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  • Well, it's relatively simple: If you look where the investment has gone, of course you see benefits there. The trouble is that the concentration of investment in so few places, most notoriously in Central London only, causes an immense increase in the need to travel for those who live further away, and there's no 'trickle-down' effect except perhaps for the increase in house prices along the Crossrail alignments. Jobs will move to Central London, more people will shop in Central London and not elsewhere, and so on. Most of that extra travel actually won't happen on Crossrail itself.

    Overall, I still think Crossrail was an extremely ill-timed project, formulated decades ago when Central London badly needed a stimulus, which it really didn't any more by the time construction finally started. The main beneficiaries will be Central London landowners.

  • Places with low density tend to be a bit shit (examples include Peterborough, Milton Keynes, Dalls, every suberb everywhere) and I'm confused why you'd want to see more of them.

    Good transport enables high density development and fewer cars. The "trickle down" you are looking for can be seen up and down every rail corridor to London - where high-density flats are being built within walking distance almost every station to enable people to live closer (in terms of time) to work and entertainment.

    Some of those places have even reached high enough density that they are becoming interesting places in their own right. Elephant & Castle being one such example.

  • Some of those places have even reached high enough density that they are becoming interesting places in their own right. Elephant & Castle being one such example.

    I'm sure all those displaced from E&C over the last fifteen years to facilitate this high density development will be so happy that E&C has now met your definition of an Interesting Place In It's Own Right.

    Honestly E&C has always been an interesting place, it's just a different kind of interesting place now.

  • Well, I'm not sure how you assume that I want more places like Milton Keynes. My argument is first about London alone--that I think it's currently a mistake to stimulate Central London so much over everywhere else (in London). It would have been a good idea in 1970, when the centre was very much in decline because of post-war centrifugal policies, but times have moved on. Today, Central London is thriving, but many other town centres are not.

    If we're going to build more underground railways (and I don't think that's a good use of funding), they should be orbital (and not the stupid Roads Task Force 'idea' of an orbital underground motorway) to improve access to other centres more. With radial railways, you just get most passengers ending up in the centre, benefiting landowners there. This leads to functions being lost in smaller centres--and when we talk about 'smaller centres' in London, we talk about places that would be major cities in their own right if they weren't attached to London, like Croydon or Ilford. It's really a very simple point--don't constantly (over-)stimulate Central London, but ensure that with continued growth in London there is more activity in other centres, so that people can live closer to where they work or do other things (these being more spread out and therefore more accessible). Not 'low-density'--rather the opposite, increasing the density of activity in other centres.

    Obviously, it's all a bit like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted, but I've been saying the same thing since well before Crossrail went into its construction phase. Not that it could have been prevented even so. It's clearly a popular project. I just don't think it's the right policy at this time.

    Other than intra-London concerns, there is obviously a regional imbalance in development and economic performance, and has often been said, the North needs public transport development much more urgently than the South-east, and I consider the Crossrail funding misallocated for that reason alone.

    There, too, town centres are losing functions--obviously partly because of the Internet, e.g. banks closing branches, and other retail because of on-line ordering, although getting around local retail via mail order has of course been happening for some time. Whatever the reason why places close, whenever that happens and the function can't be performed via the Internet, or for a pensioner who doesn't have Internet access, it generates a trip to a bigger
    destination. Unlike in London, those are mostly not made by public transport. I'm not saying 'generate more low-density places' but 'don't reduce the density (of activity) of smaller places', e.g. traditional market towns. Keep functions there and help them develop more independence from bigger places, or you end up with social devastation.

    Anyway, it's obviously an endless argument that takes us very far away from Crossrail.

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