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Our last post reminder to mayor Boris as shutters come down

PUBLISHED: 17:31 19 June 2008 | UPDATED: 15:10 07 September 2010

BORIS JOHNSON, the new mayor of London, is understandably a very busy man, so the letter we sent to him yesterday was brief. The last one mailed from South End Green post office before it closed, it reminded him of his promise at election time to interven

BORIS JOHNSON, the new mayor of London, is understandably a very busy man, so the letter we sent to him yesterday was brief. The last one mailed from South End Green post office before it closed, it reminded him of his promise at election time to intervene and counter the impact of the closure of community post offices. We await his response with interest.

The full impact of the loss of our post offices will soon be measured more tangibly as they begin to disappear from before our very eyes, right across our circulation area.

Earlier this week the office in busy England's Lane met the same sorry fate as that in even busier South End Green. Highgate brings down the shutters next week.

There will be other closures in Camden borough, in neighbouring Westminster and in the west of Haringey, all in areas where public opinion has counted for nothing and where consultation has proved to be meaningless. It's too late to save them, but let's see what imagination Boris can bring to the task of saving the services they provided.

What happened to the days when the Royal Mail was proud to deliver letters to the furthest-flung corners of the kingdom, regardless of the cost? Privatisation, that's what. It is now abundantly clear, as it always has been to anyone with foresight, that unless local post offices could be turned into little goldmines for investors, they would have no place in our modern-day society.

We are not suggesting that all post offices should have been retained, regardless of the cost. That would be foolishness, but there is plenty of evidence to suggest that some of the offices now falling under the axe could be profitable if there was a desire on the part of Post Office Ltd to make them so. Plainly, that desire does not exist.

It is so much easier for fat cats executives to run a reduced number of profitable outlets than it is to show true managerial ability and enterprise by making profits in more challenging circumstances.

There is an interesting and challenging take on the economics of the situation in the letter we print from the vice chairman of the Highgate Society, but it seems that no-one in a position of authority has been committed to keeping post offices at the heart of our communities.

Meanwhile, we are treated to an unedifying advertising campaign selling the merits of 'the peoples' post office'.

The truth is, people haven't mattered, and in the current climate, the adverts seems like a sick joke. How much did they cost to make, and how many post offices could have been thrown a lifeline if the squandered money had been used for a purpose that the public could actually support? highest accident and death rates.

BikeSafe-London, a group led by the Metropolitan Police in conjunction with the City of London Police and Transport for London, and aiming to improve safety of bike users, states that P2Ws (powered two-wheelers) make up less than two per cent of traffic in London, but account for 24 per cent of all fatalities and 18 per cent of the people killed or seriously injured, combined.

His second point, asking where the pedestrians are coming from when there is fencing all the way through the area, has a simple answer: they are using the legitimate crossings but, as I said in my letter, get fed up with waiting alongside stationary traffic jams until the pedestrian lights eventually change. So they dart across the empty bus lanes - 'now with added, speeding motorcycles, for extra safety' as the advertisements don't say!

Cllr Knight's third point rightly says the Finchley Road bus lanes have been used by motorcycles for five years, but the report on this experiment supposedly 'buried' by Ken Livingstone was far from conclusive (I presume he was referring to the 'P2Ws in bus lanes study' issued in March 2008?).

It did not show any great benefit from the use of bus lanes by motorcycles though it did point out that average motorcycle speeds rose - to an illegal 32 or 33mph - and that there were localised increases in pedestrian casualties on the A41 (Finchley Road)!

The report concluded that ''none of the figures produced are statistically significant,'' but I couldn't find anything amounting to an actual answer to the original basic question: Will allowing motorcycles to use bus lanes give greater safety to all road users, without impacting on bus journey times?

Councillors like Cllr Knight should recognise that traffic though Swiss Cottage is frequently going too fast, and that bikers are a leading part of this group (with uber-bikers going even faster?). If he would also try to make our crossings safer by allowing enough time for more elderly or less mobile people to cross these far-too busy roads, it might benefit the majority of road users.

Still, I am pleased Cllr Knight has given me the chance to tell a Tory to get off his bike, or should that be his high-horse-power machine?

David Reed

Eton Avenue, NW3


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