Westminster weekend/evening parking charges go live

So Westminster is to start charging people to park between 13:00 and 18:00 on Sundays, while extending midweek parking charges to midnight on weekday evenings.  Hourly rates are said to be between £2.20 and £4.40.  (source:  BBC News article)

This will put a serious dent in the wallets of anyone wanting to drive to volunteer at our church. A further consequency might be that parking on single-yellow lines (as many people have done for Sunday church services for years) will now be enforced as well as the charging in proper bays.

Yes, it might help ease traffic flow a little, but on the flip-side it will certainly hinder volunteers coming in to set up before public transport services start up on Sunday mornings.  It will also make life unnecessarily difficult for the infirm, elderly and disabled people wanting to come to church or to shop in Westminster.  I’m sure this will also be a further hinderance to those of us visiting family or friends.

I myself don’t own a car, but I’m not looking forward to the next weekend trip with a hire car where I need to run an errand at church before driving on to meet family elsewhere in the country. Still. I’m just an individual working human, therefore a cash-cow for local government, it seems.

So:  If we’re going to strangle car parking in the area, can we at least see Mayor of London and TfL provide tubes/trains an hour or two earlier AND an hour or two later to encourage more people to take public transport?  For the earliest Sunday starts I encounter, buses simply don’t cut it from anywhere outside Zone 2 – they’re too unreliable, too tiring, take too long and often leave me travelsick – hardly a great start to a working day.

Homeless: explore and reflect

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Walking to work from London Charing Cross so often as I do, I regularly come across people, situations or slogans that make me think a little outside my usual perspective. This morning’s journey was no exception.

The National Gallery is running another campaign to get visitors through its doors, with the words “Explore and reflect” splashed across its main hoardings. But what made me take a second look at the scene was the homeless man basking nearby in the sunshine, apparently surrounded by his worldly possessions and looking decidedly lost. The kind of lost that is not formed by having only just arrived, but for having been here for far too long. Without a home and seemingly without a hope, all he could do for comfort was drink in the beauty of his surroundings. I hope his situation brings some perspective on my own thoughts and attitudes today, as I deal with whatever ‘crises’ life and work will throw at me. I took a picture to remind me of all of this:

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Maybe one day I’ll get over myself and summon up the courage to strike up a conversation, to see what’s what.