There is a problem with BaNES. One hand doesn’t know what the other 23 hands are up to. This might be excusable if it wasn’t for the fact the head of this gargantuan body, the council, has stated that BaNES uses the Sustrans Design Guidance. The hands that are designing and building our future cycle infrastructure appear not to be listening to the head and it really shows in the detail of what they are producing.
[EDIT: Note there is a correction to this article and I will be following it up with an apology at the weekend when I have the time. I knew something that I conveniently left out of the article and this makes BaNES look worse that they are at delivering this.]
The Ramp A4 dual carriageway to B2B path (pdf).
The ramp itself looks good and will add a good connection to the A4. The Bath Spa University will benefit greatly from it hopefully.
Now it gets interesting. Firstly let’s look at the Sustrans guidance on bollards.
A single row of bollards preferred if required, 1.5m spacing. Min 5m from edge of carriageway or back of footway, or further where cycle numbers are high.
You would expect that the people designing a cycle/footway would be extremely familiar with this guidance. You would almost expect them to professionally have an interest in following this guidance, would almost insist that they were trained by Sustrans in delivering good cycle infrastructure, but apparently not, because they’ve added this:
That is shockingly bad. The path is 3m wide. It needs one, just ONE bollard set 5m from the entrance. That is what the guidance says. This is frankly shocking and unprofessional. Sorry no excuse. This absolutely should be following Sustrans guidance. It even created accessibility issues. Bollards are 20cm square. Measurements are centre to centre. The gap will be just under 1m.
So then we get on to the ‘if required’.
Nothing like a non-illuminated bollard on a ramp and about to hit a corner where you need to slow down anyway. Bollards are there to block vehicular access. That is their reason for existence. I’m guessing there is a possibility of a vehicle going up the ramp, however the bollard at the top does the job of blocking the access to the road. This bollard is completely unnecessary and potentially dangerous.
I’m guessing the bollard will be like all the other bollards on the two tunnels path and be the tall handlebar blocking type.
So who’s responsible for this design? These people.
We have a primarily cycle scheme being designed by the “Design Group” where none of the officers seem to be trained in delivering cycle infrastructure. Sustrans provide professional design courses (the courses really need accreditation!) which followed up by the David Hembrow Study Tour would provide a solid foundation in designing good cycle infrastructure and not the crap we, the public, seem to be having to deal with on a daily basis.
I really want the “Design Group” to send Steve Froggat, JPH, SRC, and TP on at least the Sustrans design courses AND the study tour. In fact everyone in the design group needs to go on the study tour. The study tour provides a paradigm shift in the way you think about active travel design and should be a requirement for ALL officers involved in public realm space.
[EDIT I have struck through the original just to keep it there and to show what should have been there]
Where this goes really wrong is that this tender document has been given to a contractor to deliver. They will deliver precisely what they have been asked to deliver. The bollards will go in. Then Cycle Bath will have to complain to the council and eventually they will be dug up and the right ones will go in.
Cycle Bath raised the bollard formation with BaNES and were informed that they have flagged to the contractors that the tender document is incorrect in the layout of the bollards and that an on-site correction of the bollard formation will be made. [EDIT: I knew this when writing the article and apologise for not making this clear.]
Cycle Bath has to keep watching what BaNES does like a hawk. It’s tiring and boring that the officers within the council seem to be stuck somewhere in the 70s. Officers should be taking professional pride in what they are doing. How can they not be wanting to be trained in the latest transport design best practices. They should be demanding to go on the Sustrans courses and the Hembrow Study tour. Why do we have to keep pointing out how REALLY SH*T they are at thinking about anything other than designing for cars.
Dear BaNES, get your house in order.