OK I've had posts this last few days on Random Stroud and Strange Stroud well here is Future Stroud - tomorrow is the last day to give in your comments on the Public Realm Strategy.
Photo; Stroud Saturday from Woodruffs cafe
The Strategy is worth a look - download it from here. I personally give it a very warm welcome. There is much to applaud but as always delivery is key. We have had many exciting schemes before but they don't translate into reality. This has a better chance as it is put together by various stakeholder groups. The plans include many suggestions like knocking down the wall at the top of the High Street to open up the top part to more pedestrian traffic and banning cars from George Street.
Some quick observations I made:
- the work with the Cycle and Pedestrian Forum has highlighted the importance of strong pedestrian and cycle linkages and the need for good facilities like undercover racks. However cycling does also not find its way into the Executive Summary of the Strategy for the public realm. The importance of increasing walking and cycling should not be underestimated particularly in a world of rising energy costs that is already impacting on the use of cars. I have some concerns that the Action Plan does not allow for these measures re cycling and walking to be borne in mind at each step and given the priority they need.
- while fountains and additional lighting can play an important role in creating public spaces I would wish their maintenance and energy costs be borne in mind. I have seen too many fountains not gushing due to vandalism or costs of repair.
- would like to emphasis the importance of trees. Stroud is lacking in trees.
Infact the report raises many of the issues I covered in two reports back in 2005 - Better Streets for Stroud District - they are still worth a read as they also look at a Shared Spaces approach to managing traffic.