Cut The Clutter

Living Streets Week Of Action Week Of Action 2022 (11-17 July).

Pavement clutter might seem trivial, but it is a serious problem.

It can make getting around hazardous, especially for disabled people, older people and those with young children. If we really want our streets to be safer and easier for walking, it’s time to tackle this.

Living Streets

The Living Streets Cambridge group are campaigning at a local level. Blogger, vlogger, local historian, community reporter and all-round good egg, Antony Carpen, has filmed this short video highlighting some of the issues. Mill Road Bridges is happy to support this week of action.

Video by Antony Carpen for Living Streets, Cambridge

Antony produced this video without charge for Living Streets Cambridge. (Maybe we should say ‘pro bono’, this being Cambridge). If you would like to support his work please consider visiting Antony’s Ko-fi crowd-funding page and making a donation.

Then take a look at Antony’s blogs – The Cambridge Town Owl and Lost Cambridge – which are both well worth a read.

In an earlier blogpost – Pavements for Pedestrians – we have highlighted the hazard posed by the misuse of Mill Road’s pavement by vehicles parking, loading and unloading, together with the failure of Cambridgeshire County Council to exercise their powers to prevent this, at no additional cost to council tax payers. (And it’s not just a problem for Mill Road.)

Living Streets (nationally) is calling for local authorities to prioritise clearing footways and pavements through measures including (but not limited to):

  1. Banning all A-board advertising on the pavement
  2. Putting in place plans and budget to remove excess or unused street furniture (eg signs and poles, guard rail and utility boxes or phone boxes)
  3. Providing guidance to businesses using pavement space for outdoor entertainment that they must maintain a 1.5m pavement width
  4. Ensuring maintenance of trees and hedges that encroach on pavements
  5. Making a commitment that EV charging points and cycle storage will only be placed on pavements where 1.5m clearance width for pedestrians can be maintained; where there is insufficient space on the footway road space should be reallocated eg through the use of well-designed build outs.
  6. Ensuring that rental e-scooter parking is placed on the carriageway, and not on pavements – there is no need to sacrifice pedestrian space in order to support micromobility.
Living Streets

Some poor (and good) practice along Mill Road

Traditional street furniture
Bus stop near to al:amin stores, Mill Road. other details as caption.
Traditional bus stop replaced by passenger information board…
But the old pole remains, and the siting of the control box is out of line with the new pole.
Image as caption
Litter and recycling bins by Cho Mee stores, Mill Road. But why here?
This doesn’t seem like a litter hot-spot.

Image as caption
Wheelie-bins block the pavement on a side-street
A Rogues Gallery of vehicles along Mill Road’s pavements

Cycle stands
Image as caption
Cycle stands by Tu Casa obstruct the whole of the footway.
The area to the left is, legally, Tu Casa’s forecourt.
And, if they would like to have some outdoor seating, what then?
Cycle stands near the dry cleaner's on Mill Road.
Cycle stands on a shop forecourt are better, but cycles may ‘drift’ onto the footway.

The display-boards seen behind the cycle stands are on shop forecourts, but how many pedestrians know the difference?

The cycle stands in the slideshow below, however, are much better sited, being off the footway and well to the side of any pedestrian desire-lines.

If you would like to help cut the clutter on Cambridge’s streets, email Living Streets Cambridge.

You are also welcome to leave (polite) comments below.

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2 Comments (Don't forget to scroll down to subscribe to website updates.)
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Edward Jenkins
12 July 2022 21:02

As for the large waste bins outside businesses, stores etc, these should be collected and taken back into premises soon after being emptied, and business owners fined, should they fail to comply.
Then of course there’s the phenomenon of pavement parking, which the Councils and Police have deliberately failed to enforce with penalties, despite having received the necessary legislation some 10 years ago!?

Edward Jenkins
12 July 2022 20:49

The points made about A-frames and furniture are important but difficult to deal with as these are usually present on the business owned areas, however there should be penalties applied/enforced when these are obviously placed on the public right of way (ie the pavement),
Having said this, there are dangers presented by such placements anywhere outside businesses, even on privately owned areas, to pedestrians with restricted vision/vision-impsired/blind etc, and a useful requirement would be to surround furniture placements with substantial, lightweight barriers, to help prevent such prdestrians becoming dangerously entangled when walking past.
Also the points about badly positioned bicycle parking facilities and waste containers are valid and should be reviewed by the County/City Councils.
However having said this, the most dangerous element of walking on Cambridge pavements is the burgeoning presence of electric scooters and bicycles, traveling quickly, silently and without due care and attention!

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