed I've survived. We recognise the need to take advantage of what momentum we have generated and to this end, I would like to push ahead with planning our study trip to the Netherlands. The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that the way over the conceptual and philosophical hurdles is to bring our councillors and officers into contact with their Dutch counterparts. I would like to plan for mid to late September - time to get passports sorted out and book leave from work. I think this trip should be open to whoever would like to go. In the shorter term, I think we should take up Tony Johnson's suggestion of inviting the "other side" to put their view with a further event - something a little more adversarial with some debating edge.
  13. You're so right Dippy. The principles are straightforward but embracing them, for some people, entails a step change in thinking and that takes time. Also you weren't the only one to comment on the need to rationalise the various forums. Since the Edgar Street trees campaign John Perkins has doggedly kept the media presence going and the sites are his babies but this is something I think he may be considering now. We have to go and sort out my daughter's mouldy bathroom shortly but two things occur: 1. In the light of Tony Johnson's observation that we could have asked one of the Cabinet along to join in and put an opposing view, I think we should organise another meeting and do just that - a question time style format but with the kind of public interaction we had last night; 2. Better late than never, but I'm all for organising that study trip to the Netherlands, open to anyone who wants to come. You read about their bikes and buses and home zones but seeing it for yourself and talking to transport professionals out there just blows you away . I'm thinking September. John Stewart will help me organise it. Thanks to all of you who came along - we really appreciate it. Heroine of the hour was Kate who really lit a fire under proceedings. I need to track her down. Colin, someone mentioned trams. I realised that you had dropped below the radar a little bit because of your trips abroad but it would be great if you could stay involved.
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