Our Transport in their hands and the future is bleak…maybe

We have a problem in England and it doesn’t seem to be getting better. Given the recent Newbridge Park and Ride design, I think we’re pretty much staying still. We are designing roads for cars and then adding on active travel aspects as an afterthought. The fault here is very much at the council officers and not the councillors. Elected representatives come and go. Officers are forever. Officers know this. A lot of transport schemes are 5+ years in the making. It really makes no difference to the officers what the councillors want. In a couple of years they will be gone and a new bunch of councillors will be in. In the meantime the councillors get it in the neck from the voting public. It’s obviously their fault because obviously being elected to office immediately makes you an expert on transport.

The reality is that councils have senior management teams that are paid a LOT of money for their expertise in delivering good transport infrastructure and they are just not up to scratch.

Continue reading Our Transport in their hands and the future is bleak…maybe


Newbridge Park and Ride – Another BANES cycling/walking disaster in the making

I was down that way this morning and thought I would go have a look at the development as I had heard the entrance has now been completed. Tell you what, if you are a car or bus, it is pretty damn good. If you grab a Next Bike to ride into town, welcome to cycling hell. Want to walk? Here have a long detour. There was an immense amount of space for the council to play with here and they just really messed it up. I do not know who they have designing these schemes but they need to be re-trained to start delivering good infrastructure for ALL modes of transport.

Continue reading Newbridge Park and Ride – Another BANES cycling/walking disaster in the making

Stall Street – How the council missed a trick

[EDIT 25/11/2014] It has been pointed out to me by the council that the ‘ramped’ kerbs are in fact flat corduroy and that the whole scheme is a flat shared space. I will be correcting this article in light of this]

I recently became aware of the public realm improvements on Lower Borough Walls and Stall Street and to be honest they still absolutely prioritize cars. They may want to paint it as great for pedestrians but seriously, what were they thinking?

Continue reading Stall Street – How the council missed a trick

Victoria Bridge cycle push-up/down

1. I have been pursuing access to/from Victoria Bridge from the riverside path for some time, so this is my take on things and responds to various recent ‘tweets’.

2. Originally I lobbied for a ramp which would meet everyone’s requirements. B&NES Council Design Team produced an initial (ie not detailed) design a copy of which is attached. Victoria bridge rampTC8503.100.GA

3. As things progressed the Council Major Projects Team rejected the ramp option for two reasons, quote:

a. “it would have to run partly along the towpath, and would have reduced the towpath width in that area leaving a less than ideal arrangement for pedestrian and cycle traffic to safely pass one another.”

I can see some logic here (although arguably the ramp width could have been reduced).

b. “it would have had an unacceptably detrimental impact on the character and appearance of the listed structure. Bear in mind that the most obvious linkage route between the towpath and upper level that of the steps, lies within the curtilage of the Grade II listed structure.”

My interpretation is that English Heritage rejected the ramp, so that was that. (I have views on the power of EH but that’s another matter.)

Anyhoo, the ramp was history and I was told that a cycle ‘push-up’ would be incorporated.

4. When I, like others, saw what was in situ, I wasn’t doing cartwheels down the path, so I contacted Major Projects and have had an exchange of correspondence with David Reynolds which is currently continuing. I pointed out that the cycle push up/down (on the left-hand side looking up) caters for left-handers pushing up or right-handers pushing down, but would be quite awkward for ‘the reverse’.

5. Given the reality that the concrete is poured and what is in place is not, effectively, going to be able to be substantively changed, I suggested that the ‘flat’ section on right-hand side of the steps also be utlised as a push-up/down. Although it’s tricky to judge from outside the fence, it looks as if, with a few bricks and a couple of buckets of cement, the two sections could be joined by building in a rising curved section between them. Not perfect, but better.

6. The reply advised that the design had “been detailed as per the SUSTRANS standard detail. A channel is not proposed for the other side of the steps because we do not believe there is a need for two channels to cater for handedness – certainly I’m not aware of any design guidance which requires this – and we want to maximise the width available for pedestrians, which would reduce further with a channel on the other side.” In my recent response I highlighted: http://www.sustrans.org.uk/sites/default/files/images/files/migrated-pdfs/guidelines%208.pdf – the last page 8.7, ‘Wheeling Ramps’, which states: “Ideally the ramp should be placed on both sides of the steps as this will cater for both left and right handed cyclists.” ie if you’re starting from scratch, this is what you should do.

7. Thus, I remain of the opinion that appropriate consideration should be given to implementing the proposal I outline at para 5 above. It won’t be perfect but, given where we are, I think it would represent a pragmatic and achievable improvement for not much effort.

8. Comments here or on Twitter are welcomed (althoughI request they be of the ‘constructive’ rather than ‘ranty’ nature :))

Frank Tompson

Call To Action: Please respond to Government’s Cycle Delivery Plan by today!

This one is very very simple but you do need to get your comments in as soon as you can as it closes midnight today [Thursday].

Response is by email : Walking.Cycling@dft.gsi.gov.uk

This is all about money. The government spends £462 per head per year on transport. The government has stated that they have an ‘aspiration’ to spend £10 per head of this money on cycling.
The DfT recently released a report where it was shown nationally that each £1 invested in cycling infrastructure returned £5.50 and in places with established cycling (Cambridge and Oxford) a return of up to £35.
This return beats ANY other form of transport investment hands down. In fact the DfT is legally required to pursue the best return on investment possible.
Please please please EMAIL Walking.Cycling@dft.gsi.gov.uk and tell them you want a yearly £10 indexed linked investment in cycling.
For further information you can see the consultation here:
CTC and British Cycling have also been highly critical of the lack of commitment from the Government.

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