People are therefore using their car for many local trips that could be done on foot or bike, such as going to the shops or the school run, and these trips accounts for most local traffic problems. We should therefore be designing neighbourhoods to encourage more people to walk and cycle for local trips. Much can be achieved by tipping the balance, making the car slightly less convenient and walking and cycling slightly easier.
What You Can Do
Start a discussion locally about traffic and the measures that people are prepared to accept. Low-traffic neighbourhoods will be right for some places but not everywhere. A good start might be a partnership with the local primary school to persuade parents not to drive their kids to school, possibly leading to the introduction of a school street.
Developers and Designers
Create street networks that connect to the surrounding area, but consider carefully where traffic will be allowed. Incorporate cycle lanes and ensure that there are at least two cycle storage spaces for every new home, public bike racks and secure cycle storage for workspaces.
Work in partnership with local communities to consider whether low traffic neighbourhoods or other measures are appropriate locally. Invest in cycle lanes on all primary streets and other off-street routes, including junctions. Ensure that planning policy requires cycle storage in all new developments.
3B) Barton Park, Oxford
A large suburban neighbourhood is being built to the north-east of Oxford. The 36-hectare site will accommodate 885 new homes, of which 354 will be socially rented. The development will include facilities to serve the new and existing communities, such as a primary school, community facilities and a food store.
Barton Park is conceived as a garden suburb – a community set within parkland, to form a distinctive urban edge to Oxford. A semi-natural landscaping strategy comprises allotments, sustainable travel greenways, retention and expansion of existing hedgerows and trees, linear parks, a scattering of small neighbourhood pocket parks and a communal nature garden. The development opens up routes into the surrounding countryside and strengthens pedestrian, public transport and cycle routes into Oxford, crossing the A40 bypass.
A healthy lifestyle is facilitated through the creation of improved sports facilities, including football pitches, an all-weather pitch and a pavilion, plus opportunity to enjoy walking, cycling and wildlife watching.
A planting strategy of native species will benefit local birdS, insects and mammals. Linear parks cut easy cycle and walking routes through the site, accommodating native, naturalistic planting such as grassland and meadow flowers. The public realm is inspired by the local landscape and includes the use of edible fruits and herbs.
Ponds and swales line the boundary of the site, accommodating wildlife and storing rainwater to tackle flooding. Timber bridges, boardwalks, seating and play facilities are dotted along the length of the water feature and throughout the site.
The high-quality natural play equipment, grassed mounds and range of environments create stimulating and safe places for children to explore and enjoy.
Photography: Conor Lawless CC image from Flickr, © URBED