From Brookside to Brook Vale: Simon O'Brien visits Rimrose
It was a real pleasure to welcome the Liverpool City Region’s Active Travel Commissioner to Rimrose last week (Monday, 15th May, 2023).
Simon O’Brien, pictured at Rimrose Valley Road / Eden Drive South entrance
We invited the public face of City Region's cycling and walking initiatives, the ever-popular Simon O'Brien, as we wanted him to witness first-hand just how important a role Rimrose Valley plays as part of South Sefton's active travel infrastructure.
"Active travel" is simply the modern term for cycling, walking (or even running, if you're feeling energetic!) to get from A to B.
It has a bigger and bigger role to play in tackling congestion, cleaning our air, improving our physical and mental health and tackling planet-wrecking CO2 emissions... but it has long been held back by the lack of quality, connected cycling infrastructure, safety concerns and, surprise surprise, a lack of investment.
But things are changing and the government is making more money available to the devolved regions and local authorities for active travel schemes, although, it's still nowhere enough when compared to the billions of pounds it has earmarked for new road investment.
Happily, the valley looked amazing and it was kicking out time at Chesterfield High School, so kids were streaming across the park on their bikes and by foot
We couldn’t have timed it any better.
It was the perfect demonstration of a vital, safe, clean, traffic-free active travel link, connecting surrounding communities and beyond.
Looking for a sign: Could better cycling provision play a part in Rimrose's future?
The obvious question that sprang to mind was; would these children be walking or cycling to school if they had to cross a bridge over HGV traffic?
Or go half a mile either way to go through a gloomy, smelly underpass?
Of course not.
This doesn't even take into account all of the adults who use Rimrose Valley to get to and from places of work, further education, or to visit and care for loved ones on a daily basis.
A road through the valley would simply generate more and more unnecessary car journeys.
National Highways are either absolutely clueless, or just plain don’t care.
We'll leave you to decide which.
We talked about the situation we find ourselves in, the road proposal, the various players who are driving things behind the scenes and discussed ways we could shine a light on just how important Rimrose Valley is to the city region's active travel goals.
It feels very much as if we've gained an influential new ally in Simon, and someone who truly understands what Rimrose Valley - and other places like it - mean to local communities, not only for active travel, but as vital green space.
The day wasn't a complete success though; we would like to extend a heartfelt apology for dragging Simon - and his beautiful bike - down what was possibly the muddiest, bumpiest trail.
Standing Room Only - Stu with Simon O'Brien