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Issue 13 - June 1973
Cars Destroy Cities
Cities are facts of life. Unless we want to get out of civilisation altogether, we must accept them. They are organic entities, evolving like plants and flowers. This also is a fact of life - that a city has a life of its own.

Another of the facts of life is death, through disease or old age. Many of our cities are dying - not through old age, but through disease - most often a thrombosis, a clotting up of the arteries.

These clots in the lifeblood of our cities are caused by the automobile. You and me, in our little tin boxes, streaming into the city centre each morning and back out again at night, cluttering up the streets and wiping out great areas of the vital tissue of Tyneside for parking lots.

This is stupid. Isn't it? Think about it. Each car uses up a large amount of road space, burns up great quantities of precious oil (oil is precious, make no mistake. Do you wear nylon shirts, knickers, tights? All are made from oil.) and pollutes our lungs with carbon monoxide and lead (lead causes permanent brain damage to children. Most of the lead in the air comes out of car exhausts). Remember, the Bourgognes? the Green Market? Brandling Park? Gateshead is going to lose a great chunk of Saltwell Park as well. All sacrificed to the great god of the motor car.

Why don't we do things the sensible way, you may ask? There is a sensible way to move people into Tyneside and out again without killing the city. It's called a RAPID TRANSIT SYSTEM. Basically, it's our old friend, the tram. Running on railway lines and going under the precious heart of the city it will be able to move 500 people every two minutes along each line. It won't use up so much precious fuel, and it won't mean the bulldozers knocking down more houses. Supplementary to the RTS, there will be buses, possibly running along restricted bus-only lanes taking people to the stations. Doesn't it all sound great?

Why then, are our planners still pushing motorways through? Basically they are still ten years behind the times. They still believe in accommodating the motor car regardless of the fact that, however much road you build, it will still fill to overflowing. Restrictions on cars must come and people will accept them as long as there is good alternative transport available.

Tyneside Environmental Concern believe in the humane alternative. Don't let Tyneside be turned into a parking lot at the end of a race track. We want to preserve our city (what's left of it) and make it pleasant to be in and easy to travel to. Let's have a good, fast, comfortable transport system instead of the motorways.