Saturday 9 July 2011

Southwell Street: the consequences

What do the Southwell Street changes mean? It'll be hard to tell until next term. Already, though, it seems to create the (false) impression that people on foot are welcome, and the zebra crossings appear to act as traffic calming too.

The restored pavement is in use. This will reduce car/pedestrian conflict, so actually be beneficial
That said, it also reduces bicycle/pedestrian conflict, while increasing bicycle/car conflict. This puts the blame on us, not them. Of course, put a van in front of these bollards "Only 15 minutes, guv", with another van on the pavement, and the old regime will be restored.
You can also see that the bollards are set up for a hard right turn into the pay and display car park. This makes it important to keep people off that pavement. It also makes us suspicious that the bollard placement was explicitly designed to remove the short-stay parking option on that side of the bollards. You can't park there without blocking the car park. Yes, you may be able to park the other side, but it's a ten minute journey round the block to get there.
Overall then, the bollards, the pavement and that deviously moved row of bollard don't appear to help us much. It's interesting to compare this with the original proposal, which was very much van-friendlier. Drive-in/back out parking spaces instead of pavement, room to park for delivery on both sides of the bollards. Assuming they dont' actually enforce parking in front of the bollards in the spaces currently in use, the physical parking capacity has been reduced by four. That's going to create tension, and making the bollards "opaque" to people on foot or pedals will create more. Now they will be upset if we park there, whereas before we could do it and not feel bad.

The key tactic here will be to set everyone's expectations up now. During the university holiday. We can take over the bollard area for parking, nobody will get used to cycling through it, and when term time begins, it will stay that way.

We look forward to NHS support for this plan.

No comments: