Reclaiming The Streets
Eleanor Togut, project coordinator for Living Streets reports on the recent meeting in Hastings.
The launch of the Hastings Living Streets Local Group on Saturday, 25th January 2020 brought together a wide range of people with the same goal in common – to make the streets in Hastings safer and more pleasant to walk around and spend time in.
Discussions were held about making neighbourhoods less car-dominated and giving people of all ages the chance to enjoy their streets. What emerged were not huge infrastructure projects, although these are vital too; what participants wanted was the opportunity to do something practical, to make a difference to local areas such as the car-dominated Queens Road shops, and to do it themselves.
There were many ideas included ‘adopting a verge’, planting bulbs or flowers in a small area around a lamppost or a tree, and Play Streets, closing a street to traffic for the day so that residents can spend time talking, playing and enjoying the area where they live.
One important first step discussed was to run a Community Street Audit. This is a tool designed by Living Streets to monitor a regularly used route, for example, from home to school or to the local shop or park.
It works like this: a small group meet up, walk together and stop to look where there might be potential barriers to accessing local facilities. These might include difficulties in crossing a busy road, particularly if walking with young children or for those with a disability. These are then written up in a report and sent to the local authority.
The group is set to make a difference to the streets of Hastings – one step at a time!
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