Friday, 12 July 2013

This is a dead cycle lane. No its not, its a norwegian blue.

One aspect of the Cycling City program was the way they used Showcase Bus Routes as part of the plan

as you can see, it means that on a friday evening people have a cycle lane to follow on whiteladies road

It's not a particularly great cycle lane, but with the bus lane downhill and road widening out further up, this metre or so of paint does say "bicycles can go here". For anyone thinking "why not take the lane", on a friday evening that lane is stationary traffic. On a day when there is moving traffic, most people aren't going to be fit enough to keep with the flow all the way up the hill.

this bike lane, is important.

But not, apparently, as important as a buildout "for pedestrian safety"

This little build-out popped up without any warning, no consultation on the council web site, apparently no discussion in the bike forums, nothing.

Why has it gone up? Part of the "safe routes to school" work to the new St Johns school campus; This is the one where last year Skanska proposed making lower redland road a one-way route and stopping cyclists from contraflowing as their safe-school-run plan.

That plan got killed, but whoever wanted to do it must have been bearing a grudge, as they have effectively managed to knife the Whiteladies road cycle route instead, giving you a whole 50cm of rough tarmac and slippery paint between the pavement and the large buses.

This is not a cycle lane! It is dead!

No doubt the council will argue it is "resting", that it is a "norwegian blue" cycle lane. We know different -this buildout has killed it. The cycle team needs to admit this, and on next year's cycle maps remove the "dedicated cycle lane" from this stretch of whiteladies road. To pretend it is still there is to be the pet-shop owner in the dead parrot sketch.

There's just one little thing we have to ask of whoever designed this. Not: did you know that there was a cycle lane there before you came up with your plan? Not: how did you manage to get this in without the cycle team noticing? Not even "how do manage to bypass the entire council consultation process"?

No its: how does slightly widening the pavement make crossing an A-Road at peak hours a safe route to school?

Uphill and downhill there are pelican crossings, the whiteladies gate one being very popular on the school run. Here, for example, is a video of people waiting to cross it when, as it goes red, a volvo school-running parent goes through it uphill (note the pedestrian to the left of the camera shaking her head in disbelief -she mustn't get out much), while the driver of the car coming downhill is too busy on the phone to do the same.

This shows that you can't safely cross whiteladies road on a weekday morning on a light-controlled or zebra crossing without expecting vehicles to cut you up. That doesn't even include the (sadly not on video) incident involving a school running Volvo dad driving over the wrong side of the oakfield road crossing traffic island. These crossings, despite their white lines and red lights are not safe to cross.

Which is why we stare at these roadworks in disbelief. Not because we care about the cyclists -they are clearly unimportant. But in complete disbelief that whoever built this thought it would make trying to walk two kids across two lanes of rush hour traffic is a safe route to school.

Because all the pinch point is doing is stopping bicycles coming up the hill at 4 mph from hitting the push chair -it does nothing for the cars and buses that are likely to cause more damage to the children.

Which means that it is utterly useless. It is not just a a dead cycle lane, it is a dead pedestrian crossing too


Anonymous said...

See image here on Flickr (it's a screenshot from the video}

Utterly bonkers.

Whiteladies Road is the Wild West of Traffic and the Crazy Golf of Motoring. It's the Tom and Jerry of shared use highways and the Laurel and Hardy of road engineering.

I regularly go up and down it just to see what motor vehicles can do to a city full of relatively sensible people. It only works at all because a critical number of those who use it (let's say two thirds?) are thoughtful, considerate and calm. Their skill and forbearance makes it possible for others to dream at the wheel and catch up on the morning's social whirl.

Do you think the drivers will see this blog and complain about their misrepresentation as sociopaths?

Adam said...

Video of the old & new lane