An electric train could help solve school run problems

A number of residents have expressed concern to me about the photo of a train you used to illustrate the Sustainability Task Force recommendation to introduce an electric train in the Hampstead-Belsize-Fitzjohns area (Electric train will put planet back o

A number of residents have expressed concern to me about the photo of a train you used to illustrate the Sustainability Task Force recommendation to introduce an electric train in the Hampstead-Belsize-Fitzjohns area (Electric train will put planet back on track, H&H January 17).

The image you used - although beautiful - shows a train on tracks. Ripping up the road to put in a railway line was absolutely not what we suggested.

We recommended an electric car train on wheels (see picture, right). This sort of train can be seen in historic town centres around Europe, like the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sintra in Portugal.

It could be used to mitigate the school run, to help older residents and those with shopping or children to climb hills, as well as for tourists. We would recommend a circular route taking in Whitestone Pond - Heath Street - High Street -Rosslyn Hill - Haverstock Hill -England's Lane - Eton Avenue -Fitzjohn's Avenue - Heath Street -Whitestone Pond.


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This is just one of a number of recommendations the task force has made in its Transport Report. Others include: a 20mph limit throughout Camden; a Camden Carbon Offset Fund, with the money raised used to cut carbon out of Camden through energy efficiency and energy generation projects; a free bike scheme such as Paris has just introduced so successfully; separated bike lanes wherever possible to make it safer for parents and children to cycle; a network of walking signs throughout the borough; more incentives for people to join car clubs or to buy electric cars; and a rise in emissions-based parking charges for cars with the largest engines.

Finally we have tried to bring all these elements together in a plan to transform Fitzjohn's Avenue - the epicentre of the school run - into a more sustainable and safer streetscape.

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Our recommendations constitute a radical yet practical leap forward towards a lower carbon world. Martin Luther King was speaking of another age when he said: "We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today; we are confronted with the fierce urgency of now; in this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late.'' His words are, if anything, even more apposite today.

Cllr Alexis Rowell

Chair, Camden Sustainability

Task Force

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