Last week an anonymous looking circular popped through the letterbox. When picking up this standard looking mailing there was little to give away the secrets of it’s revolutionary contents.
Our local council, in an inspired moment of lucidity, has done what would have been considered treacherous only a few years ago. It is proposing the creation of a 20mph zone covering a reasonably sized area of Bath.
In a move, which restores my faith in local Government and democracy as a force for positive change, the council are putting people before cars. No doubt there will be much derision and banging of tables but this move signals a possible sea change in our relationship with the place we live where we take control back.
Bath spends much of it’s day in gridlock or as a series of interconnected rat runs. This beautiful city wasn’t built for cars and yet they have dominated debate and discussion with any proposal to restrict them, however small, dismissed as the death knell of commerce.
Yet here we have a simple solution to the notion that people play a secondary role to cars, buses and vans. By creating a 20mph zone the council is sending out a signal that the residents of Bath matter to the social, commercial and environmental well being of the city. It’s people that make a city.
By slowing traffic down we would create a place more conducive to that sense of community and we would reclaim the city as a place for wandering, recreation and play.
This consultation is something to be lauded and supported. Local democracy can still lead and inspire in an age of reality TV. And we need civic leaders that help to create cities that are wonderful places to live.