Morning Rush Hour on Bridge Street

Morning Rush Hour
On the bridge over the River Thames in Abingdon, during morning rush hour, there was a green bus with a message of peace and goodwill from Muhammad,
Morning Rush Hour
O mankind spread peace and feed people’ .
Morning Rush Hour
A little way behind was a Baskervilles van (fruit and veg from Radley Road, Abingdon), and an Autoglass van.

30 thoughts on “Morning Rush Hour on Bridge Street

  1. Janet

    There is nothing peaceful about Muhammed. He advocated beheadings and cutting the hands off people. Anyway Island does not recognise people from other faiths and certainly does not wish them goodwill.

  2. Robin

    So, just to be clear Janet, when you say “There is NOTHING peaceful about Muhammed” are you saying that the quote on the bus is
    a) not a quote from the Quran
    b) a quote from the Quaran but not attributed to Muhammed
    c) a quote from the Quaran attributed to Muhammed, but because there are also some violent quotes it should be ignored (think carefully before before you choose this option and maybe take a look at, among many others, Deuteronomy 25:11, Psalm 137:9, Numbers 31:17-18 before you make up your mind)
    d) a single line, taken completely out of context, that is being used to provide a false impression when compared to other single lines taken completely out of context that you prefer to see repeated because they fit your narrow minded, ill informed and bigoted view of Islam.
    I’m guessing it’s d) but I’m happy to hear your take on it?

  3. Janet

    The Government has recently ordered a review because of the persecution of Christians throughout the world. Nothing was done about the killing and slavery of the Yazidi Christians by Islamists. Mind you in the past so called Christians slaughtered millions in the name of Jesus who condemed killing. This is reality.

  4. MalcolmB

    You can’t judge an entire population by the actions of a few. Do you judge all Catholics by the actions of IRA terrorists or paedophile priests?

  5. Horsesmouth

    Can I put another twist on this thread and that’s one of the serious amount of pollution these constant traffic jams cause?
    Being an asthma sufferer myself I was pleased to read today that 4 mums have been given permission by the courts to take their local council to court for failing to comply with government permitted levels of pollution, the same report went on to mention the mother of an 8 year old girl who died as a result of an asthma attack has also been given permission by the courts to begin action against her local council for failing to comply with legislation, a failing that it is argued led to the death of the youngster!
    When the new maximum levels of sulphur emissions etc were announced some 10 years ago the Vale was accused of deliberately fiddling the figures and so they began a series of stakeholder meetings to try and solve the illegall levels of pollution that existed in Abingdon and I was invited to contribute to them, we were all taken aback when the property manager from Lloyd’s bank ( who traveled up from Bristol for the meeting) told of their problem?
    She said that the bank in Ock Street was about to undergo a major revamp including the installation of air conditioning, however the air con design team declared they would refuse to install any system because it relied on a clean air inlet, but their air quality tests revealed the air outside the building was unfit to be drawn into the building! And that was ten years ago so lord knows what levels of pollution we’re being exposed to now in town?

  6. Janet

    Horses Mouth. The Conservatives voted to allow building of houses in North Abingdon before the A34 North junction, adding to the already dire Abingdon traffic problems. The Lib Dems said that no houses should be built before the junction was installed. My doctors surgery in Abingdon had to close it;s list because they could not get enough G P’s to deal with it’s already large list. (The largest in Oxfordshire). Now the CCG has said that they need more money as existing G P’s surgeries in Abingdon cannot cope with the proposed 1700 extra planned housing in North Abingdon as the GP surgery lists in Abingdon are large enough. I have to wait 3 to 4 weeks at the moment if I want to see my own GP.

  7. Janet

    Dear Robin. Thank you for your post. It was well argued. unfortunately I do not have a lot of time to reply. I admire people who can examine a subject. Because of our P C society people cannot examine the truth. Police forces all over the country, including Thames Valley, are reported to have ignored complaints from social workers about Pakistani grooming gangs because they did not want to be called racist. They only acted when the media brought the matter to the attention of the public. The Police Commisioner for Oxfordshire said that the numbers of foreign criminals committing serious crimes have risen. Immidiately there was an outcry that the public should
    not have been told this, it was not P C to speak the truth.

  8. pjh64

    @Horsesmouth how would you suggest the council solves the pollution problem?

    Need an idea that’s workable, so a series of road tunnels under the town isn’t one of them.

    Is it simple the case that we’re at capacity, and access to Abingdon should be on a congestion charge basis, to price some off the roads? In which case, what are we to do about lorries that bring in food and other supplies?

    The answer, I would suggest, is coming in the form of far cleaner engines (already here with Euro 6 emmission standards) and electric vehicles. Perhaps the council should ban any vehicles other than electric and Euro 6 engines, except for deliveries?

    It’s going to take something radical.

  9. Daniel

    The “Rudi argument” aside, we don’t need to do anything even approaching radical pjh64.

    How about we simply try spending a mediocre amount of money on the initiatives that are likely to work and are fairly easy to bring to fruition (if there were the will).

    Lodge Hill interchange?

    What about the second river crossing that ABITS was supposed to give us?

    How about getting some money back from the consultants who said to move the Ock St/Marching Rd crossing?

    How about getting all developers to pay for infrastructure upfront….build it….and only if it proves to alleviate pressures, only THEN can they build?

    How about reversing AbITS, getting the consultant who we paid, to be fined £3.5m which is what the disaster cost?

    We don’t need radical. Just common sense and a sense of money well spent.

    Or course…. if it wasn’t for that pesky BREXIT…things would be brilliant.

  10. Hester

    I am not sure it is quite so simple, just to pick up on some of your points:
    Lodge Hill Slips: every time we ask Oxford CC, we are assured that they are still on course to happen in 2020. My main worry is that they will fall foul of the Expressway plan.
    Developer contributions up-front: I suspect that would need a change in the national political/economic structure. Builders at all levels, from the guy doing a loft conversion or extension, to major developers, work on the basis of
    getting the money in before they spend out. A more realistic hope might be a tax on the “planning gain” when landowners sell low-value farmland for high-value development prices. That tax could then be used for infrastructure…
    Reversing ABITs: were you here before it? If not, be careful what you wish for – it wasn’t that great! We live in a medieval town and no amount of tinkering will enable our narrow streets to cope with 21st century traffic. The only solutions are to promote alternative transport modes (public transport, walking or cycling) or take the traffic around the town instead of through it. So maybe the big solutions are needed (maybe including a second river crossing, but that is going to dep no on the Expressway and the South Oxon plans…

    PS I am glad you enjoyed Bohemian Rhapsody at the Abbey Cinema last night – can just about imagine you as Brian May!

  11. Daniel

    Hester, my hair isn’t what it quite was…so any thoughts of Brian May are long gone.

    I really do appreciate you extensive reply and it is clearly based on information and facts that I don’t know (and anyway, such things get in the way of my rants….). but…

    I was here before ABITS. Albeit only for a couple of years.

    You are right….the traffic was not “good and free flowing that they made bad”. But it WAS “poor that they made worse” at a cost of £3.5m (or was it 7…I can’t recall).

    Actually, any builder worth his salt will absolutely not expect a penny up front, or at least I wouldn’t ever use a builder who would (I have worked for and used numerous builders and trades and never once seen money up front).

    In fact, along with not paying anything up front, you absolutely and most certainly wouldn’t pay if the job wasn’t up to scratch – or more pertinently – didn’t achieve what it was supposed to. When THAT happens you sue. The builder doesn’t get away with it. And the customer is recompensed.

    Why are our council overlords content to have handed over millions and millions of pounds of public money on traffic improvement plans; that don’t work?

    I know it wasn’t council money (?) that funded the crossing move for Moorland Gardens but why have we allowed that ineffective solution to come to pass with zero comeback?

    I do not think alternative transportation plans are the answer as they do not deal with the scale of the issue.

    Building more houses before improvement to infrastructure is also not the answer.

    I agree with almost everything else you said (and I learned).

    Thankfully, Layla Moran was elected directly (by me at least) because of her strong and determined commitment to resolving these local issues. I’m sure shes finished a strongly worded email by now. Let’s hope we reap the benefits soon. Or at least let’s hope so…as it seems times running out…

  12. Horsesmouth

    Pjh64, it’s really all about how serious we (they) are about talking the problem? For sure it’s compounded by stationary traffic and the way to solve that is by keeping traffic moving, firstly the Abits working party needs to be resurrected from which a plan of action can be worked on. Of course out of the window went the second river crossing which was a pre condition to Abits, but it’s to late now because Moreland Garden is in the way (there’s forward thinking for you) this time of year all the taxis in high st will be parked with their engines running – ditto the every 3 minute bus to oxford ( why do the Vale issue over 450 Hackney carriage licences ?) also has anyone seen the amount of taxis in town on weekend nights? From the top of west St. Helens along the high into the square and around to the rank – must be 50 cabs sat with their engines running!
    Another interesting fact is that us, being a typical market town with narrow streets and fairly high buildings suffer from the canyon scenario, basically there’s not enough air flow/draft to circulate the air – it was suggested that a building every 75 meters or so could be demolished to increase the air flow? Drastic I know, but so is the situation?
    There are ways, quite simple ways to improve the situation- all it takes is some thought and determination!

  13. ppjs

    Layla Moran introduced a Private Member’s motion debate last week (a Government Minister is obliged to be in attendance) about the proposed Oxford-Cambridge road link. In that debate it was clear that some people see the road as a further descent into chaos as local infrastructure lags behind while others welcomed it as an opportunity for local industry.

    Whether the present Government has the time or ability to deal with this issue is another matter, but at least it was forced to listen.

    We may be part of the problem (whether congestion or race relations), but we are also part of the solution. We currently suffer from prizing difference over similarity. While we continue in that vein, problems will resist solutions.

  14. ppjs

    That is for you to decide, Daniel. You are an intelligent man and can make your own mind up without any help from me!

  15. Horsesmouth

    Ah but, PPJS it’s not quite as simple as that? As Daniel has often referred to most, if not all the decisions that come from local authorities are not solely by politicians but by officers, officers advise, influence and prompt our councillors on how to avoid and more often or not that advice or persuasion is not necessarily in the best of intentions, but sadly influenced by there own political persuasion or biased take on things, a classic example of this is by the umpteen variations of waste collection/disposal we have as a nation, seems each council has its own unique variant on that subject, how stupid is that and what a waste of public money. By now we should have a one size fits all on that subject, the same as having individual police forces, fire brigades and ambulance services, they all have the same remit so why the need for individual organisations?
    Of course this wont get sorted until we have unitary authorities and get rid of the entire middle layer ( the Vale) of council !

  16. ppjs

    That is why we have elected representatives – to consider advice and to reject or adopt it. They make the decisions and they stand or fall by how the electorate judge their performance. Of course, one of the decisions they make is about who to call in as advisors….

    If we didn’t have local government (with all its variations), there would be even more howls of protest about Westminster/Whitehall imposing its decision in ignorance of local needs and conditions.

    Since we are all fallible, we are never going to have a system that pleases everyone all the time. I agree that there are confusions and anomalies where we live; but I have lived in parts of the country run by unitary authorities and people complained just as much!

  17. Daniel

    Ppjs, it would be interesting to know how ‘free’ the councillors are to reject or adopt…

    An awful lot of decisions seem to get through when the ‘electorate’ may think otherwise…

  18. ppjs

    Well, I agree, Daniel; and that is why we are free at election time to chuck one lot out and insert another. Just don’t ask what difference that makes 😉

  19. pjh64

    Building a junction at Lodge Hill is going to make little difference.

    Cars will be piling onto the A34 which is itself nearly clogged in the mornings, and whilst some traffic will divert to that interchange, the queues will just be formed there tailing back down the hill and gridlocking the ring road instead of the Marcham Road interchange. It will distribute the congestion, but the problem remains trying to cram more traffic on the A34 than it can handle at that time. That junction will also cause more accidents on the A34. It’s far too close to those either side – ramming more traffic on at that point will 100% increase A34 accidents.

    Mess about with the one-way system too, but it’ll make a marginal difference at best. There are too many stopping points through the town. There’s no “straight shot” out, so any changes at the centre will merely shift the bottleneck slightly further out. Abits was done to answer a perceived problem – maybe it hasn’t succeeded, but then what went before wasn’t working either. Reverting to that isn’t a solution.

    Perhaps Abingdon should take a leaf out of the Mayor of London’s book? No – not suggest we introduce daily street stabbings of our youth, but a Low Emission Zone. London is tightening this up from April, so the more polluting cars will have to pay £12.50 a day to enter the zone in London, and the worst lorries pay £100.

    How about Abingdon does the same? There are only a few access roads to Abingdon, so in scale, it would be achievable with a few ANPR cameras (which are probably already in place).

    If the town wants cleaner air and better traffic flow, it’s going to have to price off the polluters. There’s no other way to clean things up. A congestion charge for travel between 08:00hrs and 09:30hrs in private vehicles is an additional option (public transport vehicles / school buses excepted from this, of course). How many people would let little Johnny walk to school if it was going to cost them £10 a day to get the car out?

    We can harp on all we like about a diamond junction here and a tinker with the one-way system there. It’s not going to do a darn thing.

  20. Daniel

    Pjh64; so if you are wealthy you can pollute as much as you like. If you are a little strapped for cash…save the environment….

    That way madness lies.

    Whilst you make a fair point, I think we should not forget that the predicament we are in now is mainly if not entirely down to mismanagement. Poor consulting, and spending of public money on solutions that do not work.

    Is it ok that millions of pounds was spent on something that hasn’t worked? Is it ok that poeple got paid to umpleny an idea that hasn’t helped?1

    Finally, I think it’s no coincidence that the traffic has got worse…since BREXIT.

  21. Daniel

    Ah, well in that case we should be embracing these final days of the sublime.

    Perfection personified…

    I think we forget that this is as good as it gets….

  22. pjh64


    There’s no question, Brexit is obviously to blame for the traffic problems. I do accept that 100%.

    That aside, your comment about being ok for wealthy people to pollute is correct: those people are the ones with cars – the truly poor get the bus. Our definition of wealthy is not fixed. If you can afford a vehicle (however old) and to fuel it, tax it, maintain and MOT it, then you’re not on the poverty line.

    What a congestion charge does is ensure the externalities are charged back the user. We could graduate it so the more polluting vehicles pay more (e.g. Range Rover pays more than Ford KA – assuming the former does indeed pollute more than the latter).

    My point is simply that blaming the council doesn’t solve the problem. Abingdon has too many cars wishing to pass through it at certain times in the day. We either price off that demand, accept it, or spend billions building massive road infrastructure to alleviate the problem.

    As a society, we don’t appear willing to do any of these things.

  23. Daniel

    in all seriousness pj I do get your point. However I do not agree that pricing people away is the way to go…

    Vehicles are a really successful thing. Relatively, tehy are efficient, economical and also convenient. None of these things are bad and I don’t think we shoudl now attempt to diseinevt, or disincentise people to use them.

    Computers are plastic, polluting (raw material extraction and disposal and manufacture) etc etc…but they are now here to stay and part of our lives. They and we need to evolve their usage.

    Likewise, cars (or vehicles) are not going to stop being used…better to more wisely accommodate them.

    Spending billions is because of huge unscrupulous inefficiency in the systems that we have. Spending millions on projects that fail is just as bad.

    I live with sitting in traffic – when I chose to do so. What i do not chose is for my council intelligentsia spending money on things that don’t work. My bugbear is that consultants and officers can get away with ill decision.

    If they didn’t implement Abits we would be in exactly the same position as we are now – only millions and millions of pounds better off.

    Here’s a question; What is the acceptable amount of money to spend on advice and projects that do not work?

  24. pjh64

    You’re preaching to the choir on the problems with public sector waste, Daniel!! With you 100% on the whole “consultant” scams, too.

    HS2 is paying £130 per hour for so-called engineering consultants when they could directly employ those people (all in) for £40. These aren’t quick projects which would justify the additional expense because of limited use – these “consultants” have 10 years work!

    No question Abits probably hasn’t done much, if any, good. Public procurement is all about limiting blame. If a consultant is hired, that person becomes the blame-point for any failings in the project. Everyone can tut away, say how disappointed they are the scheme didn’t meet the goals they had set, and move on. Nobody’s fired, no pensions are threatened, the status quo is maintained. I’ve had decades selling to the public sector and see it all the time.

    As regards the congestion, I’m quite accepting that a charge to price people off isn’t popular, in which case we can’t complain about the queues! We Brits are the world’s best complainers – not in a Latin, demonstrative way, just in quiet seething that bubbles just inches below the surface. Traffic jams and potholes are close to the top of the list of triggers.

    Electric vehicles will make life better. They won’t come overnight, but as a driver of one, I’m noticing more and more about, and don’t even think about trying to use the car charger in Waitrose’s car park – it’s constantly in use!

    Things can only get better….


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