Category Archives: Uncategorized

Come talk about clean air.

When comparing some of the options that are being presented here it’s important to view these within the context of what other UK cities are doing. Exeter introduced Co-Bikes electric bike share, then with the same membership, are now introducing electric car share. I also think it is interesting that they use the phrase “Extend walking and cycling priority schemes and encourage greater modal shift. Provide a safer environment for cycling and walking.” Given the recent debacle in Keynsham, we need to enable people to make the switch, not encourage. You can give all school children Bikeability 3 training and encourage them to cycle to school, but you can only enable them if there are visibly safe cycle routes that get kids from their schools to their communities.

BATH NEWSEUM

The first set of events for people wanting to find out more about plans for a Clean Air Zone for Bath – including charging high-emission vehicles to drive into the city centre – are being held during April.

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Two public events have been lined up by Bath and North East Somerset Council with lots more being planned over the coming months.

The Council has been asked to take urgent action to reduce harmful nitrogen dioxide levels in the city and has drawn up a shortlist of three packages of measures which are capable of reducing vehicle emissions and bringing about the required improvement by the 2021 deadline.

No decisions have been made at this time but the Council is legally bound to reach a decision on a preferred package of measures by December and it is seeking people’s views. Over the coming months, each package of measures will be examined…

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On when Boardman’s team met… Rochdale Council

Great things are happening in Greater Manchester and it really shows how far behind the West Of England Combined Authority is.

One criticism I would have is the use of the term “Cycle Super Highway” which is causing issues around public perception. “Cycle Track” is an internationally recognised type of cycle infrastructure https://nacto.org/publication/urban-bikeway-design-guide/cycle-tracks/ and I see no reason not to adopt a UK National CT designation similar to the Motorway or even A road designation. Anyone coming to a city or town would know that CT218 is a route with high quality segregated cycle infrastructure their kids could ride on.

It also solves the political compromises that a CSH (Cycle Super Highway) designation has that it does not define a minimum level of infrastructure and allows Local Authorities to get away with delivering sub-par infrastructure that no parent would let their kids cycle on.

I know Sustrans are reviewing the National Cycle Network at the moment and it might be good to consider reclassifying the NCN4 designation into NCN4 and CT4 identifying high quality segregated sections of the route.

Cycle Tracks cannot be politically compromised due to the very clear definition, not only by NACTO, but also by Public Highways England http://www.standardsforhighways.co.uk/ha/standards/ians/pdfs/ian195.pdf

It is key that we recognise that within the way we communicate these schemes with the public. A Cycle Track scheme is great for kids enabling them to cycle to school. A Cycle Super Highway evokes MAMILs racing along at high speed with far greater public opposition. CSH needs to die. It’s a REALLY bad term with no minimum design requirement unlike CT.

Banging on about bikes

Opening remarks

This is the second in an occasional series chronicling the meetings being held by Chris Boardman’s team and the ten boroughs of Greater Manchester as a preliminary stage in the process of planning a comprehensive walking and cycling network across the region. The first post, mainly about the Bury meeting but with a note on the Tameside session, has had considerably more traction than I expected: imagining it might only have been of interest to a handful of infrastructure geeks, in fact it spread far and wide, predominantly through the medium of Twitter, and to date has had over 3,000 views. It has illustrated the phenomenal appetite of many people across Greater Manchester and beyond to be involved in cycling and walking network planning from this stage onwards, and I am told the piece has even attracted the attention of Transport Minister Jesse Norman, whose portfolio covers…

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Your chance to voice your opinion.

If you have an interest in transport, this might be very good to attend.

BATH NEWSEUM

Buses, the environmental impact of new build developments and clean and affordable energy.

These are some of the main topics coming up for discussions when The West of England Combined Authority’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee meets at the Bath Guildhall  on Wednesday, March 21, at 10.30am.

guildhall The Bath Guildhall

Members will hear about, and contribute to, plans for a for clean and affordable energy system. WECA received £50,000 from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in March 2017 to develop this work across the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership area (Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol and North Somerset and South Gloucestershire).

Over 70 people from local organisations attended a workshop in Keynsham in February, organised by Centre for Sustainable Energy on behalf of the LEP, to start discussing priority areas, including low and zero carbon electricity; decarbonisation of heat; electric vehicles and ensuring new build…

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On when Boardman’s team met Bury Council

I suspect that Local Cycling Walking Infrastructure Plans that some councils are producing are not going to this level of community engagement. I *really* like the way that Brian Deegan threw out any preconceived ideas of defining the new network based on the existing leisure routes. Something Bath & North East Somerset can definitely learn from. BaNES are currently working with Bristol to develop LCWIPs. There has been no community engagement as yet. This is a bit worrying. Good to see Greater Manchester tackling this correctly when councils are prepared to engage.

Banging on about bikes

Background

In early February I received an intriguing e-mail from the officer responsible for cycling at Bury Council. Headed “GM Walking and cycling network planning – Bury inception meeting”, the message read:

“Might you be available for a meeting at 10 on the 27th? It’s not a Forum or open meeting but we want one or two local cyclists who know the Borough fairly well to be involved.”

Reading further down the thread of what was in fact a forwarded e-mail, it turned out that my name had been suggested by a fellow cycling/sustainable travel advocate and Bury resident, and that the meeting was with representatives of Chris Boardman, the newly appointed Walking and Cycling Commissioner for Greater Manchester. A meeting between Bury Council and Boardman’s people? With Bury Council reaching out to cyclists at the planning and inception stage? What a tantalising prospect!

28168626_10213678687234093_8802906461876553305_n Heading off to the…

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A Waste of Space

As Easy As Riding A Bike

In London yesterday evening, I approached Parliament Square along the cycleway at Great George Street.

Good job TfL.

In front of me was perhaps the classic stereotypical scene shared by taxi drivers, and other people hostile to new cycling infrastructure in London (and other British towns and cities). A large expanse of empty tarmac loomed in front of me, contrasting starkly with the clogged road on the right. You might say the cycleway is ‘causing’ congestion and pollution, if you were so inclined.

In the distance – on the ’empty’ tarmac – two cyclists (maybe three? who cares, really) are waiting at a red signal. On the right, frustrated drivers are needlessly spewing out fumes, and doubtless fuming themselves, at the waste of space on their left. Valuable space that – if it were used properly for important motor traffic, not for some silly hobby – would have sped them to…

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Let’s talk Bath transport!

Cycle Bath will be there! So should you.

BATH NEWSEUM

Bath’s MP Wera Hobhouse will be in Larkhall in February to attending an open meeting where you can have your say about transport in Bath.

It’s being organised by Transition Larkhall on March 3rd at the New Oriel Hall, in Larkhall,  from 9.30 am to 2pm.
Poster for TL Travel Meeting
Joanna Wright tells Bath Newseum that the meeting is all about “thinking differently about travel in and around Bath. We want peoples’ ideas about transport in Bath.

Wera Hobhouse MP – and other political and campaign groups – will be present to
join the discussion about the future of travel in and around the city.

A professional facilitator will lead the discussion, focused on the idea of
thinking differently about travel in and around Bath.
We’ll be asking who is moving around and why are they moving that way. How do you travel, and how would you like to travel, around Bath? Let’s help create…

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Sustainable Safety and ‘Shared Space’

I suspect that I’ll be mentioning Sustainable Safety and asking why this is not a core part of any public realm redesign.

As Easy As Riding A Bike

There was a bit of back-and-forth on social media last week on the subject of Exhibition Road, involving – in particular – the Conservative councillor Daniel Moylan, who had a major role in pushing the ‘shared space’ scheme through.

One of his tweets was – for me at least – particularly intriguing.

Fairly clear! But why might a fan of ‘shared space’ be so hostile to Sustainable Safety – the policy which lies behind the Netherlands world-leading road safety record? After all, the Netherlands is the country where Moylan’s version of ‘shared space’ largely originates – with the ideas of Hans Monderman.

If we look at the principles of Sustainable Safety, the answer quickly becomes clear. The ideology behind Exhibition Road (and Moylan’s attitude towards how it should…

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Amsterdam vs Copenhagen (part 1)

Really think that the way we design roads in the UK is somewhat stuck in the 1970s. I still think we prioritise parking too much over creating good healthy streets that work for everyone, not just cars.

Nicer cities, liveable places

Amsterdam vs Copenhagen…
…Netherlands vs Denmark

Part 1 – Basic urban cycle track anatomy

Despite the provocative title this blog post will have a relatively technical focus – comparing some features of infrastructure found in the Netherlands with what’s found in Denmark – and comparing both to the UK. But it’ll not be too technical. What I’m aiming for is to convey my overall impression of the differences in infrastructure design where this is intended to support cycling.


All being well, this will be one part of a two or three part series.

Note that the images in this post are simple sketches, illustrating my overall impression of the differences in relatively standard infrastructure in each place.

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These images are not to scale, and almost certainly contain errors when compared to real infrastructure. Inevitably actual infrastructure varies hugely in reality too. What I’m drawing here is simply an idealised image…

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Isochrons and Potential Modal Shift

This one is going to get very technical, but stay with me. I think the way we have been deciding where to build cycle infrastructure is fundamentally flawed. My day job is as a software engineer with a smattering of data science. I also play around at hackathons and winning a few.

At the weekend I won one in Bristol with this analysis

Screen Shot 2017-10-14 at 18.22.41.png Given a ward, how many people living in the ward drive to work in the ward? How many people living 5km or less away drive to work in the ward and from what direction?

So what does this tell us?

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A good segregated cycle route from Headley Park and Hengrove to Brislington would have a huge impact.

Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 23.11.26 Avonmouth probably could do with some really good infrastructure.

Huh? But nobody wants that?

BaNES once asked Sustrans to identify a series of routes in various areas. They asked people. I mean why? What do you gain by asking people? You get people that already cycle affirming certain routes. Anybody already in a car doesn’t really care anyway.

So what should Councils be doing?

Isochrons are the measurement of something as a unit of time. In terms of cycling, 5km is about 20 minutes of cycling and we really don’t care about people already cycling. Yes the infrastructure could all be vastly improved, but let’s ask a simpler question.

Time is money, and congestion costs time

Given that congestion is estimated to cost Bristol £43.7 million a year can we use 20 minutes of travel time to determine the maximum Potential Modal Shift (PMS) for road networks and choose to develop infrastructure to maximise reduction in congestion?

Yes we can!

The work at MSOA level (ward) that I have done indicates that an LSOA (smaller than a ward) commuter flow exclusively using travel to work by car and limiting it to 20 minutes travel by bike applied using route finding, should enable identification of key routes with high PMS. This analysis should define the investment we need to do.

Implication

This method unfortunately absolutely shafts rural investment. Neither does it take into account the school run. However neither does it preclude using school travel plans to add the data into the mix.

Focusing on the problem

Let’s be honest, we could keep on spending money on cycle infra for the next 50 years and still not catch up with the Netherlands, however if we actually want to maximise the shift away from cars to bikes, then let’s identify the maximum PMS by focusing on the actual problem. The private car and the cost of congestion.

Why we need all professional drivers to pass Bikeability Level 3 training

This morning I was walking along Chaucer Road towards Beechen Cliff and observed a mini-bus driver overtake a Beechen Cliff Pupil riding his bike to school. Chaucer Road is a typical Bath residential road with cars parked either side and about 3m of width between. The driver chose to pass the kid at less than 0.5m.

I lost my cool. Stopped the driver, told him in no uncertain terms that that was a dangerous close pass and then called up his company to lodge a complaint.

I later had a call back from the company, where the manager initially apologised and then started to go into a story about how a cyclist up at the top of Wellsway didn’t ride properly across a roundabout. An 11 year old boy was placed in a phenomenally dangerous situation because a professional driver could not wait 10 seconds and his manager tries to use collective responsibility and blame “cyclists”.

W T F?

He did say he would have words with him.

This is where it gets interesting

I suggested that a better solution would be to ensure he gets Bikeability Level 3 training from the council so he understands how bad what he did was. The manager stated that he couldn’t ‘punish’ him that much as bus drivers are quite rare and he would leave to work for somebody else.

All professional drivers must have Bikeability training

The reality is, within a gig economy, we must ensure that the companies that hire these drivers take responsibility for their behaviour. Requiring companies to only be able to hire drivers that have had Bikeability Level 3 training would be a simple step in ensuring the safety of people choosing to cycle to school or work or the shops or just for fun.

I think, particularly taxi and bus companies need to ensure all their drivers have Bikeability training.

Bad driving should require a Bikeability Refresher Course

Let’s be real, there are economic and time pressures on drivers to deliver goods/people as quick as possible. Having to wait for an annoying cyclist can cost them money. However they should realise that the company they work for will put them on Bikeability Training if complaints are received about their driving around vulnerable road users. Evidence of the training should be published.

Driving is what they do

Professional drivers spend their lives on the road and should be held to a high standard. Ideally I’d like to see Bikeability Training as part of passing your driving test, but with a significant number of KSIs related to HGVs, maybe, just maybe, getting those drivers that spend all day on the road trained up as cyclists, we will save lives.

One more thing…

The school drop off at Beechen Cliff has to be seen to be believed and the reality is that closing Chaucer Road at Kipling Avenue to vehicular traffic using bollards would create a quieter, safer residential area and control the speeding traffic that piles along Chaucer on a regular basis. Each resident would still have 3 exits onto Wellsway. A modal filter cell here would have huge benefits to the community and to the safety of children.

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