Yesterday I spent close to 3 hours looking at Saw Close with Frank Thomson (a.k.a. Mr. Two Tunnels) and attending the public consultation. What was really good was meeting a lady that was blind and seeing her perspective on it.
For those unable to attend it looks like this:
Today the Bath Chronicle posted an article about Saw Close. I wrote a reply and then realised it had gone completely over their word limit, so had to edit it down.
The first modern Shared Space designs originated
in the Netherlands and have since become common
across other European cities. An area like this
recognises that people are equal and should be
treated as such. The perceived pecking order that
pedestrians must give way to cars is removed,
instead encouraging cooperation between users.
Cars no longer control the space and must allow
for pedestrians, this reduces traffic speeds and
makes the area less hectic. Cyclists can use the
area without being restricted to narrow cycle lanes.
The aim is for people to use this space courteously
It is why Seven-dials fails. You do not build shared space on a through road. Saw Close is still a through road (of sorts) and it is important to ensure that the route cars take through the space is not a direct fast line. Ideally Cheap Street/Westgate Street would have rising bollards put in place to prevent motorised access during the day as has been done on Lower Borough Walls, to fantastic praise from the businesses on the street.
The cherry on the top would be to install rising bollards on Westgate Street and to reroute buses to pick up on James St West.
Also of significant note, the Bath Accessibility report presented at the Bath City Conference specifically highlighted those corduroy stones as too narrow and easily step-over-able by a blind person at only 350mm wide and that a more suitable 800mm wide ledge was better. I would even suggest a slightly dropped kerb.
I’m also concerned that no clear route through the space is being provided for cyclists. However the fact the road is still clearly “marked” does give some hope, however the council must learn from Lower Borough Walls where they installed a 2m wide shared path in front of a very busy pasty shop, rather than a clearly defined contraflow cycle lane that should have been part of the road.
Unfortunately it does feel that lessons are not being learnt from the Seven Dials fiasco.
As part of Bath & North East Somerset Council’s plans to remove obstacles for walking and cycling and reduce the dominance of motor vehicles in the city centre, the Council proposes to make improvements to Saw Close to re-establish the area as a key social space and a focal point for Bath’s entertainment quarter.
Saw Close experiences low vehicle traffic but is a busy pedestrian area that is largely occupied by carriageway. It is proposed to see the road narrowed to slow traffic and encourage pedestrians to make more use of the entire area.
The plans will be on display on Monday, 11 July, from 1pm to 6pm in the Brunswick Room on the ground floor of the Guildhall in Bath, where locals will be able to give their views on the proposals. Council officers will also be present to answer any questions.
Councillor Anthony Clarke (Conservative, Lansdown), Bath &…
This one is slightly personal in that it directly impacts upon my daughter. She goes to Hayesfield and lives within walking distance of the school (Bear flat). She has asked if she can ride to school and we’ve told her no due to Wellsway. The recent Hayesfield newsletter had this message from the head teacher:
“Crossing at Lower Oldfield Park
I would like to update you with the proposed new road crossing for our students. A £35,000 budget has now been allocated by BANES under the ‘Safe route to school’ section of the Highway Capital programme. The proposal is for a pedestrian footway buildout, zebra crossing and associated highway works near the student entrance on Lower Oldfield Park. The timescales for the various schemes on the capital programme are being drawn up over the next couple of weeks and I will let you know what the date for completion is once it has been confirmed.”
Now I’m all for making a crossing across the horror that is Lower Oldfield Park road, but I’m slightly concerned that we are creating a buildout that narrows the lane and forces a child cycling to school to have to “take the lane”. This crossing is important and needs to happen, but I’m unsure if a build out is the right thing here.
CycleBath has raised a formal objection to the designs as they encourage close passing or encourage drivers to move into the path of oncoming cyclists. I recognise that speed calming is necessary and we do not object to the installation of speed tables, however they need changing slightly.
In this article I want to examine what the council is proposing and why the use of Department For Transport LTN 2/08 Cycle Infrastructure Design document is inadequate and why BaNES should switch to using Transport for London’s Streets Toolkit. This contains a paradigm shift in cycle infrastructure design that prioritises pedestrian and cyclist safety over the convenience of drivers.
Cycling in London is recognised as a mass transport. When Bath can demonstrate year on year 15% of traffic on Dorchester Street is cycling then BaNES really should be doing the same.
One of the most baffling aspects of British cycling policy is the contrast between the periodic clampdowns on ‘pavement cycling’ (and the intolerance to this kind of activity in general) and the way cycling is actually designed for by most councils across the country – namely, with shared use footways, and shared paths.
Footway cycling is simultaneously something that people hate, and that the police expend resources on dealing with, while at exactly the same time councils are putting cycling on footways, and lumping cycling with walking on new paths, bridges and underpasses.
… we recognise that cyclists have varying abilities and needs. As a result, we will consider providing off-carriageway facilities by officially re-designating a footway to permit cycling when there is a high proportion of inexperienced cyclists and children to…
The original CCAG Halfpenny bridge scheme was an odd one that tried to place another bridge next to the existing bridge. This would never have worked. Last night I presented my idea to the senior council officer in charge of the CCAG money and it has been accepted in principle.
I present you the new Halfpenny Bridge Scheme
A new cycle/foot path behind the bus station.
A suspended cycle/walk way under Skew Bridge.
A new path next to Halfpenny Bridge around the back of the train station.
A new cycle/foot bridge across to Widcombe.
It is the link that creates a continuous off-road route from Locksbrook all the way through until St John’s Road. It gives people a choice of not walking/cycling down Dorchester Street (which can be a pain) if they want to access the railway station. It significantly reduces footfall on Halfpenny bridge enabling anyone walking towards Widcombe to have an alternative route home. It gives a child safe route to access the Widcombe schools.
It is simple in its execution and solves an immense amount of crowding issues. It even enables people cycling along the Quays area to have a quick route through to Pultney Bridge without negotiating the centre of Bath. It provides a good access route to the K&A Towpath. It’s even brilliant for tourists!
HOWEVER do not count your chickens. There is an immense amount of work to do with the council, the Canal And River Trust, Network Rail, and English Heritage. However what this achieves for Bath is phenomenal. If you like it, write to your councillor. Write to your MP. We have £1.8Million to get this done. It should be doable.
Further details will be discussed at the upcoming BaNES Cycle Forum on the 10th of November at 6pm in the Guildhall.
I’ve somehow got myself onto a list of TRO announcements. This has enabled me to provide feedback to proposed schemes and also get comments from people on the CycleBath email group and the CycleBath Facebook page. However I think it’s important that people know we do this and maybe also add their own comments. Comments need to be in within the next 10 days at the bottom of this post.
Seven Dials is now finished but I think from what I can see, £1.2million of Cycle City Ambition Grant money bought cycling in Bath a new cycle-able door zone and a very exciting collision point outside Flan OBrien’s that is going to get somebody seriously injured. I also like the way BaNES painted in subtle hints that a contraflow may or may not exist enabling people to grumble about cyclists and how they are riding the wrong way up a road.
“Cyclists Dismount”. A sign that causes a facepalm moment for anyone using, or wanting to use, a bicycle for transport.
The obvious answer is that if you have to dismount and wheel your bike to continue your journey then you might as well have not bothered to get the bike out at all. The message is: “Don’t use your bike here. We don’t want you here. Please come by car next time. Or not at all.”
No one expects a piece of road so badly designed that they’d have to get out of their car and push it in order to continue their journey, so why should another mode of road transport be treated any differently?
“Cyclists Dismount” is a sign of failure. Failure to design. Designed to fail.