As Tim Jones, chairman of Devon and Cornwall Business Council, once observed: "Exeter is now becoming known for its congestion. The county council's suggestions will just end up shunting the problem somewhere else. It's like jumping aboard a magic roundabout and seeing the same things coming round and round again."

Mr. Jones' metaphor was just a bit iffy. Because that is of course the problem with roundabouts, even when they're not magic. Even ordinary, tin-pot, actual roundabouts, with no Dylan, Zebedee or Florence in sight, do bring you the same things over and over again. But this piece of pedantry aside, Exeter is obviously in the same state as Melvyn Bragg's sinuses. It's all bunged up.

Obviously the council can't just wave a giant Sinex, even a magic one, up the Exonian nostrils. But something must be done, or everyone will be coming into Exeter early only so that they can get in the queue to get out before midnight.

Here therefore are a few suggestions as to what might be done.

Firstly, we could all be issued with an 800 Giant Lafree Twist Electric Bicycle. This is what they went for at the City Council. For just an initial outlay of £80 million, we could make this the Giant Lafree Twist Electric Bicycle capital of the universe.

As the council's environmental co-ordinator, Kathryn Lamble, advised us: "It is a great way to travel, as it is easy to ride and very cheap. It is similar to riding a normal bike, but it is super-efficient. It will also help to keep us fit."

The Giant Lafree Twist Electric Bicycle goes along at a belting 15 mph, and needs charging up every 24 miles. If every street corner had a three-pin socket mounted at an appropriate height, Exeter would once again be like the chivalric capital it undoubtedly was in the fourteenth century. That is, full of noble chargers.

Exeter could put Beijing to shame. There they'd be, whistling round on their sit-up-and-begs, while we lorded it on our bespoke Giant Lafree Twist Electric Bicycles.

Jambusting, as the decongestant councillors call it, could be achieved in other ways, too.

Whatever happened to bubble cars, for instance? These more-or-less transparent pods-on-wheels were once fashionable accessories. About as wide as half a car, if they were to be the only permitted vehicles, we could divide every existing lane into two. The inner ring road would be a quadruple carriageway. In Exeter, we have brought back cobbles. We have brought back 11-16 schools. We have brought back pole dancing. We have brought back bicycles, albeit Giant Lafree Twist Electric Bicycles. As Tim Jones would say, "It's like jumping aboard a magic roundabout." So why not bring back bubble cars, too?

I realise that some readers may think these are softie solutions, and that we should crack down harder on motor vehicles. And perhaps a system whereby council highwaymen (disguised as squeegee merchants) pointed a pistol at every driver in a queue, and threatened to blow off their head gasket if they were seen again - yes, perhaps this would work. Every so often, the highwaymen would have the extra thrill of saying "Your Mini Or Your Life!" That would be enough to ensure recruitment.

It has been suggested that putting up car park charges would do the trick. Whether front-line traffic wardens would agree is open to question. There would be considerable extra cost in providing them with (a) body armour, (b) stun guns, and (c) deputies. It might be more cost-effective to seal up the car parking bays with strong plexiglass, and fill them with water and basking sharks. It would be the dawning of the age of Aquaria, and confirm Exeter as the Big Fish of the South West.

Our new friends the Met Office are another good bet. They know the meaning of snow. They know where it comes from. They must have a cold snap department. If all roads into Exeter were snow-bound, then it would be up to the Council to get its skates on - on to our feet, in fact. In no time at all, Exonians would be happily performing triple axels and possibly the Bolero. We could be sponsored by Ski Yoghurt. We could host the next Winter Olympics. Shoppers would happily sledge the year round, in a Winter Wonderland, and the sinking feeling on our roads would be replaced by a rinking feeling.

We also have a valuable and under-used asset in Exeter. It is called the air above our heads. Exeter is a sort of pudding shape, but surrounded by hills, with Debenham's the topmost tower. Is anyone seriously telling me that the top of Debenham's could not become a cable-car terminus? From Haldon Hill, from Stoke Hill, from Exwick Hill, from Heavitree, services could run non-stop, bringing non-native shoppers into the city, while bona fide residents could carry on driving in without any fear of obstruction. There would be no more buses, which are taking up valuable car-space. Outsiders would meanwhile enjoy the thrill of their lives, travelling overhead.

There is no shortage of ideas, is there? Correct me if I'm wrong, but Exeter is at the heart of a rural area. What did we do before cars? That's right, we rode horses. If the horse once again became the main means of transport, then all we would need is some training (and they're getting it for the Giant Lafree Twist Electric Bicycles, so why not?), some hard hats, some saddles, a stable environment, some straw, and some shovels - horse effluent could probably power a number of public buildings, too.

Or, and here we return to the words of Tim Jones, we could build a lot of magic roundabouts. Those unwise enough to drive towards the centre of Exeter in a car would soon find themselves marooned on a permanent swivel, as a result of which they would start seeing the same things coming round and round again, and would be unable to get off until they had paid a fine.

Or been ticked off, in a roundabout sort of way.

Alternatively, we could solve the skateboarding teenage problem at a stroke, by insisting that all adults used them on the way to work. Something tells me that the under-16s might suddenly lose interest in their preferred mode of transport.

From Express and Echo