March 3 Letters: Make streets safe to live, work and play

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From: Richard Baxter, Carr Manor Crescent, Leeds.

I’M sure other readers will share my frustration at the issues which blight the quality of life for pedestrians in our towns. Vehicles parked on pavements, speeding traffic and crossings which don’t allow sufficient time for people to cross the road, can make our area a hostile and an unpleasant place to walk. For older people or those with mobility problems, it can be downright dangerous.

Piecemeal and conflicting rules abound on these matters, making it confusing for police, enforcement agencies, councils and all road users alike. As the general election draws nearer, I would encourage readers to urge their local Parliamentary candidates to support the charity Living Streets’ campaign for the introduction of an Active Travel Bill. Such a piece of legislation could regularise rules on pavement parking, reduce speed limits on the streets where we live, work and go to school. It would make walking safer and easier.

An Active Travel Bill could not only reduce deaths and serious injuries on our roads, but create a healthier environment where walking to school, to work or to the shops is a pleasure and not a hazard.

Unfairness 
of toilet fee

From: David Treacher, Hull.

I OFTEN use the toilet in Hull Interchange and passengers who are disabled still have to pay 30p unless they have a key. But on the other hand there are people working at the interchange who have a key to use the toilet for free. Some passengers who have to pay are in urgent need of the toilet but at the time do not have the cash to pay. There is the danger that they could have an accident through lack of money, is that fair?

The disablement key is supposed to be for disabled passengers only. This seems to be the only public toilet in the Hull area which charges passengers. If the staff use the toilet, they should have separate facilities or pay.

We were not 
a class apart

From: Brian H Sheridan, Redmires Road, Sheffield.

HAVING taught in primary, secondary modern and grammar schools and attended a technical school, Eric Houlder (The Yorkshire Post, February 26) was well placed to repel John G Davies’ attack on the tripartite system of education

Mr Davies, by association with David Cameron, appears to see grammar schools as middle-class institutions dominated by pupils from affluent families.

I attended Mexborough Grammar School, one of several mixed grammar schools in small South Yorkshire towns which are now comprehensive schools. I utterly reject the argument that the attraction of selective schools was for parents who don’t want their children to mix with the hoi polloi. My fellow pupils were almost entirely working-class and, in the playground at least, spoke broad Yorkshire.

After school, we joined our friends from the secondary moderns and technical schools for football in the park. Apart from a bit of good-natured ribbing for the minority of grammar school kids, education never entered anyone’s mind.

My only criticism of the tripartite system would be that the excellent secondary modern teachers were let down by under-investment in that category.

Paper hardly ‘left-wing’

From: Allan Davies, Grimsby.

Dave Asher (The Yorkshire Post, February 17) refers to “the left-wing organs of the media”. I do not know which newspapers he regards as left-wing, but as a Guardian reader since September 1945, I know that it has always opposed the left in the Labour Party and beyond. I am, incidentally, a subscriber to 
both the Guardian and The Yorkshire Post.

In the late 40s and 50s, it opposed the Bevanites and left-wingers such as Arthur Horner and Will Paynter (NUM). In the 60s, it opposed Frank Cousins, Hugh Scanlon and Jack Jones who had the courage to fight Fascism in Spain, and continued to do so in the 70s. In the late 70s and 80s, it opposed the left in the Labour Party. Names like Bryan Gould, Tony Benn, Michael Foot and Ken Livingstone come to mind and it continued to oppose the left in the union movement, Arthur Scargill in particular.

Only since Tony Blair shifted the party sharply to the right has the Guardian cast doubt on the right. The present day leadership can be regarded as in the Social Democratic mode like that of Tony Crosland and Hugh Gaitskell. In passing, the Guardian has a number of Conservative writers, Simon Jenkins perhaps the most prominent.

It is too easy for those on the right to dismiss their opponents by attaching pejorative labels, but it is simply lazy thinking.

Why wait for ambulance?

From: Trev Bromby, Hull.

I HAVE just read a “shocking” report about the plight of a husband and wife. The wife had a seizure due to brain cancer and the husband called an ambulance. Two hours later the distraught husband decided to take her to the hospital himself in his car which had been parked outside for the whole time.

My question is: why did he not take that action immediately?

No wonder the ambulance service is under pressure.

The ambulance service did apologise to the lady concerned.