Monday, September 03, 2007

Support a Greener Cardiff Echo

Unfortunately the Echo headlines say : Time to re-think traffic ban
THE Echo is today demanding an immediate re-think of the city’s controversial St Mary Street scheme.

Write to the journalist:
and the Echo:

The Echo has a question - not entirely fair -
Is pedestrianisation working?
YES 090 12293013
NO 090 12293014

Welsh politicians need to make radical changes as people in Wales are becoming more environmentally aware and expect strong leadership from government to tackle the ongoing threats of climate change, waste mountains and traffic congestion to achieve cleaner more environmentally and pedestrian friendly city. For a greener Cardiff we need support from our local paper too.

Living Streets is a national charity established in 1929 as the Pedestrians’ Association. Cardiff Living Streets campaigns for better streets and public spaces in the Welsh capital, and for a higher priority for pedestrians. Cardiff Living Streets propose that a more appropriate solution would be to liberate St Mary Street from motor traffic all together and convert it into a fully pedestrianised zone. This would bring many benefits. It would much reduce pedestrian congestion on the pavements, eliminate contention between pedestrians and traffic and improve the associated problems of insecurity, noise and pollution - provide many more opportunities for improved pedestrian facilities such as seating, recreational areas, and outdoor eating.

Previously St Mary Street was performing poorly in attracting people aged over 45 and people with children, and probably people with mobility difficulties as well. We ask that you involve these groups closely in the development of plans and before giving up the pilot scheme. A better walking environment = good for local businesses = stronger communities.

Not only do people who walk to the shops spend more per week but overall, the nicer the environment for walking and enjoying, the more people spend.

We ask that Cardiff County Council
• increase the width of the pavements in St Mary Street
• provide cross-overs which carry pavements over side-streets
• create safer and more generous crossing opportunities
• reduce street clutter
• remove unnecessary barriers and railings including those at “cattle-pen” crossings
• prioritise pedestrian movement

High quality traffic calming is a crucial element in restoring peoples freedoms from speeding traffic, for buses too, merely by imposing speeds appropriate for the surroundings, 20 is enough in St Mary Street. But importantly it creates safety, equity and an enhanced environment. Traffic lights can be co-ordinated to encourage smoother driving at lower speeds. But it can not be done on the cheap!

A great deal is currently said about 'zero tolerance' of crime and anti-social activity. Yet motoring offences are dealt with as if they are somehow not as serious as others.

We have made the first step to a greener Cardiff so don't give up just yet, give the pilot a little longer, consult widely and look at ways to improve St Mary Street and meet the challenge to make Cardiff a greener city.

See also The Slower Speeds Initiative