Over at CityMetric, James O’Malley envisions a future ‘Mayor Paxman’ making Zone 1 a tube-free zone:
‘With the stroke of a pen, he issued his first decree. As of that night, all London Underground stations in the central Zone 1 were to be closed. Permanently… And, to ensure that his successors could not reverse the plan, the Mayor insisted that the escalator shafts be filled in with cement.’
‘The previous strategy of simply building more transport links was demonstrably failing. Railways don’t increase capacity, they merely generate more demand. Look back to 1920s to the growth of “Metroland”, the name given to the suburban development that followed the growth of the Metropolitan line from Baker Street out into Middlesex countryside. When the line was built, it was all fields; once the trains started running, the masses descended.’
And the peaceful results:
‘The policy didn’t just mean that new affordable housing appeared in buildings from the Euston Tower to the Shard. It generated other benefits, too. A capital less focused on the centre would mean that there could be less pollution. And the new inaccessibility of Zone One encouraged more people to take up cycling, with benefits for both the environment and public health. Transport for London, seeing how a spike in demand would transform the streets of London into a larger Amsterdam, pedestrianised more public spaces. All in all, the policy made London into a much nicer city to be in – even if we all had to walk a bit further to catch a train.’
But why stop there? Dynamite the bridges! Sabotage those penthouse elevators! Cut the electricity off! To save the city, we must destroy it – or at least make it more of a pain in the arse. And only then, when we’ve made it sufficiently crappy, will regular people be able to afford to live here again.