29 Jul 2010

St Albans Car Free Day 26th September 2010 (aka In Town Without My Car)

Hosted by St Albans District Council (SADC)

This Post will be updated as various aspects of the event are developed - take everything here as a jumble of  'Provisional wild ideas' until marked as 'Confirmed'.

STACC will be supporting the event  - we are having a stall in the marquee and hope to organise cycling  activities.

I spoke to SADC on 11 Aug only to find that St Peter's Street will NOT be closed on the day - as had been hoped. (SADC did try, but it was agreed that only a full closure of the street to all motor traffic would have enabled the street space to be used for street games etc. This would have meant disrupting bus services,  contrary to the aims of Car Free Day - which is to encourage all forms of sustainable transport.)  I fully accept this - no further argument needed.

I suggested instead that streets without bus routes near the city centre should be closed to motor vehicles (eg. Market Place, Drovers' Way & Bricket Road) which, together with the open spaces around the Arena/City Offices should give plenty of space for different concurrent events/routes. This is being considered.
SADC are very keen to have as many activities as possible.
Having a network of car-freed streets & spaces  lends itself more readily to such events as Mike's (see comment) suggested alley cat races, than does the closure of St Peter's St.

We are looking for imaginative ideas related to cycling - submit yours by adding comments to this post (its very easy).
(Do not put your email address in comments, if you are a STACC member you can use your membership number and first name as a nickname when submitting comments, then I will be able to look up your contact details, so we can follow up your idea.)

Non-cycling ideas can be submitted either by comments - as above  - or directly to SADC Sustainability Officer Candice on  01727 819466.

Keep watching this post - you can jump straight here by using the short URL  http://goo.gl/T7IF
(Don't forget to click on comments to see what ideas others have submitted so far, then help to improve on them.)

Some initial cycling ideas....
slow bike race
bike races for children
stunt bike displays...come all you BMXers
races: racing bike, mountain bike, recumbents...
mobility scooter races
family / utility bike / trike solutions
bike shops presence + Dr Bike
I guess that any races would  would be over skill challenging obstacle courses rather than sheer speed.

Non-Cycling ideas using available car-freed space.....
(Those not viable without St Peter's St are struck out)
5-a-side footie and/or other games - tennis, volley ball etc.
foot races - egg and spoon,  three-legged
treasure hunts - observing hidden bits of the city centre 
skating  - blades/skateboard 
Anyone with a land-yatch?
Fly control line model aircraft. Use top deck of  Bricket Road car park.  (Model flyers have good safety rules & discipline)
Model car racing
Music - marching/folk/rock.
Dancing folk/morris by those who can,  plus conger/barn - for those who can't. 
Food & Drink - out in the open - already in SADC plan.
## I note in the Review 11/8/10 page 3, that Hertfordshire Police choir are seeking opportunities to perform - suggest they be contacted.

Additions (11 Aug)
I have suggested that the middle floor of the Bricket Road car park be used all through the day for skating (board/roller-blade & hockey if viable) requires little organisation (participants of all ages generally seem to be able to organise themselves). Being considered by SADC.

In fact all floors of this car park might as well be closed leaving three all-weather spaces for events yet to be thought of, events intended for outdoors might readily be moved under cover.
I looked at it today and find that it could be used imaginatively for a number of activities. In fact it has a sufficient area to more than compensate for the 'loss' of St Peter's St. The floor is smooth & in good condition, the up/down ramps to the top deck lend themselves to being used in a more challenging bike route. I guess that the low roof  beams and pillars would lend extra spice to five-a-side footie.
The lower deck has less daylight filtering in so might be less suitable for activities - but hold in reserve anyway.
More than one activity can be held on each deck.
There need be no time limit to use, as would have been the case with St Peter's St.
Using the Car Park has a neat CFD logic, in that it assigns space for people to enjoy, rather than to cars.
If SADC put up reasons why a car park can't be used for other purposes, my advice to them is to try harder.
By the magic of the car-parking space indicator boards on city approaches, the car park can be shown as closed.

Care should be taken with the siting of the marquee & market stalls - not near a loud music system.
Also need to leave the limited car-freed space available for fun events.

Publicity Needed to engage the folks - especially the young - of St Albans as soon as possible. Only six weeks to go.
Give CFD a high profile in Community News Wrap - (this is supposed to be issued in September, but seems to have been rather haphazard - need to confirm that the next issue will be September then  need to reserve some front page space for CFD).
Get Councillors engaged with the idea and spread it to their Wards.
The event indicator boards on city approaches should give advance notice of CFD, (starting about now).
The message nearer the date should include the advice 'WALK IT! BIKE IT! BUS IT!'
(It seems that the method of making the indicator boards alternately advertise more than one event in a timed cycle has not yet been mastered.)
## SADC are expecting to have a Car Free Day page on their website, indicating progress during the planning stages. 
## Members of the Environmental Forum should be able to come up with further event ideas. They should be circulated now. (Next Forum meeting is 13th September).

Meeting on Friday 13th Aug with SADC and invited participating orgs (inc STACC).
Young people should be included in the organisation stage, so they can tell us what they want.

Post updated throughout: 11/8/10       
## Afterthoughts 12/8/10 shown thus


Mike1727 said...

Alleycat race if we can get away with it.. otherwise a bike sure hunt.

Mike1727 said...

Treasure hunt, even.

Peter S said...

If you haven't come across the site already - but from your AKA I think you have - the European Mobility Week website is a good source of information and inspiration, offering tools (see the Tools / Publications and Manuals section) and examples of what other cities are doing and have done in previous years.

Our Car Free Day is just outside this year's European Mobility Week, which runs from Thursday 16th September to Wednesday 22nd September, but this year's theme, "Travel Smarter, Live Better", and the ideas on how to get the message across (e.g. the Thematic Guidelines in the Tools section), are still useful.

As always, we "just" need to find the people to take some of these ideas forward and make them happen in St Albans...

Anonymous said...

Air quality monitors SA02 and SA03 on holywell hill and st peters street could add significant value to the whole day.


These meters will record on the day itself the measured evidence of the reduction in NOx emissions, and therefore of the benefit to public health and reduced expense on public health services.

Collecting this evidence should make it much easier to take action to reduce traffic even further in future.

The meter reading are logged here (although I cant get onto it at the moment)



Anonymous said...

How about asking the public to take as many photos as possible of potential locations for additional bicycle stands dotted around the city centre.

There could be a prize for the top 3 locations as judged by STACC.

The best 10 or so could be presented for further review to the Council in a portfolio.

The location must be spatious enough for at least two bikes to be secured without causing disruption to everyday pedestrians and trafic (including those on mobility scooters).