People, Access & Parking
People are the lifeblood of our town centres. Without people, places are simply spaces, lacking in the complex personalities and experiences that communities imbue on their local areas. Issues of around gaining and retaining footfall are therefore at the forefront of any town centre's strategical development. Throw goods deliveries into the mix too, and the immediate and long-term management of access and egress can be complex.
With rare exception, British towns and cities were not designed to accommodate the scale of private car use that has grown over the past fifty years. So, methods to equitably manage limited space, maintain public safety and reduce pollution have resulted in regulation including car parking, pedestrianisation and limited times for access by vehicles over a certain size.
Public transport (including walking and cycling), where it is reliable and user friendly, can carry large numbers of people into and out of town centres while removing the environmental and physical burden of high levels of car usage. However, car users will remain a large and profitable market segment, so town centres need to balance being car friendly with preserving an open, clean and safe environment for cyclists, pedestrians and general public transport use.