Rhiannon Hardiman, Manager for Living Streets Cymru, explains the changes that are being proposed for Castle Street in Cardiff and how residents can respond to a new consultation.
Cardiff Council is asking residents whether private vehicles should be allowed to continue to use the city’s Castle Street. As a busy commuter route for people on foot and bicycles and a hotspot for tourists, this also happens to be the part of the city with the worst levels of air pollution.
Residents may remember a similar consultation, the Castle Street Clean Air Scheme, not so long ago. But with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic changing how we use and value our streets and public spaces, Cardiff Council is again consulting residents and asking them to choose between two options for one of the capital’s busiest roads.
Option 1 would see a remodelling of Castle Street to allow two lanes of general traffic plus a westbound bus lane and would benefit from wider footways and a two-way cycle lane. However, with private vehicles still permitted to use this route in both directions, this would only go some way to improve the air quality. It could also be less effective at encouraging people to walk or cycle in this historic part of the city because they might be put off by traffic and congestion.
Option 2 would ban private vehicles and bring substantially more benefit for active travel and air quality. It would also see lanes remodelled, but this time with a bus and taxi lane in both directions and no access to private vehicles (except for deliveries at permitted times). Wider footways on both sides would also feature as well as the same two-way cycle lane as seen in option 1.
This alternative option offers an excellent opportunity not only to improve our walking and cycling infrastructure, but more importantly, to encourage much needed behaviour change in how we get around the city.
These plans do not include an option to stop all vehicles (as emergency vehicles, buses and taxis – and delivery vehicles at specific times – would be permitted to travel through), but by making more of the city centre a low traffic area, it would create a wider perception of safety – both from moving vehicles and air pollution. Walking in or near the area would also be a more pleasant experience with reduced traffic severance reconnecting the city with the castle.
The overall effect could see many more residents persuaded to leave their cars at home as they travel to or through the city.
If you live in Cardiff, you can express your views in the Castle Street – Keeping Cardiff Moving consultation. The consultation closes on Monday 10 May 2021.
Public health. Air pollution Climate change. Transport. These are all big issues in the 2021 Senedd Cymru elections.
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