Do we want a place for cars …. or a place for people? Unfortunately we can’t have both – it doesn’t work. We need to prioritise.
The top priority of the Better Beaufort Action Plan is to create a great place for people of all ages.
Traditional town centres like Beaufort Street need to compete in different ways if they are to be successful. The community has told us that their biggest concern is the domination of cars and traffic around Beaufort Street. It often doesn’t feel safe or pleasant to be a cyclist or pedestrian. Cars are great, but they need to support the place rather than dominating our street.
Attracting people is the key to creating a great place and supporting local businesses. We need to attract more people, particularly on weekdays, which are currently quiet times for the street. This can be achieved by creating a pedestrian-friendly street and places to sit and relax.
“If you plan for people and places, you get people and places. It is not true that more traffic and road capacity are the inevitable results of growth. They are in fact the products of very deliberate choices that have been made to shape our communities to accommodate the private automobile. We have the ability to make different choices — starting with the decision to design our streets as comfortable and safe places — for people on foot, not people in cars.” Project for Public Spaces
“We’re looking at our streets as valuable public places, and we need to make it easier and safer for people to walk around and bike…. Good streets are good business.” Janette Sadik-Khan, New York City Transport Commissioner
People are attracted to spaces that feel comfortable, welcoming and safe. Turning a forgotten space into a thriving place is similar to turning a house into a home. Things that make a home feel interesting and comfortable: people, comfortable furniture, conversation, food and drink etc – are also critical ingredients to creating a great place. We need to make people “feel at home” on the street.
“If a modern city wants lively streets and a vibrant public realm, it has to provide public space as a fundamental prerequisite. As today’s citizens have more options on how to spend their time, they will only spend it in the public realm if it is of high quality and accessibility is easy and convenient.” ‘Perth 2009: Public Spaces, Public Life’ Gehl Architects
This kind of thinking is pretty simple. Yet we often make it hard to do simple things.
There are lots of things we can do that are often very cheap. We can try new things to see what works best on Beaufort Street.
We have lots of ideas on this website and examples of what the Beaufort Street Network is doing to create a Better Beaufort Street.
Creating places for people is the best way to make Beaufort Street a socially, economically and environmentally successful place.