Thursday 31 July 2008

Montpelier mixed-use area

Here's a lovely shot of evening Montpelier. Three kids cycling round the street; two adults pushing the bikes up the hill. Further down Richmond Road there are some more people walking in the middle of the street, carrying shopping bags. A taxi will nudge its way up the hill, but carefully, rather than the 35+mph that is their ideal speed.

This street effectively makes Montpelier Bristol 's first people-first-cars-second area. And to achieve this, the residents didn't need any contributions from Bristol City Council. Instead they came up with their own goal - a safe place to walk and play- and a simple strategy to achieve this.
What did they do? Well, if you look at the edges of the picture, you can see it. Along each side of the road, completely blocking every pavement, is a near-continuous line of cars. This forces pedestrians into the street, but the cars are positioned such that the road is too narrow to drive fast. If the parked cars were not here, through traffic would speed, and the children would be constrained to the pavement, rather than being able to enjoy the whole width of the street. And, as they are cycling, that would increase the risk of pedestrian/cycle collisions, which as we all know, is the greatest danger facing this city.
It is contributions to innovative road design like this that make Montpelier a leading part of "Cycling City Bristol"

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