All posts by awjreynolds

Full-stack developer dancing in the mosh pit that is modern JavaScript development. I'm also deeply involved in active travel campaigning as chair of Cycle Bath.

New bridge route must not be a ‘rat-run’

Email transportation@bathnes.gov.uk Subject 18-015/2/AC Make sure you write SUPPORT in your email. By keeping this bridge closed to through traffic and only useable by buses, we create a Low Traffic Neighbourhood that tackles car dependency and enables walking and cycling while prioritising public transport. It is good to see that the council is doing this but your voice needs to be heard in supporting these. There will be local residents that object without realising that this will create one of the worst rat runs in the city. BaNES needs to hear that this is supported by you.

[EDIT] As somebody pointed out this TRO closes Stothert Avenue to through traffic. It does not close the bridge enabling north (must turn left)/south traffic across Destructor Bridge. Yes Stothert Ave should be closed, but the reality is that by closing Destructor Bridge you create a significantly better river side residential area. More concerning is that the cycle infrastructure on Midland Road has not been designed correctly. You can share road space with children cycling if traffic volumes are low and under 20mph. Opening the bridge will make a section of Midland Road unusable.

BATH NEWSEUM

Just taken my first cycle trip across Bath’s new Destructor Bridge – down at the Crest Nicholson Riverside development.

It’s my understanding motorists had a taster last week-end when police asked for the route through from the Upper Bristol Road to the Lower to be opened to relieve congestion.

It has been firmly closed again and – it is the fear of creating a rat run – which has finally prompted news of a consultation about installing some form of permanent control.Screen Shot 2018-10-13 at 12.59.10

Signs have gone up proposing a restriction on use which will effectively send Riverside traffic northbound across the new bridge.

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Keynsham High Street One Way System

Letter sent to Cllr Shelford (Transport), Cllr Goodman (Environment) and Keynsham Cllrs Hale, O’Brien, Organ, Gerrish, and Simmons as well as key officers.
Dear Councillors and Officers,

The attached picture was taken this morning.

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It is very clear that paint does not and will not prevent this type of behaviour that endangers residents that want to cycle.
I think there is an opportunity to ensure that the design protects all vulnerable road users while designing in good space for cycle traffic.
Vauxhall Street, London was successfully upgraded and I think the same design can be used in Keynsham High Street.
A video of the scheme is available here:
If we want to create an environment that tackles car dependency then we need to ensure that we design infrastructure that enables kids to cycle to school. Paint simply will not cut it.
Please be aware that there is a moratorium on flat “shared space” issued by the DfT (mainly due to schemes like Kingsmead Seven Dials) and that grade separation will be needed between the cycle track and the footway.
I hope that the BaNES Active Travel and Accessibility Forum (ATAF) will be heavily involved with the design and, particularly, that any concerns the RNIB raise are treated with the utmost importance.
I also want to ask that nobody is ‘surprised’ by the type of design the members of ATAF will be pushing for. It must be visibly safe for a parent to allow their 8 year old to cycle it independently. We need to enable cycling and stop just promoting cycling.
If you want to read further on this approach, please see TfL’s Vision Zero Plan https://tfl.gov.uk/corporate/safety-and-security/road-safety/vision-zero-for-london and why this is critical to tackling car dependency, congestion, air pollution, and getting residents walking and cycling.
I really hope this is useful.
Regards,
Adam Reynolds

 

“The True Costs of Automobility: External Costs of Cars”

Although 6 years old, the implications are that we probably need to revisit this on a yearly basis to define exactly how much car dependency costs our nation and even each Local Authority.

Road Danger Reduction Forum

First, the good news: another academic study  using conventional cost-benefit analysis finds that motorists in the 27 EU countries have a net economic cost to society, with the UK second only to Germany in costs. Take a look at the nice short summary  in the Guardian. It’s good to counteract what the Guardian correctly calls “The perennial complaint from drivers that they are excessively taxed”, not least the prejudice that cyclists are cheating by “not paying a tax”. The figure given for these external costs – £48 billion per annum, some £10 billion more than the total of motoring taxation revenue – looks pretty damning. However, it can be argued that the costs of motoring to society are considerably greater than those in the picture painted in the study, and that the report is inadequately critical of the status quo.

Let’s look at the report in a…

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Another reconstructed city centre street in Utrecht

A key point to me is that this is not pedestrianisation, but the road is traffic free as it is not a part of a through route. I also note the grade separation between road and pavement, vital for visually impaired people. In the UK they would have flattened this space into some sort of Frankenstein shared space then wondered why it was not working. Interesting to note that even in the Netherlands there is a problem with parking.

BICYCLE DUTCH

Retailers in the Utrecht shopping street Oudkerkhof are very pleased with how their street was reconstructed. Some seem to think it was done at their request. But this transformation was part of a much larger program that runs for years. It is meant to upgrade the city centre of Utrecht by making it less accessible for motor traffic and much more attractive for people walking and cycling.

Oudkerkhof after the reconstruction. The roadway is slightly wider than before. This makes cycling possible in both directions. The sidewalk became wider too, because 16 of the 24 parking spaces were removed.

Oudkerkhof in 1976. The banner says it is “young and very much alive” but it had parking on both sides and really narrow side walks at the time. Not at all what the Dutch perceive as livable today. Picture Utrechts Archief.

The cause for the reconstruction can be traced as…

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On whether cycling is worth it at all

Hard though it is, we simply need to keep demanding space for cycling…

Banging on about bikes

Folks, tonight I feel closer to quitting the whole cycling lark than I’ve ever been. This week, still only four days old, I’ve had so many depressing, worrying, dangerous incidents that it’s sapped what little joy I’ve managed to muster since a sustained slump over the summer and I’m genuinely wondering whether it’s worth all the aggro. So no links or pictures this time, just some raw insights.

On Tuesday someone tried to run me off the road in a massive 4×4, then stopped to have an argument when I wouldn’t yield (that in a moment of rare composure I refused to get drawn into). On the way home, a van driver did me a nice close pass and then did that throat-slitting gesture at me just in case I was in any doubt as to what a massive wanker he is. Yesterday I witnessed a Twitter spat between the…

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London Road- A BaNES First

London Road has been a long running saga and although the design is poor particularly by keeping polluting cars close to pedestrians and honestly if we had the money, I’d start with fixing the junctions either side, ANYWAY, good things are happening with the installation of Orcas and wands to protect the cycle lane. The build out is being reshaped to allow you to continue through it.

TCY0004-104 (WP2 – General Arrangement) Rev BTCY0004-105 (WP3 – Site Clearance & GA) Rev B

Work has started today and will be complete in the next couple of weeks.

It’s good to see protected cycle lanes being built using orcas

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PS: London Road still needs a redesign with an east protected cycle lane but for now this is really good to see.

Why a national urban 20mph speed limit is necessary.

Bristol is about to go into a review of its 20mph speed limits.

The arguments around removing 20mph speed limits always focus on how they do not work and people *still* speed through areas. Even the DfT admitted 80% of drivers broke the 20mph speed limit. Yet you will find that the average speed on a 20mph road is around 23-24mph.

What people fail to recognise though is that the impact kill curve is not linear. Hitting somebody at 23mph is of an order of a magnitude less deadly than hitting somebody at 27mph.

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When seatbelts became mandatory, pedestrian deaths went up as people felt safer in their cars and drove faster. 20mph speed limits and zones (where the road is designed to make it hard to go faster than 20mph), are key to redressing this balance and preventing the continued whole sale slaughter of pedestrians, the biggest group of victims of road violence.

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Let’s not forget that we should also be implementing cheap Low Traffic Neighbourhood Cells within our cities to reduce road deaths, air pollution, and get more people walking and cycling. 20mph speed limits and particularly 20mph zones are key to making these successful.

We all want traffic free cycle routes! Well no we don’t.

Sustrans, in association with a number of cities, has produced an excellent “Bike Life – Women: reducing the gender gap” report. Go read it. It really shows the way our Highways Engineers have excluded women (and men) from taking up cycling. This gender gap is born out in many studies with around 28% of people that cycle being women in the UK, vs 55% in Netherlands

There is a big big problem in Highways and the DfT. Being an engineering profession I suspect it is also dominated by men and this directly impacts the design process “I would ride that.”.

However this report also showed something interesting. Continue reading We all want traffic free cycle routes! Well no we don’t.

Metro Mayor Tim Bowles is failing us

For anyone that caught the news on Friday, Chris Boardman raised alarm at the lack of progress on cycling recently in the West of England. You can catch a more detailed program and discussion on it on the Sunday Politics West if you are quick.

The basic premise is that when each of the 6 mayors were elected, they were also given a load of money.

Greater Manchester’ Andy Burnham received £240M, committed £160M to cycling, employed Chris Boardman, designed a complete gold standard cycle network across 11 boroughs and is now spending £50M per year trying to build it. West Midlands Andy Street is also doing an immense amount of stuff exceptionally quickly. These are Metro Mayors that hit the ground running.

West of England’s Tim Bowles was given £80m,  has taken a year to get a Head of Transport when the 2 page job advert did not mention walking and cycling, and has committed to producing a document, the joint local transport plan by April 2020.

On the politics show, the Metro Mayor was accused of being useless. When I was interviewed I called him as useful as a chocolate teapot when it came to transport.

You should be extremely alarmed that this man has sat on £80M of City Transformation Funding. That the wording he uses around this money is about strategic transport. That he wants to ‘promote’ cycling, despite WECA scrutiny panel assuring me in a written statement that the term promote would no longer be used and replaced with enable.

The reality is that Tim Bowles is utterly failing the people of the West of England, and before you try and defend him in anyway, Andy Street is Conservative and Andy Burnham is Labour. It is not about parties, it is about ability, about political will, about surrounding yourself quickly with good people and delivering.

Janet Sadik-Khan TRANSFORMED New York because Mayor Bloomberg had faith in her and backed her 100% all the way. Chris Boardman has the vision, but his ability to deliver is down to Metro Mayor Andy Burnham backing him 100% and putting money where his mouth is.

Tim Bowles has ensured that the wording he uses around the City Transformation Fund is about strategic transport, but I strongly suspect he does not consider cycling or walking strategic. It’s taken him over a year to employ a Head of Transport who needed experience of dealing with buses, but no experience of implementing walking or cycling strategies and he is so weak in this area, he is pushing any decisions around this space out to the Joint Local Transport Plan.

Yet Transport for London have recognised that Cycling is a strategic form of transport and have done complex Strategic Cycling Analysis, using commuter and school travel DATA. Tim Bowles knows this. I had a meeting with him last Christmas and showed him this. TfL are increasing road capacity by 15% by building cycle tracks.

This situation is utterly depressing and is very much down to Tim Bowles and his utter failure to get a grip on Transport from all aspects unless it has to do with 18a of the M4 junction.

As Chris Boardman said “It is not what does it cost to get people cycling and walking, but what is the cost not to get people cycling and walking”.

With the Joint Local Transport Plan not being published until April 2020 at the earliest, Tim Bowles will have set back the west by at least 2 years. In the meantime other mayors are absolutely killing it, focusing on enabling walking, cycling, and transforming public transport.

It’s less Metro Mayor Tim Bowles and more Teapot Tim.

We need a commitment from Tim Bowles to allocate the £80M he has been given to walking and cycling, implement a Strategic Cycling Analysis exercise, and begin delivery of a complete cycle network across the west. This could be done this year.