|Peterborough is a city proud of its long history of household recycling.|
But poor town planning is making it unsafe.
It's supposed to be simple. The roads are are for vehicles and the pavements are for people.
We do things a little differently in Peterborough, but not that differently. Many of our pavements double as cycleways. This seems to work pretty well. I hear the odd complaint from residents when a cyclist has objected to a pedestrian being in their way (and vice versa, both should be looking out for one another). But on the whole, it works.
What doesn't work is what I just observed from my window: a large Peterborough city council recycling lorry mounting the pavement and driving BACKWARDS along the shared cycleway to avoid parked cars, some of which are parked half on the shared cycleway/pavement and half on the road, making the cul-de-sac impassible by larger vehicles.
You may think the residents are the ones at fault for parking without thinking about how lorries are supposed to access the houses on our street. But I don't blame our residents. What I just witnessed is the result of bad town planning.
Visit most new housing estates in Peterborough and this is what you will see: cars parked half on the road, half on the pavement or cycleway. The plain fact is that most households have more cars than parking spaces.
This is a contentious remark, however. There possibly would be enough parking for all vehicles if everyone parked their car in their garage. Very unfortunately, modern houses tend to offer far too little in the way of storage space, so many residents use their garage as an additional room for storing anything from furniture to fridges full of food. I've yet to meet a neighbour who keeps a car in their garage - have you?
|Admit it. Your garage looks like this, doesn't it?|
Modern housing estate design isn't keeping up with modern living.
How is a refuse lorry reversing at some speed up a cycleway in a modern residential street acceptable in 2016?
I've already told you about the horrific cat-versus-vehicle incident that happened in my road late last year. The cycleway the refuse lorry was reversing up runs next to a playground for children aged under 12. How long will it be until there is an accident involving a small child?
I'm not suggesting the council workers weren't being careful. They were being as careful as they could be in the circumstances, although if they had driven away without emptying the rest of the bins on the street would it have been fair to blame them? We know from events elsewhere that refuse lorries should never, ever mount the pavement.
Our streets should be safe. Our modern housing estates are not fit for purpose. The decision-makers who choose profit over safety may one day find themselves held to account for an accident that might have been avoided through better town planning.