When a section of Old Shoreham Road was closed for several months earlier this year for the construction of cycle lanes, it turned into a traffic-free playground for children.
Boys and girls zoomed about on skateboards and practised their wheelies on bikes in complete freedom from the fear of four-wheeled monsters.
With the work now completed, it is back to normal – the children have run off the road as traffic once again takes precedence.Well, yes, of course it ‘takes precedence’. It’s a road….
So let’s hope the kiddiewinks understand that now it’s no longer closed, it’s not as safe, eh?
But it gave a glimpse of how cities should be: a proper balance between the need of children to play and the need for traffic to flow.We do understand the balance between ‘the needs of children to play and the need for traffic to flow’ perfectly well.
That’s why cars are confined to roads, and people to pavements and parks. It’s not rocket science.
One Brighton grandparent, Clive William, brought my attention to the city of Bristol, where a group of mothers has activated a scheme called Playing Out.
Three years ago, they persuaded Bristol City Council to issue Temporary Play Street Orders, whereby residents were granted permission to close their street to traffic for three hours, thus enabling their children to play out.Which this Mensa-candidate thinks is a splendid idea, of course…
Of course, if you don’t have children, I guess you can’t submit a contra-petition to keep the kiddiewinks off the road so you can use it yourself? No, no. All must bow to the Whim of the Fecund!
I cannot see why residential roads should not be closed for several hours on Saturdays and Sundays, particularly on Sundays, the quietest day of the week, and in the summer months, from 7pm to 9pm.
Not only would it fit in with the ideals of the council’s ruling Green Party, but it is also the ideal solution to the problem many parents have: tiny city gardens too small for children to play in.I can see many, many reasons, namely that I don’t have kids and I might want to use the road I pay tax for!
And if you have a ‘tiny city garden too small to play in’ then either:
a) don’t breed, or
b) take your spawn to the local park.
Oh, wait. Brighton, eh? That rings a bell…
Instead, they must take them to a park at least once a day for at least an hour, taking at least a couple of hours out of a day when you factor in getting to and from the park, packing all the gear you need, and the time it takes to get young children into their shoes and coats. This alone is stressful, and especially so in winter or when it's raining, which makes sitting in a park an unpleasant experience for mothers.
When it becomes a daily necessity, it renders it a chore, and then at weekends many parents feel obliged to take their children to a specific activity, such as an open farm, which, lovely though they are, cost money.Oh, it’s so tiresome when you have to do things with your spawn, isn’t it? Much easier just to offload them out onto the street.
Seriously, who could begrudge you the chance to upset everyone else’s lifestyle to cater for yours?
The Argus recently reported that many children in city estates have never visited the seafront less than half a mile away.
But it’s no wonder: if parents who live in Whitehawk have limited means, they cannot afford to take them to the seafront, which is like going on holiday because it has the fairground rides, the ice creams, the seafront shops, the pier.If you can’t afford kids, don’t have them. End of.
The ‘Guardian’ gets in on this barmy idea too, and you’ll never believe whose fault it is that it’s not more popular….
Play streets were one of the first intellectual imports from America – they flourished here from the 30s until Margaret Thatcher caved into the motorists' lobby./facepalm