mjr wrote: ↑9 Apr 2021, 12:14pm
Vorpal wrote: ↑9 Apr 2021, 11:34am
It's not a dismissive urbanist attitude. You left off the key sentence in that paragraph
On a related note, a general strategy for expected travel time to schools, shops, post office, and other essential businesses should be developed and supported with funding.
The point of my post was that villages need services improved before supporting active travel can be successful. I was writing with experience of living in a large rural village with crap public transport and limited post office services in the local Co-op, where the 'post office' under constant threat of closure.
I disagree with that, too! Most villages will not support post offices or shops in the forseeable future. What we need now (actually yesterday) is strong active travel links to the neighbouring larger villages that do - which also would support those villages by bolstering their shops and services.
Subsidising a load of nonviable small village stores won't do as much for the money.
First of all, a post office is a service, not a store. If post offices are not going to be available to people within easy walking or cycling distance, more postal delivery services need to be restored, and people need to be able to buy stamps and special packaging within easy walking and cycling distance.
Secondly my statement is general, not necessarily meaning that every village should a bunch of nonviable small businesses, but that there is a balance between providing opportunities to shop or purchase goods, and the distance that people are willing to travel by active travel, public transport and/or some combination.
If people have a choice between driving 20 minutes from a village into the closest town and using an hour or more on walking + public transport or cycling, what do you think they will do? Many 'neighbouring villages' have also lost their shops and post office. Even supposing there is one, many village shops have been downsized to the point that it can be difficult to purchase everything a family needs for meals for a week, let alone household goods or clothing.
Lots of studies have found that distance and time are important factors in travel mode choice (e.g. Heinen et al., 2010; Næss et al., 2017) and the solutions have to be addressed holistically. It doesn't do any good to ensure that there is a brilliant network of pedestrian and cycling infrastructure connecting villages, if (as an example) people are unwilling to travel more than 20 minutes to do their shopping, and many/most people do not have shopping within a 20 minute walk or cycle.
The same thing goes for schools. The tendency to consolidate schools and move away from the concept of catchment has meant that many fewer children than even 10 or 20 years ago live within walking distance of school. While it is certainly true that many children who are currently driven to school could walk, there are also many for whom walking or cycling is impractical, even if they were provided with a safe route. Because councils do not need to consider transport costs or travel planning for their schools, it is quite easy to put the burden on the families, and this is unacceptable.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom