This is where I cycled yesterday (Thursday):
That is just over 13 miles. Yet the longest ride was only 2.6 miles.
Like most of my “normal” days it was made up of lots of small separate journeys.
- To someone’s home to plan Sunday’s worship
- To someone else’s home to plan a funeral
- To St Peter and St Paul primary school for an assembly
- To Queniborough Methodist Chapel to support an after school club
- To Wreake Valley Academy for a parents evening
- To Syston Methodist Church to open up and sort out recording for a choir
- A quick trip home to collect my headphones for the recording.
- Car parking is not available close to all these destinations
- Cycling avoids the busiest part of Syston (The Melton Rd especially the junction with High St and Barkby Rd)
- My car engine would have never warmed up on any of these journeys. So it would have been both much less fuel efficient, much more polluting and cold inside)
- I was able to park right outside (and sometimes inside) every destination
For the community, my employer and myself cycling is less damaging and cheaper than driving (much less likely to kill or injure someone else, no air pollution, no noise pollution, less damage to the roads, no congestion) with obvious health benefits and savings (I’m less likely to be obese, will take less time off work and won’t have damaged anyone else’s health).
Yet doing these short journeys around a small town involves significant levels of determination to ignore perceived danger and actual inconvenience created by planners. In a small town, where nobody lives more than a mile from the centre or from school we have developed an infrastructure that prioritises getting around this small area by car. This is crazy! It helps nobody and harms us all (road deaths, air pollution, congestion, noise pollution etc).
Drastic action is needed to improve the quality of life for everyone. Here are a few examples:
- an enforced 20mph limit for the whole town.
- Narrowing the Melton Road and adding segregated cycle tracks on both sides
- Closing the Melton Road as a thru route for all but buses and cycles
- Fixing the railway bridges on the High St and Fosse Way so HGV’s don’t need to go through the town centre.
- Closing Upper Church St to all vehicles except for access to the houses.
- Closing off Brookside at the east of St Peter Street.
- Massive street calming on Parkstone Rd to stop parents using it to drive kids to/from school. Create a car park/waiting area alongside the Melton Rd in the sports field (reducing the size of the school car park to compensate)
- double the width of the path along the brook between Fosse Lane and Brook St
- traffic calming in the Hobby Horse estate (only buses to have through access)