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Showing posts with label Connecting Places. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Connecting Places. Show all posts

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Connecting Places Mini Series: Bicycling Belfast: Part 4: Beyond Commuting - Active Travel and Local Economies

In this series, Connecting Places, we explore the spaces, places and sustainable transport systems in Belfast and beyond, with an aim to generate critical debate on the design of our towns and cities.
Series curated by Aaron Coulter 

For previous posts from this series click here


Part 4: Beyond Commuting - Active Travel and Local Economies



Active Travel and Local Economies
(Credit: Aaron Coulter)
Naturally, a lot of focus throughout this week has been placed on bicycle access to Belfast City Centre. One reason for this is the fact that most of the statistical information gathered regards commuting and 19.5% of all trips taken in Northern Ireland, by all modes, are to get to work (TSNI, P23, 2008-2010).


However, a significant percentage of journeys are also made for shopping (20.1%) and Leisure (22.5%) (TSNI, P23, 2008-2010). Tackling these trips, as well as the more obvious commuting trips, could be a highly beneficial strategy for our ailing local centres in Belfast.


In this penultimate post of Bicycling Belfast, we will investigate the potential regenerative effect of improving levels of access for both the bicycle and pedestrian to our local centres.


Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Connecting Places Mini Series: Bicycling Belfast: Part 3: Belfast - a bicycle city in the making?

In this series, Connecting Places, we explore the spaces, places and sustainable transport systems in Belfast and beyond, with an aim to generate critical debate on the design of our towns and cities.
Series curated by Aaron Coulter 

For previous posts from this series click here

Part 3: Belfast - A cycling city in the making?
‘Belfast is a city for cyclists; it has all the advantages of cycling in Amsterdam but without the swarms of other bicycles. This Victorian city, steeped in culture and industrial heritage, is just waiting to be discovered by bike.' 
Source: Go to Belfast 

In part 3 of Bicycling Belfast we will be investigating the city’s current cycling infrastructure to find out how close to reality this statement is. Is Belfast really a city for cyclists, or is the comparison to Amsterdam just a bit too far fetched?

Belfast - a city for cyclists?
(Credit: Aaron Coulter)

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Connecting Places Mini Series: Bicycling Belfast: Part 2: An International Perspective

In this series, Connecting Places, we explore the spaces, places and sustainable transport systems in Belfast and beyond, with an aim to generate critical debate on the design of our towns and cities.
Series curated by Aaron Coulter

For previous posts from this series click here 

Part 2: An International Perspective

Broadly speaking, cycling cities can be split into two categories - ‘traditional’ cycling cities such as Copenhagen and Amsterdam and then those who have recently taken up the challenge to improve cycling conditions such as New York, London and Dublin (among many others). In this article we will be asking ‘What can Belfast learn from these cities?’

Copenhagen
(Credit: Blue Granola)

Monday, 27 February 2012

Connecting Places Mini Series: Bicycling Belfast: Part 1: Debunking the Myth

In this series, Connecting Places, we explore the spaces, places and sustainable transport systems in Belfast and beyond, with an aim to generate critical debate on the design of our towns and cities.
Series curated by Aaron Coulter

For background info on Bicycling Belfast click here.

Part 1: Debunking the Myth
“As a result of varying levels of congestion, topography and land-use, a blanket citywide approach to providing a cycle network is unlikely to be appropriate in Belfast.” 
Bicycling Belfast
(Credit: Aaron Coulter)
In a country where 65% of all trips taken are under 5 miles in distance, and in a city where up to 70% of inhabitants in some inner city areas do not have access to a car, can we really say that cycling should have no significant future in Belfast? What if we take an more analytical approach to the somewhat subjective claims put forward by DRD? Does Belfast have what it takes to become a ‘cycling city’, or are there too many obstacles in the way? 


Friday, 24 February 2012

Connecting Places Mini Series: Bicycling Belfast

In this series, Connecting Places, we explore the spaces, places and sustainable transport systems in Belfast and beyond, with an aim to generate critical debate on the design of our towns and cities.
Series curated by Aaron Coulter

Bicycling Belfast: Prelude



Cycling accounts for 0.6% of trips in NI
(Credit: Aaron Coulter)


In recent years there has been a renewed interest from major cities throughout the world in diversifying transportation choices in an effort to reduce dependancy on the private car and improve quality of life for their citizens. These initiatives are often characterised with a rebalancing of capital expenditure priorities in order to accommodate higher levels of spending on more sustainable forms of transport, including walking, cycling, and public transit schemes.

However, despite over a decade of policy initiatives aimed at reducing car dependency in Northern Ireland, transport budgets here are still overwhelmingly in favour of the private car. In 2010 the then Minister for Regional Development, Conor Murphy, not only dedicated 62% of the overall transport budget to the car, a total of £250,000,000, but also cut Belfast’s cycling budget by 98% to £8,000 (Belfast Telegraph). Given this, it is unsurprising that Belfast is currently rated the 3rd most congested city in the United Kingdom and ranks within the top ten most congested cities in Europe.

It is in within this context, and as part of an ongoing process of generating debate on sustainable transport in Northern Ireland through the Connecting Places series, that throughout next week a mini series titled ‘Bicycling Belfast’ will investigate the potential of increasing cycling’s modal share in the city.

Join us next week on the PLACE blog and follow the conversation with Aaron on Twitter #bicyclingbelfast

Friday, 23 December 2011

Connecting Places: Bus Rapid Transit - panacea or placebo?

In this series, Connecting Places, we explore the spaces, places and sustainable transport systems in Belfast and beyond, with an aim to generate critical debate on the design of our towns and cities.


Series curated by Aaron Coulter
Article by Aaron Coulter and Gary Potter


The deadline to be involved in the public consultation on Belfast's proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) routes is coming to a close on 6th January 2012. The routes and accompanying documentation can be viewed until 6th January in the city centre at Department for Regional Development, and in East and West Belfast at the East Belfast Partnership and West Belfast Partnership respectively.


Transport Minister Danny Kennedy, in outlining the reasoning for the introduction of a BRT system,  states:
"We need a transportation system that can accommodate the future demands of Belfast, both its people and businesses. We need to reprioritise how we travel and change our travel behaviour to encourage a shift away from the private car and towards public transport. By working together we can make public transport, into, within and across Belfast, safer, cleaner and more attractive for everyone."
http://www.northernireland.gov.uk/121011-drd-rapid-transit-network?WT.mc_id=rss-news

It would be hard to find fault with the statement above, but as the deadline for public consultation on the proposed routes draws near, one key question comes to the fore: will the BRT be the cure to Belfast's transportation woes?

Bus Rapid Transit - the solution?
Google Images

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Connecting Places: What is the cost of free parking?

In this series, Connecting Places, we explore the spaces, places and sustainable transport systems in Belfast and beyond, with an aim to generate critical debate on the design of our towns and cities.

Series curated by Aaron Coulter

Last week Transport Minister Danny Kennedy announced free on-street parking in Belfast, Lisburn and Newry city centres, coming into effect from Monday 5th December until 24th December, with fees being suspended from 4.30pm Monday to Friday and all day on Saturdays.

The decision has been largely met with approval by consumers and retailers alike, with retailers anticipating an increase in sales in the run up to Christmas due to the perceived ease of access to the city centre for those arriving by car.

However, is there a cost associated with free parking, and if so, what is it?

'No Coins? No Problem!'

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Connecting Places: Why occupy Writer's Square?

In this new series, Connecting Places, we explore the spaces, places and sustainable transport systems in Belfast and beyond, with an aim to generate critical debate on the design of our towns and cities.

Series curated by Aaron Coulter




Writer's Square - Belfast's Best Public Space? From Bing Maps - edited by Aaron Coulter.

At 1370m² Writer's Square is one of the largest public spaces in Belfast's city centre and plays host to a variety of festivals and one off events throughout the year. The square was completed in 2002 by the Laganside Corporation. Then Chief Executive Mike Smith said:
"The new public space will be an important environmental asset to the area, creating somewhere pleasant to walk and relax... literary inscriptions will ensure that Writer's Square is welcomed as somewhere to enjoy, and a place to gather inspiration rather than pass through." - Mike Smith, BBC News website, January 2002
Despite these intentions, the square is widely regarded one of the most poorly designed spaces in Belfast and for the majority of the year, when there is not a specially curated programme of events, Writer's Square is a largely derelict and windswept space and 'passing through' it is often a last resort.

So why have the Occupy Belfast movement set up camp here?