Sunday, March 04, 2007
CANTON CPZ POLL RESULT IS BAD NEWS FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
Cardiff Friends of the Earth today expressed regret at the decision of Canton residents to reject a Controlled parking Zone (CPZ) in their area in last Friday’s referendum. The CPZ scheme, which was designed to deter commuters from parking in Canton’s streets, would have seen a reduction in congestion.
The benefits would have included a decrease in air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions as commuters would be encouraged to switch to more environmentally sustainable public transport. Reduced congestion would also make public transport more efficient, as pointed out by Leo Markham of Bus Users UK. Buses are relied upon by disadvantaged members of society, such as the elderly and those on low incomes who cannot afford to own cars. These groups would have enjoyed greater access to services and jobs as a result of CPZ since bus services would be quicker and more reliable. This is particularly the case in Canton as Cowbridge Road East is the main artery connecting the deprived Ely and Caerau wards with the City Centre.
Dr Marc Buehner, Cardiff Friends of the Earth’s Transport and Planning Spokesman said, “Friends of the Earth have always campaigned in favour of greater local decision making and of course we repsect the outcome of the referendum. However, there is no avoiding the fact that this is a victory for the motoring lobby at the expense of the environment.”
“There was perhaps a failure to make the environmental case for CPZs in months leading up to the referendum. Should the CPZ scheme be called into question in any other wards where they are proposed, Cardiff FoE will endeavour to put that point of view across.”
Retailers vastly overestimate the proportion of customers arriving by car, and underestimate how many customers travelled by foot, cycle, or bus. A recent study conducted for SUSTRANS revealed that retailers on an arterial road in Bristol thought that 43% of their customers arrived by car, when in reality only 22% drove. Likewise, retailers estimated that only 12% of customers lived locally, within half a mile, when in reality 42% travelled less then half a mile, and a whopping 86% lived within a 2 mile radius. The research also showed that pedestrian shoppers visit more shops when they are in the area, compared to motorists. Thus, concerns from retailers that lack of parking damages their business are an urban myth. CPZs, if supplemented with better public transport and pedestrianisation, are good for communities, not bad. They increase the cohesion of the social fabric by preventing congestion and making the area more attractive.