Monday 3 June 2013

Playing Out

After a hairy road crossing at the bottom of Lyme Regis (reminds me of our school journey), you're onto the beach.  You can relax and let the kids run about (or pin them down with rocks, depending on how you're feeling).

It's a completely different feeling to the anxiety, watching out for your kids walking along a road in Kings Heath - enough nearly to turn you into a swivel-eyed loon, dashing over to stop your child picking a daisy from the kerb... Just in case they fall into the road.  But deep down you know you wouldn't have got there in time.  Especially if you live on a road with lots of speeding traffic, narrow pavements and a general intolerance of other road/pavement users.   Is it better to block a pavement with your car or block the traffic on the road?  Why is it OK for car drivers to shout at cyclists?  And what is it that everyone hates about dog owners?

So why do we just accept the risks, the anxiety, the misery we are putting ourselves through?   Can anyone argue our roads and pavements are as safe as they should be?

 Sustrans and other organisations are doing what they can.  Locally too there are things we can do to open conversation and bring about change.  Car Culture is a project continuing to explore our road use - there is also the Live in Hope campaign and a new initiative to start playing out in Kings Heath.

Yesterday saw Goldsmith Road and Westfield Road in Kings Heath closed to traffic for street parties to do with the big lunch.  They are two of up to six which may be closing on 7th August 2013 for National Playday.  So far there has been a great response to the possibility of closing roads to traffic in Kings Heath - possibly because everyone is too aware of the problems we have.  Traffic and it's problems will be high on the agenda again for KH residents forum AGM this weekend.

Seeing some of the photos from the playing out projects makes me feel a little nostalgic for the streets I used to play on, socialising with your neighbour, all things I feel like my children miss, because it doesn't feel safe to let them out in Kings Heath - keep a lookout on Kings Heath Centre for Space Exploration for more about this.  

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