Everyone Goes Car Free in Bagota Columbia Each Sunday – and People Love it!

Emily Ralls has written in to the Chichester Car Free campaign about an article on car free Sundays and the positive impact they have on the community in Bagota. Emily hopes it might be fuel for the debate and inspire people towards adopting similar ideas in Chichester.

The article is by Alma Guillermoprieto. He writes frequently about Latin America for National Geographic. Spurred by environmental concerns, an example experiment in Bogota, Columbia, is spreading worldwide.

Click the link below to read the full article—
This city bans cars every Sunday-and people love it!

The article is accompanied by some striking black and white photography of the car free city.
People crossing a car free street

How we’ll Coach young people in using Car Free Travel.

Stagecoach bus company have volunteered to provide a whole bus/coach as a static attraction for Chichester Car Free Day. The intention is it will help advertise car free day and promote use of local busses as an alternative to private car use. We’ll be able to reprogram the destination board on the front, to display names, so families can enjoy being photographed with the bus or even with kids in the driving seat. Stage coach are also going to provide a prize of a family day rover bus ticket as a competition prize to promote Chichester Car Free Day.
StageCoach number 60 - Bognor Regis

Sarah Sharp and Mark Record from the Car Free Chichester Campaign had a very productive meeting with Mike Armitage the operations Manager for Stagecoach in Chichester. We met up at the bus depot at lunchtime on the 11th March.

Unfortunately we discovered that it’s difficult to re-route busses in a loop around the back of the old Army and Navy shop via, Tower St, The Woolstaplers & Chapel St. We had previously hoped this would allow us to divert busses from South St on car free day. Mike pointed out that this re-route was to be avoided as the busses could not turn around the corners without mounting the pavements. However he suggested the possibility of putting a 5 MPH speed limit on the busses for Car Free Day to allow safer use of the roadway in south street. There is also an option that the busses could all travel in the same direction entirely freeing up one side of the carriageway. These appear realistic options that would allow public use of south street for a Car Free  event.

Stagecoach have also offered to display posters advertising a Chichester Car Free Day and we even discussed options for putting an advert on the side or back of a bus.


Chichester Post Reports on our New Logo

The Chichester Post reporter has included a story in their 11th March edition, about Ken Dolman’s new logo for the Chichester Car Free Campaign.
Ken and Sarah
Reporter Kelly Wickham wrote “The group had asked the public to help design a logo. The winning one was designed by Kenneth Dolman, a retired professional graphic designer, who said that he saw the competition in the Chichester Post”. The full story from the Post is available here.

Kenneth Dolman’s City Leaf Logo

We had such a wonderful response to our public request for a  Logo to represent Car Free Days in Chichester! We will be contacting all the graphic artists who have contributed work to us asking it we can use there designs in various areas of our Campaign.

Supporters got together in the City on the 2nd March 2019 to take photos of Ken’s  logo in Chichester city centre.

Car Free Campaigners in front of Cathedral with Ken's logo
Car Free Campaigners in front of Cathedral with Ken’s logo

However we have selected Kenneth Dolman’s City Leaf Logo to be our main graphic for representing the campaign. This is because it concisely and elegantly sums up so many things in a seemingly simple graphic.

  • Firstly the cross in the logo signifies the old Roman City  layout with it’s four streets.
  • Secondly the leaf signifies the environmental aspirations of our campaign for a clean green city.
  • Thirdly the family image embodies our concept of inclusivity. Chichester Car Free Campaigners are particularly eager to arrange an event that everyone in the community can enjoy. We want to create a street party like atmosphere with our public spaces being free of motor vehicles for a day.

We were joined by a very enthusiastic young supporter named Leo with his mother Dominique.

Car Free Campaigners on South St with Ken's logo
Car Free Campaigners on South St with Ken’s logo
Car Free Campaigners on South St with Ken's logo
Car Free Campaigners on South St with Ken’s logo
Kenneth Dolman
Kenneth Dolman Designer of Leaf City Logo

Chichester MP Gillian Keegan voices her Support for Chichester Car Free Day

MP for the Chichester Constituency Gillian Keegan has published an article in the Chichester Observer expressing her support for a Car Free Day in Chichester.

Gillian has a section on her website about “Improving the Environment for Everyone” and environmental concerns are clearly high up on her agenda.

Indeed, she joined a bicycle ride last year to support the Friends of Centurion Way who are a campaign group who wish to ensure any plans to alter a local footpath/cycle way are sympathetic to the communities needs.

Gillian Keegan Supporting Friends of Centurion Way
Gillian Keegan Supporting Friends of Centurion Way in 2018

Gillian shares the same concerns with our campaigners regarding adequate provision for our disable or elderly citizens  so that they are not excluded from the city.

Sarah Sharp has asked Gillian if she would like to open the Car Free Day event in Chichester on International Car Free Day 22 Sept 2019. The Chichester Car Free Day campaigners are also tremendously excited to have Gillian’s backing. We feel that having the support of our local MP makes it far more likely we will be able to stage a successful event in the city.

You may read the full news story by following this link.

Chichester Observer Consider Could Chichester be Car Free One Day a Month?

The Chichester Observer have published a detailed story about the Car Free Chichester Campaign!

Mark & Sarah on East St

The story begins with some wonderful words from Sarah.

“The potential of a Car Free Day in Chichester is ‘limitless’ according to city councillor Sarah Sharp, who has responded to reservations about the idea. ‘Car Free’, set up by campaigner Mark Record and supported by councillor Sharp, plans to trial a scheme inside the city walls one Sunday a month to make the city more safe and a ‘fun place to walk and cycle’.”

Read the full story  here

One issue this interview with the Chichester Observer highlighted was the necessity for our group to hold a visually oriented event so we can produce some  strong promotional Photographs we can send out with press releases.


Chichester Post: West Sussex County Councillors Unenthusiastic.

Cars on North St

The Chichester Post has published a story about the (5th Feb Local Committee meeting) County Councils reception on the ideas about a car free day within the City walls of Chichester,

It explains that “Mr Record said after the meeting: “I felt disappointed that our county councillors were unenthusiastic about staging a small scale event in the city on Sunday, September 22, on International Car Free Day 2019.”

You may read the full article by following this link Doubt over car-free day in walls

I contacted the post shortly after the meeting and sent then the following by email.

On Monday 21st January, Chichester City Council decided that a car free day should be trialed for 1 day in the city as an experiment. Unfortunatly, it now apears such an event is unlikly to take place.

At the 5th Feb Local Committee meeting, I felt disappointed that  our West Sussex County Councilors were unenthusiastic about staging a small scale event in the city this Sunday 22nd of September on International Car Free Day 2019.

By promoting sustainable forms of transport in Chichester I believe we can achieve many positive outcomes: The city can enjoy reduced congestion from heavy traffic making it a more welcoming environment for tourists, shoppers and residents alike; Toxic vehicle fumes will be reduced leading to better health in our community. Local people can enjoy a better quality of life from the benefits of healthy exercise. We could locally achieve the required eight percent annual reduction in our CO2 emissions needed to avert catastrophic global climate change. Space in our city, currently occupied by motor vehicles, could be better used for commerce, community and culture.

My motivation for proposing a car free event in Chichester city center is comcern about the destruction of our global enviroment.

The IPCC October 2018 special report on Global Warming of 1.5°C gives a clear warning that all of humanity must immediately move away from fossil fuel dependency if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change. They explained it is imperative we become a carbon neutral society within the next 12 years.

The Government Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy estimate that 26% of UK carbon dioxide emissions are now caused by transport. This currently makes transport the biggest emitting sector of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK.

Because Chichester District Council is concerned over the loss of parking revenue due to a Car Free Day, I proposed only a small event at the meeting where our pedestrian precinct could be extended along the full extent of both North St. and East St. for only one day this year. I have calculated that the loss of parking revenue could not be greater than £2000 and I would be prepared to pay this amount of money from my own pocket if it allowed such an event to go ahead in our city.

I can find nothing published by our local authorities on how they intend meeting the United Nations IPCC guidelines to avoid global catastrophic climate change and I am deeply concerned that as a community we are not prepared to close a couple of streets in the city even as a small symbolic gesture on International Car Free Day.

Our green city councillor Sarah Sharp has been active asking businesses around the city about their feelings towards a car free day in the city. She has found a wide range of opinions varying from strong enthusiasm to ambivilance. What is remarkable is that no business has yet expressed oposition to the idea.

A local group of over 70 people (and growing) have already come together to suport Car Free Days in Chichester and set up a website http://carfreechi.org.uk/. Our next meeting is on February 25, 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm at the Park Tavern in Chichester and anyone suporting Chichester car free days is welcome to join us.

Many thanks

Mark Record

Chichester District Council’s Objection to Car Free Days and Buying a While Lot of Car Parking Tickets

On our meeting on the 28th of January, Sara Sharp ( Chichester’s green City Councillor) told us that Chichester District Council had objected to the Car Free proposal. I was keen to have precise details of the objection so we could help resolve whatever  impasse has arisen. After an email exchange and phone conversation with Sarah she established that an audio recording of recent CDC meetings are available from the District Council Website. It is not easy to navigate around these pages documenting council meetings but this appears a natural result of the complexity of local government rather than a genuine shortcoming in their record keeping systems. It is actually a very convenient and sophisticated system after a little practice with using it.

Little London and Baffin's lane car parks are repetitively small but their traffic causes disproportionately high impact cost on city life.
Little London and Baffin’s lane car parks are relatively small but their traffic causes a disproportionately high impact cost on city life.

The District Council Meeting where  Car Free Days proposal was discussed was held on the 22nd January and impressively all the details of the meeting are available by following this link.  Something has gone wrong with the audio recording as it sounds like the speakers are permanently suffering from hiccups but it is still intelligible. The discussion of Car Free Days is at 89 min in the audio recording under meeting section 10 “Initial Project Proposals 2019-2020 and Corporate Plan”. Interestingly Councillor Tony Dignum discussed the spare capacity available in the multi-storey car-park during this section of audio. As this campaign blog has already pointed out is this spare capacity could easily absorb cars displaced from Little London and Baffin’s lane car parks. The objection to Car Free Days was that some revenue would be lost from the inner city car parking. However, it seems a reasonable to presume that much of this lost revenue would be recouped when the vehicles relocated to parking using the spare capacity of surrounding car parks.

If the only objection is car-park revenue then maybe our glass is already half full!

A small amount of money may be lost in revenue from occasional closure of Baffin’s lane and Little London car parks. However the inconvenience of the traffic generated by these car parks along Chichester’s small medieval streets is an enormous impediment  to the re-development  of the city centre. Few people would consider removal of the pedestrian precinct a good idea for business and it can be seen that some shops outside of the precinct struggle to survive. Removing traffic from North st and East St could bring a huge boost to our cities appeal. If Baffin’s lane and Little London car parks are full to capacity all day on a Sunday they would only raise only £1942.50 in ticket revenue.  Surely we can easily raise this much money from the city community so we can all enjoy one day when it is not choked with motor vehicle traffic. Get saving(;-)) it looks like we may need to buy 185 all day car parking tickets to enjoy a Car Free Day!

Car Free Chichester First Meeting on the 28th Jan

There was much to discuss at our first meeting which was held in the Park Tavern.
Photo of the Park Tavern

We considered what a car free day should look like in Chichester and concluded the event should be a positive celebration of community not just a day without cars. We all agreed this was the correct approach and we all wanted the event to have the feel of a street party.
Sarah Sharp (a Chichester green City Councillor) said she had received a response from Chichester District Council that was negative towards the Car Free Day proposal because of the potential loss of revenue from the inner city car parks. It was suggested the combined revenue from Baffin’s lane and Little London car parks could not amount to much because they only hold a few dozen car park spaces each. We decided collectivity that if the local authorities refused to stage a car free event in 2019 then we would stage our own colourful, positive, lively event as a protest demonstration over inaction towards impending environmental crisis. The draft minutes of the meeting are available here.