What if we’d never built pavements?

Wholly and totally copied word for word from this blog post but illustrates, I think, the level of persuasion we need, as cycle campaigners, to somehow justify good cycle infrastructure that just seems common sense in places like the Netherlands (and even Cambridge).

Let the craziness begin:

Pedestrians have to walk on the road, and are expected to follow the appropriate rules and laws.

Hardy joggers and runners regularly take to the roads to get exercise, and have developed good stamina for keeping up with traffic. They know how to run and walk around lorries and fast cars. Many of them wear helmets and hi-visibility outfits.

Despite this, many pedestrians are killed or injured as they walk or run.

Walking and running are largely regarded as sports. Certainly, the main group of people who regularly walk or run are sports people out in training, or keeping fit.

But a small number of people take to the roads just to get to the shops, or even just for fun. They walk, rather than run, and are seen as a complete hazard on the roads by most drivers. They don’t always wear hi-visibility outfits, and some don’t even wear helmets.

There are calls for pedestrians to be better regulated. Most road users have to have insurance and a licence to use the road. But pedestrians can just take to the road without any training or insurance. Accidents involving pedestrians often cost drivers a fair amount, and many question why pedestrians should get away with this scot-free.

Campaign groups such as “Pedestrians On Parliament” start to spring up, calling for segregated infrastructure for pedestrians. They point out that in the Netherlands they’ve spent decades building “pavements” and people can now walk around safely. People walk to the shops, to work, and just for fun. Many even walk home from the pub!

But many drivers are shocked by this. They complain that there are already pedestrians who don’t wear helmets or indicate correctly when walking or running. Allowing them to get drunk and then walk would be crazy, they insist. Until they can learn to behave better on the road, why should “pavements” be built for them?

And many of the more experienced road runners also object to these ideas. They point out that as long as you train hard enough and keep alert, traffic isn’t that dangerous for pedestrians.

This division amongst the pedestrian activists allows most councils to ignore these calls for better pedestrian infrastructure. They do sometimes build small sections, merging back into the road sometimes, and these aren’t well used. People who can already run in traffic ignore these sections, and people who don’t want to run in traffic don’t use them because of the on-road parts…

 

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The makings of a successful cycle street

Cycle streets/filtered streets/modal filtering are key to achieving more liveable environments. The counterargument is that you are making people drive further creating more pollution, but the reality, as shown by Walthomstow Mini-Holland scheme which boils down to 14 filtered streets is 10,000 less car journeys a day and a modal shift to walking and cycling.

It’s key to realise that in many cases it really is simply a couple of planters and a Dead End Sign or two. They can also be really quickly and cheaply implemented using Experimental Traffic Regulation Orders and trialed between 1-18months.

More expensive rising bollard systems can also be used where more flexible access is needed, for example commercial vehicle access is needed at certain times of day. The city of Nijmegen in effect created a car free zone in the city centre using ‘cycle streets’ https://vimeo.com/225412908#t=220s

You are simply stating, if you are here in your car, on this street, you are here because this is your destination not just a convenient rat run.

I’m really surprised many of councils are just picking up on this.

As Easy As Riding A Bike

The ‘cycle street’ concept is a familiar one to cycle campaigners – a street where, it is claimed, cycling has priority, and ‘cars are guests’, sometimes with added rules about ‘no overtaking’.

I think it’s easy for British campaigners to get excited about ‘cycle streets’ primarily because the concept corresponds largely to existing cycling behaviour on busy British roads. Wouldn’t it be great – they might think – to cycle along this road without drivers attempting to overtake, and with those drivers knowing that they are ‘guests’ on it.

But the most successful ‘cycle streets’ don’t have any of these kinds of rules. The key ingredient is simply ensuring that the street in question isn’t a through-route for motor traffic. Markings, rules and signs are largely superfluous – indeed unnecessary – when this key condition is met. In fact they often aren’t even ‘cycle streets’ in any formal sense.

This…

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A day in the life of somebody cycling from Timsbury

We recently highlighted the work that Timsbury Cycling Group are doing and as part of their work Alex Evans reached out to me about what he can do next forwarding the email chain he has had with the council.

Within one of his emails, he describes his daily commute from Timsbury. I tried highlighting particular sentences but it ended up with most of the email being highlighted. Read it. Understand this is a daily occurrence.  Continue reading A day in the life of somebody cycling from Timsbury

The problem is not us, it’s them!

When we ask ourselves how we address the transport problems in Bath, and particularly the air pollution that Bath suffers from, the language that organisations use gives you an idea about the direction in which those organisations are looking.

Reading both the statement put forward by BaNES  and the letter from FoBRA published in the Chronicle, it is pretty clear that the problem is the 12% through traffic ( 8760 drivers) and the naughty 900 HGVs. (FoBRA in their defence did list a few other things.)

What seems to have been ignored is that WE are the 88%. We are the 64240 people that drive into and around the city each day. Yet the answer lies with the 12%.

Let’s be clear. The A36/A46 bypass will ONLY remove 2000 cars form London Road and is 15 years in the making. Within the last 12 years we’ve already lost nearly 5,000 cars from London Road yet the bypass has been on the cards for 30+ years.

We need to be absolutely honest about what’s going on here and we need radical solutions and we need them now.

We need strong parking control across the whole city to keep Park and Ride sites fully utilised. The council can sell day time passes to commuters in areas where space is available if P&R sites get too full (but not for diesel). Call it the Bath RPZ+ if you like.

We need to prioritise separate space for walking, cycling, and driving on our major arterial roads over on-street parking.

We need better, smoother junctions using Poyntonesque style roundabouts with cycle bypasses (Poynton is horrible to cycle. I tried.).

We need a Link and Ride on the east side of the city using brownfield land between the A46 and the railway at Bathampon Junction, ready for when you implement the RPZ+.

We should be implementing some of the phases from the New Phased Delivery of the Bath ‘Living Heart’ Transport Plan making the city centre access only.

We need to kill the school run. Build School Streets. Fine parents for dropping their kids off outside schools as 5,000 of them do each day. LOOK AROUND YOU RIGHT NOW. Go outside tomorrow at 8:30am. Where’s all the traffic?

We need to ask why 10,000 people living in Bath, drive 2 miles or less to work in Bath each day.

What we don’t need to be doing is blaming the 12% or those naughty HGVs.

WE ARE THE 88%. WE ARE THE PROBLEM.

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Bath Quays, we have a problem and an opportunity

I’ve finally got my electric bike back and there is nothing quite like riding anywhere in Bath and not having to feel the burn of climbing hills. Holloway at 25kph. Not a problem. Actually that one hurts as it’s pedal assist but the motor happily takes a 130kg man up Holloway at 15kph with me free wheeling. However I digress.

What it did let me do is explore Weston to Camden and down through Larkhall and back to Locksbrook without worrying about hills. I found an extra fix for the link from Julian Road to Camden via Morford Street that is a lot more comfortable than Brunswick Place and will be updating the Cycle Bath Map shortly.

So why am I writing this?

While exploring the newly re-opened Quays route I came across this build-out:

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Continue reading Bath Quays, we have a problem and an opportunity

State of play, Social Rides, and Club Ride Politics

We had planned by now to have some sort of monthly newsletter up and going but things have been rather busy.

What We’ve Been Up To

Cycle Bath has produced a document, viewable online here or downloadable as a pdf Cllr Shelford The Way Forward This document is now ‘locked’ but is probably one of the most comprehensive overview of ‘stuff that needs doing to get people cycling’ in BaNES ever produced. Expect yearly versions of this going forward.

Social Rides

The I Want To Ride section of the site is probably the most visited section of the website. We want to call attention to the newest addition to our Organised Rides page, the rather fantastic 30 Mile Thursdays. If we were to describe what they do, it very much is a ‘lovely’ ride out taking 3-4 hours to cover around 30 miles and eat cake. This is not club riding.

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Club Rides Get Political

Our Cycle Clubs section is there for those people who are looking to get into sport cycling. Many of the clubs run a number of different rides each week and run rides for all abilities.

Cycle Bath wants to highlight Timsbury Cycle Group for the work they have put in raising awareness of issues with the Two Headed Man junction which Cycle Bath has written about. They now have the unanimous backing from their parish council for their request for safer cycling facilities to be designed into the ‘car only’ Two Headed Man scheme.

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Bath CC has Nigel Sherwin as their rights officer. Timsbury Cycle Group has the rather awesome Stefano Marazzi. We’re not saying that all clubs should have a rights officer, but if there is somebody passionate about getting better cycle infrastructure, then your club can become a powerful voice within the community and at council level by simply recognising/appointing them as the Club’s Rights Officer and letting them gather like minded members around them and letting them get on with it.

Talking about voices, your feedback on Keynsham High Street Trial is needed or it will be scrapped. Email in and support it, or lose it.

Something For The Weekend

For something crazy to do this weekend, cycle over to Ashton Court and watch the balloons rise on Saturday morning. Gates open 6am, so a 5am start should get you there for 6:40ish, just in time to see the balloons go up! 😀

 

Fighting over scraps

I swear two of those pictures used in this article are from Bath which really isn’t saying much for Bath. We really need to change the conversation around road design. If we want healthy, efficient, safe urban streets, we must treat walking, cycling, and driving with equal importance and provide separate space for each with no one mode getting priority. Sharing really is bad.

As Easy As Riding A Bike

This week, it’s evidently the turn of ‘the joggists’ to be the folk devil in the media, helpfully standing in for ‘the cyclists’ who traditionally take on this popular and coveted role.

One isolated incident, in which a man committed what appears to be an unnecessary and unprovoked assault, has proven fertile territory for journalists and opinion columnists to veer off into stereotypes and ludicrous commentary, in much the same way they do following an incident involving someone on a bike. (It’s perhaps no surprise that it’s some familiar faces making precisely same kinds of arguments).

There was rich competition for the most absurd take, but a strong contender surely has to be Sky’s Adam Boulton, who weighed in with this gem –

With an inevitable dig at cyclists

Closely followed by Julie Bindel, who, on Radio 4’s Today Programme, implied that jogging on pavements in cities should be banned…

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Mobility and bikes

I do not want to take anything away from this article, so here it is

http://wheelsforwellbeing.org.uk/mobility-and-my-bike/

What I will say is that the BaNES council utterly fails to recognise that electric bicycles and particularly electric tricycles enable many people with sever walking issues the freedom to live easily within cities and towns. Many find that this form of transport has a positive impact on their health and wellbeing.

Yet for years we have asked the council to remove bollard formations that limit access. Currently if you are using a wider eTrike, the Two Tunnels and the Bath To Bristol Cycle Path are off limits.

Spacing is important. Any barrier must enable a 1.2m wide x 2.8m long mobility vehicle through.

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That includes wheelchair trikes:

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Cycle Bath even went to the trouble of identifying the points where problems exist (the connections marked with a red dot) on the Bath Cycle Map

Bath Cycle Network Quality Map

Many of the issues on the Two Tunnels Linear Park are simply a padlock key and removal of a couple of bollards away from being accessible.

Read the article, understand that putting barriers in to ‘slow down cyclists’ probably goes against the 2010 Equalities act. You might as well put up signs “No Disabled Access” signs all over the place.

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The Locksbrook Greenway – The final piece in the puzzle.

Part of trying to understand how to make walking and cycling more attractive given that 47% of people living in Bath and working in Bath walk or cycle to work is trying to create cohesive end to end networks.

Whether you like it or not, your only real option for accessing the city centre from the west is to use the congested river path. It’s not only narrow, due to years of poor maintenance, but is also not perceived as safe late at night.

The Locksbrook Greenway Scheme fixes this:

Locksbrook Greenway Scheme (4)
Using the proposed BRT route we can create a traffic free corridor into the heart of the city with a new parallel Fieldings Cycle Bridge, refurbishment of Locksbrook Bridge and replacement of Traffic Light controlled Windsor Bridge junctions with Cycle Bypass Roundabouts.

But significantly it also fits in with Cycle Bath’s call to break Pines Way Gyratory:

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Remove Pineway Gyratory, replace traffic lights with roundabouts, create segregated space for walking and segregated space for cycling. The gyratory is 4 lanes in parts and this enables it to go down to 2 lanes for cars creating a larger public realm and even enable bus bypass for the protected cycle lane.

This then delivers you directly to Quays Bridge and into the city centre.

This proposal is roughly identified in the Bath Enterprise Plan

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However their proposal around the Pines Way misses the trick of identifying a core transport corridor to the train station.

The Locksbrook Greenway is not a new idea, but simply one that seems to be forgotten.

Churchill Bridge Turbo Roundabout Proposal

I think when looking at road systems it can be hard to create something that is great for maximising vehicular traffic flow and keeps cyclists safe. Roundabouts fall into the keeping traffic flowing while making cycling unsafe category.

Bring in spatial constraints and you can end up with something horrible that is extremely hostile to people wanting to cycle.

As an exercise in rethinking Churchill Bridge Roundabout I began looking at turbo roundabouts. Something highways engineers use to create a high volume vehicular throughput.

Turbo roundabout

A specific form of roundabout for motorists, with a spiral pattern that commits motorists to choosing the correct lane before entering the roundabout. Lane changes on the roundabout itself are eliminated

And I came up with this:

Churchhill Bridge Turbo Roundabout Proposal (2)

The Churchhill Bridge Turbo Roundabout Proposal (3) pdf is probably clearer.

I’m really uncomfortable with creating a Wellsway cycle lane to the right which ‘forces’ somebody cycling to take a primary position to then access the new cycle crossings. So for people that are uncomfortable with roundabouts, it’s a big ask to get them to do this just to access a traffic free way to negotiate the roundabout.

I did try and have a west crossing point, but the sight lines make it phenomenally dangerous and even the east crossing point is probably inadvisable.

For people comfortable with cycling, the roundabout now offers a lot more ‘control’ as taking the lane controls the traffic around you. No longer will you be under/over taken

Comments welcome. I have submitted it to Highways for consideration, particularly as the layout fixes the accident blackspot which is the Wellsway leg of the current roundabout.

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Working, Living, Cycling, and campaigning for better cycle infrastructure in Bath, UK