Sunday, 6 July 2008

Clean and Green?

Bristol City Council have the laudable aim of making the City Clean and Green. This seems to recognise the crucial relationship between the quality of the urban environment and people's willingness to interact with that environment in a "green" way, namely walking and cycling rather than driving. This is particularly true for walking where one naturally notices details of the immediate environment which are overlooked by those traveling at faster speeds.

But some pictures sent in the other day remind me that the reality often falls short of the aspiration. These pictures are not of some remote industrial estate but from the very heart of the city around Park Street, an area with some of our finest Georgian terraces visited by tourists and locals alike. One can make some excuses I suppose, but those of us who've lived in Bristol for more than a decade or two know that it didn't used to be like this.

A particular problem for walkers is the presence of wheelie bins of various sorts on our pavements, often restricting or even blocking the footway. This combined with pavement parking, advertising boards, scaffolding, bicycles, signposts and general street furniture can make walking routes a real obstacle course. By contrast the roadway is generally kept clear of all these intrusions.

There is clearly a progressive degradation of the urban environment with more litter and rubbish discarded onto the streets than ever before. It's not necessarily the fault of the City Council, but it is their responsibility to tackle it. And in these cases at least they don't appear to be doing so. Perhaps they should focus more on these basic responsibilities and less on those more abstract concepts like "equality issues" that are way beyond their competence to tackle.

1 comment:

Bristol Dirt Bag said...

Spot on Chris. I don't drive, and, I don't cycle - my usual mode of travel around Bristol is by shanks' pony. Over the last ten years the problem has become apalling. With pavements blocked by wheelie bins, rubbish, and parked cars, I often find myself having to walk in the road.

The cars are the worst. Areas like Montpelier or Easton where never designed for the infernal combustion propelled metal boxes that now litter the pavement. When combined with the wheelie bins (where are houses without a front curtilage supposed to keep these things?)it's just not possible to do anything but jaywalk. I'm just thankful I'm not in a wheelchair, or, pushing a pram.

Our mighty Council have to start tackling the pavement parkers now. They also have to take the problem of rubbish being dumped a lot more seriously... maybe if it were pointed out that this constitutes a Health & Safety hazard..?