In an article titled Moving Towards Growth: Why it’s time to build on Britain’s roadbeltThe organization argued that building on roads already in place could result in narrower streets and wider pavements, which would better serve local residents.
We could create proud boulevards
Comparing the green belts of Britain, Create Streets The term “roadbelt”, which is a wide stretch of road that can be used in the proposal, was coined.
“We could create proud boulevards lined with beautiful, sustainably located new homes on space currently given over to needlessly, indeed counter-productively, wide roads,” said Create Streets in the paper.
“This is Britain’s roadbelt. It’s time to build.”
The paper, written by David Milner the deputy director of the organization, states that Britain requires “human-scaled street” with housing amenities and local life to improve.
“I felt there was a real crossover in this initiative between our crippling housing crisis, UK cities’ poor productivity compared to its European neighbours (outside London) and our collective race to net zero – all are time-sensitive to solving many of the country’s ills,” Milner told Dezeen.
This policy and the wider point of how to better invest in transportation and cities strike me as a win-win situation.
According to the group several projects which will demonstrate the possibility of building houses on roads are in the early design stage in Rochdale. Bedford and Southend-on-Sea.
The paper claims that Britain has continued to widen its roads in order to reduce travel time but the speed efficiency of vehicles has plateaued.
A new school, shop or leisure facility can also lead to unnecessary road construction. Create Streets says that building these facilities near new developments reduces the need for roads, and encourages people to walk and cycle.
The paper emphasised that building new roads will continue to be necessary, but they should be narrower and lined with homes and amenities that serve communities – “not single-minded soulless distributors and expressways”.
There are many hidden levers that hold back this kind of development.
Create Streets is working to implement its ideas in a project at St Mary’s Gate. The group discussed with the local authority the idea of transforming the turning lane from a 5-lane motorway into housing.
If the project is approved, it will result in 400 new houses while maintaining four lanes for traffic.
The paper highlighted another project in Bedford, as an example of “building along Britain’s roadbelt”. A large roundabout will be transformed into a “more ‘humane’ T-junction, with additional commercial space and 105 houses. The project secured planning permission this July.
Milner recognized that infrastructure change is not without its obstacles, such as concerns about the impact of reducing traffic lanes on traffic flow.
He said that there are many hidden levers that hold back this type of development, especially around traffic modelling.
Many projects invest vast resources in this but are still held back because the primary concern is traffic flow.
“This should be included in the mix but not at the top,” he said. When you propose schemes, no one asks for a model showing how many people will cross the road.
Create Streets provided the images.