Wednesday, 22 August 2018

20 mph: it's OK to support it if you have a fast car

There are a few days left to tell BCC you support 20 mph and don't want the zones to be crippled for the benefit of firstbus and few angry drivers from the suburbs. It'll be interesting to see the outcome. If Marvin Rees does roll it back, he will have to justify spending the money to do so, and the potential cost in lives.

We've sent in our feedback "happy with 20 mph", which raises a question with some of our acquaintances, the question being "but you have a fast car"

For the record: in the Important Car for Important People, it is no harder to drive at 20 mph than 30. Petrol consumption is the same at ~20 mpg; as the engine switches off when idle the stationary bits are free.

We've repeatedly claimed that we are important, yet people have accused us of being arrogant self-entitled car hating-wanker cyclists. Not so: the Important Car for Important People is not fictional, it's a BMW 3-series estate with a 2L twin-turbo engine hooked up to the rear wheels via an 8 speed automatic gearbox.



That said, the difference between the two is quite subtle:
CyclistBMW Driver
ArrogantYY
self-entitledYY
WankerYY
Think they own the roadsYY
Park where they wantYY
Ignore Highway codeYY

The Important Car for Important People is actually speed limited to 250 km/h; 156 mph. That's a mostly abstract value, visible only in the cost of manufacturer approved W-rated homogulated run-flat tyres you need to buy on the off-chance you take a wrong turn from Cribbs Causeway, get on the M5, and, after a few missed turns, end up on the A8 autobahn between M√ľnchen and Stuttgart. But it is there: the speed you could drive at if you weren't held back by speed limits and slow-moving cars.

Look at the difference between that theoretical maximum speed and those of Bristol urban roads
Max SpeedLimitDifference
156 mph30126
156 mph20136

See that? Noise.

It may matter to Ford Fiesta drivers who get upset being stuck behind someone cycling 20 mph in the 20 mph zone, but from the perspective of a BMW owner, you are crawling along at either speed. And so: you may as well embrace that crawling along, in order to have a city better to live, walk and cycle in.

Having fiesta drivers tailgate you flashing their lights for you driving at 20 mph is then quaintly amusing, given that it's Fiesta drivers who can't go above 85 mph which hold you back on the M4. For that is where trying to stay close to the limit is hard. Not enough cues around you, you need to keep an eye on the speedo, tell the car itself to beep above 85, waze to chime at 80, and, with attention, you can drive vaguely close to the limit when heading up and down the motorways.

In town: much, much easier
  1. Get in car
  2. Turn Waze on to beep at speed + 5.
  3. Set off, gently tapping the accelerator.
  4. Look at speed of car, compare with speedo, get to 20 mph, or, if too high, coast down.
  5. Carry on at this speed so you get familiar with how it feels.
  6. Keep driving round town, do whatever you intended to do.
  7. If waze beeps, it means you are going too fast, or you think you are driving in a 30 zone where it is really 20. Most useful when coming off a faster road (M32) into town.
You don't need to look at the speedo all the time as it doesn't take long to calibrate your driving at the start of the journey. With the whole inner city at 20 mph, it is easy to get used to it, and straightforward to know what the limit on every road is.

Make the bus routes 30 mph, and all that calibration goes away. You'll end up driving at 35 in a 20 zone, and that's how you earn speeding points. And let's be honest: there's nothing impressive about those kind of speeding tickets. Try showing off to other BMW drivers about getting a ticket at 33 mph —you'll only get laughed at.

Twenty mph works great in Bristol, because it is everywhere. You can calibrate driving at that speed with ease, and you don't have to worry about whether you are on a 20 road while doing 30.

Save your speeding for the M4! Get your response in today!

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

UBHT: our next email to the BRI PR team

Two weeks, and silence from the PR company tasked with selling an eight storey car park in the central bristol "red zone" as a benefit, here is our followup to our initial email.

Hello.

Sadly, we don't seem to have had a reply to our previous email..

Never mind —a polite response would have been nice.

We have a few of questions for our ongoing coverage. While you can opt out of answering them, it will save time compared to filing FOI requests, and give you an opportunity for you to present your arguments.

Terminology

  1. What is a transport hub and how is it different from a normal car park?
  2. If it is because it has secure staff cycle parking, do the existing BRI and St Michael's hill staff car parks qualify for the title "transport hub"?
  3. If not: why not?

Current/Planned capacity

  1. Across the entire UBHT Kingsdown Campus of BRI and St Michael's Hill hospitals, what is the total number of parking spaces?
  2. What is their breakdown into: facilities, staff, disabled and visitor
  3. How was the number of new spaces to build chosen? Was it demand driven, or simply "number of floors times spaces per floor?"
  4. With the proposed multistorey-transport-hub, what will be the new breakdown of facilities, staff, disabled and visitor?
  5. Why was this specific balance chosen?

Demand Modelling

  1. Which tool did you use for modelling demand?
  2. Did you model the pollution impact, and if so on the "we trust the manufacturers" EURO5/6 numbers, or the real world datasets?
  3. Did your model consider that Metrobus promises a step change in Bristol transport? If so, what impact will it be considered to have? If not, why not?
  4. Did any model you explored actually reduce pollution within the central bristol "Red Zone"?
  5. Did you explore different mixes of staff/visitor allocation —and what impact did it have?
  6. Did you explore different sizes of car park —and what impact did it have?

Finally, can we have the model you've built up? We can sort out the software.


Thanks,

The Bristol Traffic Team (data and traffic analysis department)

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

20mph: get your opinions in or lose to FirstBus

Bristol Council has a ongoing consultation on 20 mph limits.


We are happy supporters for the 20 mph limit in Bristol, for various reasons including:

  • We live in the city and want one which is good to live in.
  • Our children walk and cycle round the city, and we like them to come home alive.
  • A defensible study on the 20mph zone concludes that it directly saves lives.
  • If you live in the Red Zone, you want the council to do things to get people using cleaner transport options than driving, and this and RPZs, along with more aggressive actions, are needed here.
  • In the Important Car for Important People, driving at 20mph is no harder than driving at 30 mph; fuel consumption (in a vehicle which turns off its engine at lights and in traffic jams), the same. 
Now, regarding the consultation, there's a large list of roads where raising the limit is being considered

This proposal is fundamentally wrong.
  1. The roads they propose are the roads people cycle on. 
  2. They are the roads children walk to school on.
  3. They are the roads which anyone walking round the city has to walk on and/or cross.
  4. Some of them actually have schools on.
  5. Many of them are shopping streets, where encouraging people to visit and walk to shops, even across the road, is much more important than a nominal peak speed of 30 mph.
Everyone who lives in that inner city, and wants their streets to be more than rat-runs for the suburban visitors, should get their opinion in, support the proposals as is *and argue against changing the limit on any road in the zone.

Changing the limits will massively increase the costs, as now every 20mph-30mph turnoff/junction will need speed-limit-changed signs (go to portsmouth to see this). And at peak hours it will do nothing for journey times.

Why then the proposal? And why the choice of roads? Presumably Marvin Rees & team are trying to keep some groups of people happy. But whom? Well, one little reference is to "stakeholders". And what do the majority of those listed roads appear to have in common? FirstBus buses run on them.

Has FirstBus just given the mayor a list of roads in the 20mph zone where their buses go round and said to him "if you make these 30 mph all our scheduling problems will go away, FirstBus will be wonderful and Metrobus a success?" Because if they did, it's a lie

Looking at that list of roads, comparing it to a bus map, and its hard to conclude that the names aren't from firstbus, and are driven more by their belief it will help scheduling than any concerns about the safety and wellbeing of the inhabitants of Bristol's 20 mph zones.

If you don't want FirstBus to be setting speed limits in Bristol, make your opinions known ASAP.


Photo: the 30mph/20mph boundary on Bridge Road approaching the suspension bridge from As, someone clearly didn't see the speed limit sign and decided to go straight into it. That road isn't on the review list, while nearby roads (Pembroke Road, Clifton Down) are. But then, FirstBus buses aren't allowed over the bridge, are they?

Tuesday, 7 August 2018


As the outreach on an eight-storey car park over staff parking, adjacent to the sole child's playground near Stokes Croft takes place while everyone is out of town, we send a note to the PR team doing their utmost to make this consultation achieve the outcome the hospital wants: support, or at least acquiescence.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: bristol.traffic@gmail.com
Date: 7 August 2018 at 10:53
Subject: Re: hospital parking feedback
To: uhbt@jbp.co.uk
The Bristol Traffic Project
The Bearpit, Bristol BS2
Hello,

Thank you for your letter to residents proposing replacing the multi-storey car park comprising primarily of staff parking with a new, larger car park composing primarily of staff parking.

There appear to be a few other omissions from your letter
  1. The claim "it will be a transport hub" fails to consider the existing multi-storey staff car park has staff bicycle parking, as does the Southwell Street facility. If adding secure bike parking to a car park makes it a "Transport Hub", then the existing car park must also qualify for this term.
  2. The fact that existing Eugene Street car park is primarily staff parking. We estimate of your quoted 192 spaces, 165 are exclusively for staff.
  3. The fact that total parking capacity across the BRI and St Michael's hill area comes to 1.9 miles —and that's without including the three floors of staff-only parking in the existing car park
  4. The fact that air quality in inner Bristol is a significant health hazard, and that if that 800 space car park were used for higher turnover visitor parking, there would be many more than the baseline 1600 journeys/day one would expect. This will generate significant congestion in the area, along with the pollution.
  5. The "it is set back in the hill" claim misses to note that it will in fact tower over the Dove St children's park behind it —the sole childrens play area within a part of the city whose demographics markers indicate "somewhat deprived".
We like to consider ourselves the purveyors of an ironic perspective of Bristol's many traffic issues, so are tempted to cherish the delicious irony of your proposal, "increase hospital staff and visitor parking at the expense of the health of staff, visitors and residents", along with "improve staff parking by removing staff housing".

However, we've decided instead to stare in disbelief at the disingenuous hypocrisy of claiming to be doing this for the health of patients where it appears to be more of a reaction to the residents parking zone changes, combined with an excel spreadsheet showing the revenue opportunities of high-turnover visitor parking.

We shall cover this topic over the summer. Expect forthcoming FoI requests to explore both the number and purpose of parking spaces across the entire Kingsdown Estate, your modelling of the congestion and health impact of adding six hundred more spaces, any artists impressions you have made of the "View from the Dove Street playground", as well as on your business model —including who is funding the project and whether you've included in your business plans the risk that a labour government will mandate that England follow Scotland and Wales in offering free hospital parking.

Current and future coverage will be appear under the URL http://bristolcars.blogspot.com/search/label/BRI

Thanks.

The Bristol Traffic Team

"Weakly-defensible data-driven traffic analysis since 2008"

bristol.traffic@gmail.com   @bristoltraffic