Every weekend Bogota and a number of other cities across Colombia closes streets in the city and turns them over to the people to cycle, run, walk and skateboard/ roller blade etc. After experiencing the Ciclovia (the cycling, walking event as it is known in Colombia – see links below) first hand I have been looking for the opportunity to see if we can get something up and running in Falmouth. Following on from the COVID lock down more Local Authorities and local communities are looking at opportunities to open up the streets to people, maybe now is the time to start to push for the opening up streets in Falmouth?
Due it’s the hilly nature, most of Falmouth is not conducive to ‘gentle’ cycling, running, walking for the majority of the population….except Cliff Road (see below). For those not familiar, Cliff Road is the seafront promenade with the large Victoria hotels running from Gylly beach to the Castle beach. It is flat and is popular with people walking, cycling and skating.
There are many properties and hotels along Cliff Road so it is unlikely that both carriageways would be closed. However the lane closest to the sea could be shut and the traffic running east to west (cross to star in the diagram below) diverted along Melvill Road via Gyllyngvase Road (red star) and Castle Drive (red cross). During the currently COVID distancing measures this would open up one carriageway to enable more people to cycle, run, walk and enjoy a car free environment. Over time the route could be opened up to food trucks, local cycle shops for repairs etc and the closure to become more of a festival atmosphere in line with experience that I had in Colombia. This would also support the local businesses in the area including the Castle and Gylly beach cafes and the numerous hotels along the road.
Some of the benefits could be….
– Reduce the risk of COVID transmission of people exercising along Cliff Road
– Improving peoples fitness and wellbeing in Falmouth
– Increasing general cycling and walking rates in lieu of car use
– Reclaiming the streets from vehicular traffic
– Increased number of people using the existing and future businesses
Could we initially pitch to obtain a closure until September (end of the summer) while data and information is collected on the benefits to facilitate a permanent closure? A weekend closure (similar the Colombia model) could also be possible but due to the logistics of putting in place and removing the diversions may not be too challenging.
Links to articles on the Colombian version of ciclovia…..