Urban streets are much enhanced by trees that provide shade, encourage biodiversity and improve the visual appeal. With the appropriate management they are an asset to residential areas, high streets and major transport routes.
Urban designers and engineers are working to assess this vital asset and nurture a thriving future for trees of all shapes and sizes.
October and November sees the leaves change into magical colours of golds, russets and reds and teams of street cleaners work hard to sweep them up.
Street design for safe cycling is priority for many urban environments to encourage more people to use healthy and sustainable transport modes. The designs have many challenges with bus and cycling routes often within close proximity. Floating bus stops are one option which allows cyclist to undertake at a bus stop in a segregated lane. But these are not without some concern as the bus passengers have to cross cycle lanes to get to the bus stop.
Seattle has probably nearly the most innovative street art which can only be seen when the pavements are wet. The works are temporary lasting from 4-12 months and environmentally safe. The art is deal for the British climate to solve those ‘Rainy Day Blues’ and perhaps even provide valuable information to reduce the chance of getting splashed.
Artist, Peregrine Church first came up with the idea after seeing the material being used on clothing. He has many around Seattle, see more at: rain.works
To have all weather fun just bring your own bucket.
Next steps. The government is about to change the Electronic Communications Code. This is the statutory regulation that controls phone boxes on our streets. At present it is too lax. It needs tighter restrictions on the placing of phone kiosks on pavements so that councils can require the removal of kiosks that are in poor condition, etc.
Electronic Communications apparatus means any apparatus designed or adapted for use in connection with the provision of electronic communications, any apparatus designed or adapted for this use, any line and any other structure or thing designed or adapted for this use.
So if this is a problem in your area send robust evidence such as: derelict kiosk; kiosk as an obstruction on the pavement; less public need for kiosks; kiosk as a trojan horse for other installations or uses.
We suggest the code should state that: kiosks be excluded from the definition of Electronic Communications Apparatus; the right of operators to install apparatus should be removed unless there is a reference to other approvals processes; there should be a requirement that any equipment meets certain tests (e.g. a minimum distance between them) to avoid lines of kiosks filling a pavement.
To be positive, apparatus should be shared by several operators and existing structures such as lamp columns could be adapted for use as electronic communications apparatus.
The deadline for comments is 30 April 2015. Go to the government website https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-reforming-the-electronic-communications-code
Transport Minister The Rt Hon John Hayes MP gave a remarkable speech on 4th February 2015, setting out his agenda for Beautiful Roads in towns, villages, cities and linking roads. It was a new aesthetic vision for the strategic road network – a systematic reconsideration of road design. Mr. Hayes offered a 5 point plan.
Every project to be rooted in its locality to enhance the natural landscape and involve local people in its planning.
A fresh approach that ensures all involved in the contractual processes, work together to deliver the strategy.
A new Design Panel of architects, engineers, highway authorities and construction businesses to bring together visionaries and practitioners.
A new set of design principles which will include the objective that all we create should be a pleasure to look at.
A fundamental shift to make Highways England (responsible for our motorways and trunk roads) an exemplar of good design.
Bringing greening to a town center or city is challenging with every space already used but with a little innovation and creativity the smallest of spaces can be planted.
Bollards with greening is one option. Designs can suit the character of the street with minimal steel, for a contemporary solution, while the adapted heritage bollards in Paris have an honest integrity with free form planting and a joie de vive !!