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.