This is the article we submitted for the May 2020 edition of the Hayling Herald. They may of course edit their version, and we format this version for the website with extra photos and links.
- Back to the fifties!
- Quiet streets
- Living Streets for Hayling?
- HighCycle, a Social Distancing Bike
Back to the fifties!
In these unprecedented times, there is at least one positive. Have you ever seen Hayling’s roads so empty? We’ve turned the clock back to the fifties, and to the traffic levels our roads were actually designed for.
And we’re back to fifties levels of cycling! Hundreds more of us have been tempted onto bikes by the quiet roads and the need to get daily exercise. And cycling’s perfect for maintaining our social distancing.
And here’s something I never thought I’d say – it’s even a pleasure cycling down the main road, without feeling vulnerable, or that you’re blocking the traffic.
If you wondered about starting cycling again, now’s the perfect time! Just be safe, we suggest wearing a helmet, and keep your distance.
An hour’s cycling always was safer than an hour’s gardening or DIY, according to RoSPA, so it’s even more true now.
If, like me, you sometimes cycle on the pavement when the traffic’s at its worst, now’s the time to stick to the road and leave the pavements for social distancing pedestrians.
Look at our Quiet streets cycling suggestions that you might not have thought of. We’d like to get them signposted and onto cycle maps, to encourage less confident people onto their bikes.
Living Streets on Hayling?
Wouldn’t it be great to keep roads this quiet? Since the fifties, we’ve let cars become our masters, whereas they should be our slaves.
Which is why more and more places are turning the clock back to the fifties and turning their streets over to walkers and cyclists, by transforming them into ‘Living Streets’ and ‘Living Neighbourhoods’ that put people first, cars second.
They’re often trialed for 12 months, then asking residents if they want them taken out. They usually stay.
And now many more councils are installing emergency Living Streets, so that pedestrians can safely walk in the road and maintain 2 metres social distance, which would be impossible on narrow pavements alone.
Living Streets don’t just benefit cycling. They help kids playing or riding scooters, parents with pushchairs, the elderly, disabled buggies, dog walkers – in fact, just about everybody.
Even crossing the road is easier and safer. They make our streets more attractive and more people-friendly. They encourage people to socialize, get exercise, walk or cycle to school, work or the shops, and enjoy their neighbourhood.
What’s not to like? So how do you transform a street into a Living Street? Here are 4 common techniques.
1) Chicanes made out of big planters bring an oasis of calm to the traffic. And the shrubs or small trees bring a natural look to even the barest of streets. I’ve seen this in Bristol and Oxford and it works brilliantly, costs next to nothing, and can be easily moved or removed.
2) Making streets one-way gives back half the road space for parking, wider pavements or a cycle path. Obviously, it only works where there’s a suitable return route. That’s how the Mayor of Paris is promising to turn every Parisian street into a Living Street, from this :
to this :
3) Twenty’s Plenty: 20 mph zones for residential streets are everywhere – even Portsmouth. They don’t slow journey times, just heart rates and air pollution.
4) Rat runs drive residents mad. Why not block them off to cars at one end or the middle? People soon get used to them.
One of the pioneers in Britain has been Waltham Forest (not an actual forest, but a dense London Borough). Their air pollution levels are falling while others are rising. More people are confident to leave the car at home and walk or cycle, and the local shops are flourishing.
Fifties cycling forever!
But what about our main road – the A3023? We can’t chicane that or make it one-way.
The only answer is a new traffic-free cycle path, linking the LIDL roundabout to the bridge. We call it Haylink, and you can see more about it on the Cycle Hayling website.
With Haylink, it really would be like cycling back in the fifties, forever!
HighCycle, a Social Distancing Bike
You might even want to look at building HighCycle, a Social Distancing Bike to get 2 metres of social distancing – but vertically. It’s hilarious! Google for it on YouTube, or look on our website at CycleHayling.org.uk
So do keep cycling, safely and responsibly, and do sign up as a Cycle Hayling supporter.