Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Equality on our streets?

Walking and cycling around Balham / Tooting recently I've taken a couple of pictures which I thought I should share.

Wandsworth Council, and Transport for London, both tell us that each mode of transport on our roads should be equal. There should not in their eyes be a hierarchy of users, which is common in other neighbouring countries, and puts the greatest importance on the most vulnerable road user.

I think that these pictures paint quite a different picture.

Here we can clearly see that a bicycle parked on the pavement would be viewed as an obstruction of the highway.

Broomwood Road - where you can legitimately park your car on the pavement.

Fishponds Rd - Again legitimate parking of motor vehicles on the pavement.

Why does this matter? Well the council, as well as a lot of local people would like to reduce congestion, air pollution & improve street safety. Many local residents would like streets which they could comfortably walk around. Quite a few of them would like to feel that it was safe enough for them to cycle around on.

But, our streets have been re-designed to make it easier for people to drive around. The reason for being able to park on our pavements is to make it easier for people with cars, and so that the car wing mirrors don't get damaged. No thought seems to have been given to people who would like to walk up those streets. The pavements get damaged with cars parked on them, and provide a really uneven surface.

What can be done to make our streets safer? I'm campaigning with Wandsworth Environment Forum, and a coalition of local civic society groups to get the council to consult with local residents on 20mph limits on streets where people live, shop and work.

Let me know if you'd like a paper version of the petition for you & your friends to sign. Also please do let your local councillor know that you are supportive of this. The more people who write in the greater the chance of making this small but significant change happen.

The national site campaign site is