Temporary moves to give over more road space to public transport, bikes and pedestrians may give way to more permanent measures
Over a year and a half ago, Exeter was making all sorts of promises:
Back in May, further plans were being mooted – in the middle of the pandemic:
Which is all a bit late, as “The council’s signed up to plans to be a carbon-neutral city by 2030; an ambition that’s slipped back five years”:
What’s emerging in other places is a much more ambitious plan
– for the ’15 minute city’, where everything will be within a quarter of an hour’s walk:
Tonight’s Costing the Earth on Radio 4 took us to Bristol and Paris:
Autopia to Utopia? Car-Free Cities
Lockdown saw many more people jumping on bikes and walking – as much as a way to get out of the house as get around – but pollution levels dropped and nature could be heard without the background roar of traffic. Jheni Osman asks if this the way it could or should be? Has this given us a new way of thinking about how we get around and can city leaders bank on this to change the infrastructure to be ‘car free’? After 100 years of city design being built around the private car, this is a rare opportunity to bank on the behaviour change to reduce pollution, improve air quality and get more of us active.
Temporary moves to give over more road space to public transport, bikes and pedestrians may give way to more permanent measures and has accelerated plans for ‘Car Free Cities’. Jheni explores models that have been applied elsewhere, looks at changes coming in across Milan, Bristol and Birmingham and asks what’s needed to make them work? Will we be zooming about on e-scooters and goods transported underground instead? Plans aren’t without cost or controversy but is this a rare moment to make a radical change the new normal?
The question is, however, to what extent this model can be extended to smaller towns and rural areas…
Are we condemned to use the car in less densely-populated areas?
And are the current ‘temporary’ measures working?