We may think of kerbsides as just space on the public highway next to the pavement. But they are more than that. Kerbsides include footpaths by the kerb and which might be widened for tree planting and street seating. They include the white posts and green verges we love in Dulwich.
There is great competition for the kerbsides from vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians, house occupants, push-chairs, etc. etc. We know only too well how busy our kerbsides are at times and how they are hazardous for the unwary, the reckless and those of us who are a unsteady because of age, youth or illness.
Southwark Council recognises the need for a sensible management of kerbsides and is consulting on a ‘Kerbside Strategy’. Southwark’s Kerbside strategy_Feb’17
The Council makes some important points for us to think about. Among them are:
Demographic Pressure: The population is growing faster in Southwark than expected. At the last census in 2011 it was 288,000 and today is estimated to be 306,000. The government forecasts it will be 370,000 by 2031, an increase of 82,000 or 28% in 20 years!
Parking: 60% of Southwark households don’t own a vehicle, yet parking in the borough takes up an increasing amount of kerbside space. In our streets, however, many households own multiple cars and large ones at that. Parking is the issue which sparks greatest interest in our streets. There has to be an improvement in access to and usage of public transport.
Road Safety and the Environment: The Council wants to improve the lives of older residents and to enable them to live independently for longer. Older people typically drive less and favour public transport. There are increasing numbers of older people in Southwark. There is a demand for wider footpaths, more frequent and safer pedestrian crossings, accessible bus stops and uncluttered, pleasant neighbourhood centres to sit and relax in.
Traffic Collisions: More people walking or cycling in Southwark are killed or injured than in any other mode of transport. Road traffic accidents are increasing each year. In 2015 there were over 1,000 in Southwark with 90 fatal ones.