The Earth’s Corr: We must ban parking on pavements and cycle lanes to make Belfast safer – Shauna Corr
We really need to ban parking on sidewalks and bike lanes.
Cyclists, walkers and wheelers across the city are fed up with inconsiderate motorists, truck and van drivers who ride on sidewalks and block their path.
And I really can’t blame them.
Read more:NI comedian shows why she’s ‘saved’ with Stormont in series of skits
But it’s not just motorists who are to blame.
A few weeks ago I found my cycle path on the Sydenham bypass blocked by a series of road signs and DfI cones, leaving me no choice but to blend in with traffic which can reach up to at 60 mph.
Needless to say, I didn’t feel very safe.
But that’s the reality for people wanting to improve their health and the environment by choosing bikes over cars in Belfast.
If we are serious about empowering people, fostering a city focused on active travel, and encouraging more people to ditch their engines, a cultural shift in the corridors of power is essential.
Where I live people park on the sidewalks everywhere and there’s no way in heaven a parent with a pram or a wheelchair user could pass on the sidewalk – so they’re forced to stand in the middle of the road.
I know that the houses on many adjoining streets were built long before everyone had a car.
But there has to be a solution that will make urban areas better places to live than the car-strewn streets we have now.
A good starting point would be resident-only parking systems.
I’ve been asking for updates on the progress of a decade-old proposal in my area for over a year.
All you get in return is “we’re waiting to see how the Belfast pilot goes”.
How long does it take ?
Ignoring this city-wide glitch won’t fix the problem anymore, guys.
People are fed up with inconsiderate people blocking their front doors with cars so close you can barely get out – especially when there is very reasonable municipal parking just around the corner!
I’ve made stories about the plight of people in Belfast living near RVH where hospital staff crowd the surrounding streets – and Belfast Live recently covered the continued blocking of sidewalks on city center streets.
Belfast man Dominic Bryan says he is fed up with trucks, vans and cars blocking cycle lanes.
The longtime cyclist highlights what he comes up against almost daily on Twitter.
“It’s really a reflection of my continued resentment,” he told me.
“There are a number of things. The slow pace of building a decent network in Belfast, number one.
“Secondly, the nature of what is put in place.
“A lot of times the ones they highlight as bike lanes have parking so you can park there.
“Up the Shankill is a completely useless cycle route. People park there all the time, so might as well not be there.
“Thirdly, when they put up a pretty nice bike path that runs along the Lagan, you come across continuous parking.
“On top of all that – we live in North Belfast on Limestone Road – and they’re supposed to put a cycle lane there which they’ve started and stopped since.
“People are very frustrated.
“That’s because the power of the car is huge,” he added.
“I met truckers when they were stuck near Dock Street. I simply asked them ‘why don’t you go ahead and block the road in front of you?’ and they will say ‘no, I will do that’.
“You are blocking my path. They don’t want to see a roadblock – but a bike path – you’re just an easy fayre.
“To get rid of my frustration, I just tweet the blocks.”
Dominic says he would like a better app and improved cycling infrastructure.
“Appropriate infrastructure where cycling is safe and part of daily life in Belfast,” he explained.
“You can look to other parts of the world where they do.
“In the Netherlands, where they are great cyclists, it wasn’t until they put the infrastructure in place in the 1970s that they were.
“They weren’t just born cyclists – they had the policy and infrastructure in place to allow that to happen.
“If you look at some of the surveys that have been done, for post-primary schools, the number of children who cycle to school is less than 1%.
“There are secondary schools that don’t even have bike racks.
“More students travel to school by car than by bicycle.”
We learned this week that Belfast still only has a paltry two miles of separate cycle lanes.
The Sustrans report highlighted how behind we are in delivering and planning for a healthier, happier future with active travel at its heart.
Our streets should be places where parents are happy to let their children play, walk and cycle.
But instead, we have miles and miles of trails lined with cars and inconsiderate drivers blocking sidewalks and bike lanes.
Yet our heads of infrastructure seem unable to align their staff with what needs to happen.
It’s time they prepare for a healthier future, starting with banning such behavior.
The island before love
While Love Island isn’t exactly my cup of tea (sorry!) – I’m over the moon the hottest show of the summer is dressing contestants in pre-loved clothes in a major fashion boost second hand.
The popular TV show made eBay its first pre-loved fashion partner.
Together, they’re on a mission to empower the ever-growing movement that’s changing the way we shop for clothes.
The islanders will wear pre-loved clothing for the first time with a shared wardrobe located in the new villa.
Living in the “eat, sleep, put back, repeat” mentality, viewers can expect to see them show off outfits that reflect their personality and individuality while doing their part to extend the life cycle of clothing.
It’s great to see the show use its platform to encourage behavioral change that will help the planet and people’s pockets as the cost of living soars and the impacts of climate change become more and more more obvious.
Congratulations to Loreto College Coleraine who won the post-primary prize in Trocaire’s “Game Changers” environmental competition for their game Planet Pursuit.
Their game focused on the effects of climate change and was based on the game of Trivial Pursuit.
Trócaire Game Changers, now in its fourth year, is an annual competition run by the charity’s development education team, which helps students discover issues facing people in developing countries. development through workshops in schools across the country.
The judges said they were blown away by the quality and creativity of the 212 games entered into the competition.
Caoimhe de Barra, CEO of Trócaire, said: “The Game Changers program provides students with a great opportunity to explore the SDGs, be creative and raise awareness of global justice issues, while also providing students with the opportunity to learn from each other.
I know I’ve bitched quite a bit this week about parking on bike paths and trails.
But just imagine having a child-friendly city where parents could safely walk or cycle their children to school.
This week I got a taste of what it was like as three schools in North Belfast organized a week-long walk to school.
The excitement and joy on their little faces was classy to see as they chatted with friends on their walking buses.
I would love to see the pilot project rolled out across the city, where it will undoubtedly have the same impact!
I know time is pretty precious in our time poor society, but with a little planning, there’s no reason more parents can’t encourage more programs like this to help them quit. the car, to reduce traffic and pollution!
Why not give it a go?!
Read more:The governments fueling the climate crisis are ‘dangerous radicals’
Read more:Ulster Fry rocket prices because of the war in Ukraine
To get the latest news straight to your inbox, sign up for our free newsletter.