Friday, 16 January 2009

Prince Street Bridge

Here is the long promised Princes Street bridge improvements, giving us a chance to offer some Copenhagen Chic-style photos of bicycles.

First, a lovely shot of a woman with a child on the back, heading straight for another woman on a bike, who is shouting "Sorry! No brakes", as they have a near head-on collision.

Looking the other way, here is a bike going with the traffic and hitting the pedestrian/bike shared zone at full "road" speed. There are some pedestrians in the roadward part of this, so the bike is having to swerve round them. If they had been a few metres further along, more emergency measures would be needed.

Here is the exit of the bridge looking northward. By only parking in half the ASL, the taxi is providing room for bikes, but that is irrelevant, because the southbound bike is actually in this lane heading towards us. If I'd been heading north at speed without lights, I would have hit them at the narrow point.

And here is a bike cutting across the oncoming traffic before banking hard to get into the bike lane. Luckily the Focus isn't hitting the cobbles that hard, and there is nobody coming on the bike section.

No, it isn't too early to say "told you so", only that it is fairly chaotic. Vaguely reminiscent of a level crossing in india -it will be great to see what happens on a bridge swing.
  1. The entry and exit needs to be wider, so that 2 lanes of bike traffic and/or pedestrians can be accommodated
  2. people need to get used to it.

It looks like a fair few cyclists are swinging into the cycle path for the southbound stretch, trading off two road crossings for a time saving. To minimise danger on the road crossings they are going sooner rather than later, so the bike lane has become a contraflow. The narrow entry points/exit points create problems for bikes; conflict with pedestrians will happen in the middle.

Victory over Eastasia will soon be ours! Your chocolate ration has been increased to 35g/week to celebrate!


Chris Hutt said...

Actually it's Prince Street Bridge, not Princes, or Prince's, or Princess.

Cycle movements are complicated by the fact that some cyclists travel via the Arnolfini corner, some via Prince's Wharf (new museum) and even some via the wharf leading to Bathurst Basin bridge. So there are lots of conflicting movements anyway, even if the basic pattern on the bridge hadn't been confused.

In the case of cyclists going between the Arnolfini corner and Prince's Wharf one can see that the new arrangement is an advantage in that they can avoid engaging with motor traffic altogether. But for the majority doing the main north-south run it's definitely worse than it was coming south, which is why some even end up using the east side footway.

Overall I'd say that the interests of the regular road-confident cyclist has been compromised in favour of those cyclists who lack the confidence to mix with motor traffic. It's an unfortunate compromise to have to make because the road-confident cyclists are the ones with the most realistic survival strategy.

SteveL said...

If you were fit and assertive the old road was not a problem; you just had to acquire a lane before the road narrowed down. Now those same cyclists are the ones who swing across traffic, commit into the narrow exitway and repeat the same on the other end.

Yes. I did see someone walk across. Right now I dont think people know what to do. Give it a month and let's go down with a video camera.

Anonymous said...

it would be good to get some constructive feedback after the trial has been operating for a few weeks so any additional changes can be considered. I went over to the bridge again yesterday and pedestrians, cyclists and drivers seemed to be adapting well.

Mark Bradshaw

SP said...

"Sorry! No brakes"

"I'm on a fixed wheel fashion bike"

SP said...

There's another problem with this layout.

On the south side there is no kerb, so wheelchair users and buggy pushers can easily move into what used to be the roadway.

But when you get to the north side you are left stranded in the road - there is a kerb, and no slope.