About that “next” we were talking about…

Cardiff Council is to put forward its plan for how a socially-distanced Cardiff City Centre will function and it’s pretty exciting.

A greater emphasis on outdoor space, reducing vehicle traffic with match-day style restrictions and providing dining and “spill out” spaces both inside and outside the castle grounds.

Of particular interest to us is the cycling plans, which include:

  • Delivering a comprehensive network of ‘pop-up’ cycle ways linking city centre, local centres, major destinations, schools, and transport/demand hubs
  • Providing additional cycle parking in key locations in the city centre and local centres
  • Reviewing the potential for creating ‘park and pedal’ sites.

The plans are outlined in an impressive document produced in conjunction with Arup, which you can read here.

Also, our friend Daniel has mapped out the proposed cycle lanes here.

“To help we are looking at delivering a ‘pop-up’ cycleway network to encourage people who can, to cycle into the city centre or their neighbourhood centres rather than drive. We will also look at providing additional cycle parking in key locations in the city centre and in our neighbourhood centres. We will review the potential for creating ‘park and pedal’ sites and we will install bus priority measures such as bus gates to maximise the capacity of buses by minimising journey times and ensuring reliability of services.”

Cardiff’s plans to exit lockdown as one of UK’s ‘safest’ cities revealed
Castle Street – stunning landmark, wide open space, horrendous road.

Thoughts…

Cardiff is such a beautiful city, with an amazing castle acting as a centrepiece to a capital that has come a long way since starting life as a Roman settlement in 79AD. Prior to COVID-19 this historic monument was merely an exterior wall to a noisy, polluted traffic sewer. These plans, along with the soon-to-be-permanent cycle lane now running along it, should make Castle Street and the castle grounds the place to hang out, eat and spend your time.

The local economy is going to depend upon those businesses that can operate in the open air (or over the internet) and can manage to serve socially-distanced customers at scale, which just isn’t going to be possible inside with a quarter of the usual space (unless you have a Tardis). It seems fitting that Cardiff’s castle will once again take pride of place in this new start.

With Queen Street and High Street already pedestrianised, the potential for adding more space for people along Castle Street is huge and I’m genuinely excited to see how it’ll look when it’s all done. I have no doubt that walking in designated lanes and parking our bikes at the gates is going to take some getting used to, but if it means people can get back to something resembling normal life, it’s going to be worth it.

However, don’t take my word for it. Have a read of the document (linked above) and let us know what you think. The plan goes to the Cabinet on the 11th June, so hopefully it’ll be rubber-stamped and implemented soon after.

Black Lives Matter

Given everything that is going on right now, I feel it would be wrong to gloss over recent events. As you will know, George Floyd, a 46 year old from Texas, but had been living in Minneapolis for a few years, died after being choked by a police officer.

The officer has since been charged with murder, but not before a wave of protests swept the world.

The protests, sparked by the death of George Floyd in the US, are being held in cities including London, Manchester, Cardiff, Leicester and Sheffield. In London, protesters knelt for a minute’s silence before chanting “no justice, no peace” and “black lives matter”.

George Floyd death: Thousands turn out for UK anti-racism protests – BBC News

The most recent statistics from the Home Office (via the BBC) and Ministry of Justice show:

  • In 2018-19, black people were more than nine times as likely to be stopped and searched by police as white people.
  • They were over three times as likely to be arrested as white people.
  • They were more than five times as likely to have force used against them by police as white people.
  • A quarter of the prison population comes from BAME backgrounds, despite representing just 14% of the population. In young offenders institutions, this increases to 50%.

We need to challenge prejudice at all levels, whether that is among our peers or in our institutions, in our press and in our politicians. It’s not enough to not be racist, we need to be anti-racist.

One thing we can all do right now is learn. Helpfully, BLM Cardiff has compiled a list of documentaries on a variety of streaming platforms. It’s also worth giving them a follow if you’re on Twitter –or on Facebook. For starters, there’s a heck of a speech from actor John Boyega here.

There’s also a GoFundMe for BlackLivesMatter UK here that you may be interested in supporting.

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