Monday, 20 September 2010

Car-ventry

The Campaign for Better Transport report ranks Coventry 18th out of 19 for cycling and walking.

See Car Dependency Scorecard

Coventry Telegraph article

The least car dependent cities were Nottingham, London and Brighton and Hove. These cities have put a lot of effort into developing alternatives to the car while Luton, Peterborough & Milton Keynes come at the bottom of the list.

The position of Peterborough & Milton Keynes is no surprise. They have been designed around the car with fast roads connecting pockets of habitation. They have plenty of token cycle paths, but with distances between And B so large and the paths often being indirect and of poor quality, people don't use them. They are cycle paths designed by people who don't cycle for other people to use.

The cores of most British cities were built before the age of mass car ownership and sooner or later they get to the stage where they can't cope with the traffic. Coventry reached that stage in the 1960's and the response was to build the ring road. With the hard times Coventry has had since the 1970's traffic growth has been subdued and so Coventry's roads have managed to cope. There has been little incentive for individuals or the council to develop alternatives to the car.

Problems loom on the horizon. Jobs are always being lost, in a dynamic economy new ones are created. If they are created on the outskirts, we lose the greenbelt and create jobs which most people cannot reach except by car. The latter increases the traffic on the roads. One way forward is create jobs in the city centre, where more people can reach them on foot, by bicycle or public transport. The new Severn Trent building provides an example. Unfortunately things are not always so easy. The new Friargate development promises more jobs in the centre, but the council seems unable to come up with a plan which won't lead to a lot of traffic spilling out onto residential roads. Stoney Road, Humphrey Burton Road and Michaelmas Road at least. If not Quinton Road and Daventry Road as well.

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