Monday, August 3, 2009

St Helier's new party scene


One of St. Helier's main traffic arteries was blocked on Sunday 2nd August by the Stopford Road street party, organised by Rod Bryans (pictured). I walked over to see how it was going and was really impressed by the difference the lack of traffic makes to a community. No surprises there - there's plenty of evidence that interraction between town residents is reduced in direct proportion to the speed and volume of traffic, but it was good to see that demonstrated in practice. There were tables down the middle of the road with food and drink (thanks to the Co-operative Society of the Channel Islands for sponsoring that) and people of all ages (8 weeks upwards) mixing, many of them for the first time. There were also leaflets available describing the history of the road, how it got its name, and some of its more famous residents.
As I met and talked to some of the residents I had a curious sense of this happening across the town, and how good that would be if, say, on the last Sunday of the month, April through to September, town residents were able to turn their stretch of the highway into a village green.
It's probably no coincidence that the first St. Helier street party in many a year has taken place in one of our Residents' Parking Zones or RPZs. Since their inception a dozen years ago, one of the key arguments for creating RPZs was that it would foster a sense of neighbourliness, of belonging to an association of people who share common experiences (like having to move their cars every two hours in the pre-RPZ days) and common needs, like the ownership of a car on Sundays as well as during the rest of the week. I still get a buzz out of seeing the RPZ permits on people's dashboards as I walk past their cars, though the buzz of a street party is even better. So thank you, Rod, and to everyone who helped run the Stopford Road street party. I hope we can use the 'event plan' that was required to snip through the red tape as a template for future street parties, both in your street and elsewhere in the Parish.

2 comments:

Slow Food Jersey said...

Simon,

Thanks for attending on Sunday.

Everyone had a great time. I think you are right this could be rolled out across the Parish considering the level of interest we have received.

Neighbour's who have lived there for years chatted to those who have just arrived. People who lived next door to each other met for the first time. The whole atmosphere was of sharing and having fun.

The idea of "Street Archaeology was warmly greeted. One chap stopped to tell me he'd been born in the street and although the architecture remained the same, the social mix was different. Younger families and foreign nationals now occupied these old properties. Anyone that wants to find out about there property, previous inhabitants or the street they live in should contact Linda Romeril at the Jersey Archive and mention "{Street Archaeology".

You are right we now have a template for anyone that would like to run such an occasion. They can contact me on rod.bryans@live.com.

Thanks are due to your colleagues John Stievenard and Steve Crum who were extremely helpful in ensuring the traffic moved around us. David Filiponni who helped with the crucial Event Planner. The Co-op who generously donated funds to the event. My friends and family who acted as slaves and Marshalls. Finally all the neighbours who ventured out to help make the whole thing a success.

Rod Bryans

Anonymous said...

So Constable of St Helier where the incinerator is being built - do you have a view for your parishioners (and taxpayers) on the Euro Fluctuation issue?
Should anybody be sacked?
If it happened in POSH would you demand a head on a plate?

Or are street parties easier to deal with?