Drivers in Cardiff were yesterday warned they must embrace alternative methods of transport like cycling or face a future of congestion, as the freedom motorists once took for granted to drive quickly into Cardiff at any time and park cheaply will be a thing of the past.
Transport consultant Lynn Sloman, a board member of Cycling England, said Cardiff could not accommodate more and more cars, because of climate change and physical limitations and she told WalesOnline: “Short of raising Cardiff to the ground and rebuilding it in the form of Los Angeles, there’s a limit to the amount of space we can create. American cities are realising the idea that everyone can get around by car just doesn’t work.”
She said England’s three sustainable travel towns – Worcester, Darlington and Peterborough – had shown that making it easier for people to walk, cycle or use public transport resulted in people leaving their cars at home.
Statistics Wales's state of the environment report revealed that the number of people commuting by car rose three per cent to 82.6 per cent between 1999 and 2008.
The changes to transport in and around Cardiff are part of Wales’ pilot Sustainable Travel City project – and could be the shape of things to come in other areas of Wales. Cardiff’s £28.5 million Sustainable Travel City project, jointly funded by the Assembly and the Council, aims to reduce congestion and encourage a shift to more sustainable travel by foot, bike and public transport and create more pedestrian-friendly environments.
Cardiff council figures show road traffic will grow further in the city over the next few years and visitor numbers will rise thanks to the opening of the new St David’s shopping centre in the autumn.
One project off the ground as part of the Sustainable Travel City project is the impending smart bike hire scheme in Cardiff which will start next month. It will allow the public to hire and ride bikes throughout the city centre, Cathays and Cardiff Bay. Blocks of bikes will be stationed in and around the city centre and once a bike is finished with it can be returned to any of the available stands. There will be 75 bikes in 35 stands in all.
Delme Bowen, the council's executive member for transport, said: "Cycling is at the heart of our sustainable travel scheme and we are committed to encouraging people to think about using bikes.