Yet Another Cycling Forum

General Category => On The Road => Topic started by: quixoticgeek on February 02, 2019, 12:17:15 pm

Title: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: quixoticgeek on February 02, 2019, 12:17:15 pm

Looks like GCN has done a video about how sustrans make cycle infrastructure:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3k8u32J4Hq8

When I saw the title, my immediate thought was "first work out the longest route between point a and point b..."

The combo of GCN and Sustrans didn't give me much hope, but actually, it's pretty interesting. Unfortunately it's very london centric, and very UK centric. I'd love to see them come interview Gemente Utrecht, to see how they do it...

J
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: Kim on February 02, 2019, 12:20:13 pm
Without watching the video, I'm thinking "build a road, take the cars away".
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: quixoticgeek on February 02, 2019, 12:27:51 pm
Without watching the video, I'm thinking "build a road, take the cars away".

That's the Dutch way...

For much of the UK, it's plead for scraps and hope not to get hit... Cyclists in the UK are a bit like the victim in an abusive relationship...

The discussion about quietways "yes it's longer, but it's safer". IMHO, that means you've failed. Cars can take the longer less direct route, human powered transport should be given the safest direct route.

Annoyingly GCN have given the contentious video to Dr Pooley. Attacking the video is seen as attacking her, and she gets enough shit online as it is. Wish Si had presented it, he's a lot easier to shout at on twitter...

J
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on February 02, 2019, 01:23:01 pm
Without watching the video, I'm thinking "build a road, take the cars away".
Ditto.
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: Kim on February 02, 2019, 03:18:48 pm
I've now watched the video, and it's the usual well-intentioned Sustrans spin that carefully doesn't mention the elephant in the room: Local authorities and other landowners who lack the funding or political will for cycle infrastructure.

Credit where its due, in that Sustrans appear to have listened to the users of the NCN and are now trying to prioritise quality over miles of route (https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=110175.0).  But that still doesn't amount to much without the funding to make changes.

Sad that people still think the Quietways (like the LCN+ before it) are anything other than a waste of resources.  Individuals can find their own least-worst routes based on local knowledge - without segregated infrastructure or reduced motor traffic volume, the bike route signs don't add anything.
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: grams on February 02, 2019, 08:59:42 pm
TfL have announced that the Quietways and Cycle Superhighway brands are being dropped in the near future - there'll just be one network brand, although they haven't picked one yet. A whole load of new routes are pencilled in on direct major corridors - mostly along main roads, and it's likely they'll be a mix of protected tracks and some sections of back streets.

I'm hoping this all adds up to the imminent death of the Quietways programme, which has delivered very little because there aren't enough quiet streets, and creating them requires coming up with traffic filtering plans for whole neighbourhoods, which is both politically difficult and hard to do in the context of linear routes. Quietways were meant to be easy!
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: Peat on February 04, 2019, 07:25:59 am
One lingering shot had a bus swinging out over a cycle lane on a junction. A few minutes later they showed how they use sophisticated CAD models to ensure no conflict between transport modes in turning.

It dunt work maate.
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: ScumOfTheRoad on February 04, 2019, 07:35:32 am
If we are talking NL, then the Hovenring deserves a mention  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hovenring

A completely suspended criccular cycleway, which was built to avoid cyclists negotiating a busy road junction controlled by lights.
You just cycle up the ramps, whizz rond the Hovenriing and coast down to your destination path.
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on February 04, 2019, 09:00:58 am
Three minutes in the video: "Fewer cars on the road and more teahouses on the way... " Not only is this a wonderful catchphrase or slogan, it's a rare example of the endangered "fewer"!
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on February 04, 2019, 09:18:11 am
Without watching the video, I'm thinking "build a road, take the cars away".
You predicted the video! Yes they said a lot more but they did say that reducing (motor) traffic volume and speed is the key to making a place "liveable".
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on February 04, 2019, 09:24:33 am
The combo of GCN and Sustrans didn't give me much hope, but actually, it's pretty interesting. Unfortunately it's very london centric, and very UK centric. I'd love to see them come interview Gemente Utrecht, to see how they do it...

J
It's clearly aimed at a UK audience. It's basically an interview with Sustrans people, and it's in English, so that's where it's targeted. London was the only place mentioned by name but I didn't feel it was London-centric; everything could be applied to any town or city. In fact I was struck by how many times they repeated the scene of Green Park, Bath! But it was urban-centric, they didn't really mention the different problems and solutions of rural routes.
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: quixoticgeek on February 04, 2019, 10:57:06 am
It's clearly aimed at a UK audience. It's basically an interview with Sustrans people, and it's in English, so that's where it's targeted. London was the only place mentioned by name but I didn't feel it was London-centric; everything could be applied to any town or city. In fact I was struck by how many times they repeated the scene of Green Park, Bath! But it was urban-centric, they didn't really mention the different problems and solutions of rural routes.

The G in GCN stands for Global...

London centric, they talk about cycle super highways and quietways. Where other than that London have such things?

Thing is, if you're going to say "Ultimate cycle path" you'd think they'd look at you know, best practice world wide for great cycle paths.

Look at the Rijnwaalpad between Arnhem and Nijmegen[1], it's an intercity route, designed to not just take cars off the urban streets of each city, but provide a viable alternative for intercity travel. With a pedal assist ebike, that 16km route is going to take just 39 minutes.

There are perhaps better cycle paths out there, that could perhaps have the title of "ultimate cycle path", but this one comes to mind as a good example.

And before anyone thinks I'm getting Stockholm Syndrome for my adopted country, The Danes have some damn good cycle infrastructure too. I have only used some of it on my way to/from Hell, but it was on the whole better than anything I've found in the UK.

Three minutes in the video: "Fewer cars on the road and more teahouses on the way... " Not only is this a wonderful catchphrase or slogan, it's a rare example of the endangered "fewer"!

She is Dr Pooley...

J

[1] https://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2015/09/29/the-f325-fast-cycle-route-arnhem-nijmegen/
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on February 04, 2019, 12:21:08 pm
London centric, they talk about cycle super highways and quietways. Where other than that London have such things?
Cycle superhighways are AFAIK only in London (perhaps also Manchester?) but the Quietway name and concept are more widespread. Certainly we've had some in Bristol for ten years or so. I think the Quietway name was only recently adopted here, previously they were known as Greenways and Link routes (still are, I'd say, in general terms) but the routes were here already.

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Thing is, if you're going to say "Ultimate cycle path" you'd think they'd look at you know, best practice world wide for great cycle paths.
Yes. Well I'd look beyond cycle paths, including ways of making the roads we have more pleasant and usable for everyone. Bear in mind that any solution taken from one place to another changes a little in translation, because traffic and travel aren't just engineering, they exist within a cultural and behavioural environment.

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Look at the Rijnwaalpad between Arnhem and Nijmegen[1], it's an intercity route, designed to not just take cars off the urban streets of each city, but provide a viable alternative for intercity travel. With a pedal assist ebike, that 16km route is going to take just 39 minutes.
That's a good example of the kind of thing they didn't look at all. An interurban or rural route.
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: Kim on February 04, 2019, 12:44:27 pm
London centric, they talk about cycle super highways and quietways. Where other than that London have such things?
Cycle superhighways are AFAIK only in London (perhaps also Manchester?)

AIUI London are abandoning the 'superhighway' branding, on the basis that it marks the route out as something special (perhaps infested with speeding lycra louts), rather than infrastructure that should exist on every major road.

Birmingham have called their equivalents "high quality cycle routes".  The jury's still out pending completion - they've approached them with the right design objectives, but it remains to be seen whether they're made too many compromises or hobbled them with traffic light timings, but they're certainly a step up from the magic paint they've used previously.

AIUI the Manchester ones are called "Beelines".


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Quietway name and concept are more widespread. Certainly we've had some in Bristol for ten years or so. I think the Quietway name was only recently adopted here, previously they were known as Greenways and Link routes (still are, I'd say, in general terms) but the routes were here already.

To me 'greenway' means an off-road shared path.  Something like a reclaimed railway path, a hardpack trail through a flood plain, or that one that follows the Northern Outfall Sewer from Stratford to Becton (known as "The Greenway").

Birmingham had a go at quietways a few years ago.  Someone sat down with a map and drew some lines along minor roads, with no consideration for which were notorious rat-runs[1], or indeed contours.  These were marked with bicycle symbols on the tarmac, which everyone ignores.  They've been such an embarrassment I can't find any official reference to them to work out whether they used 'quietway' branding or something else. 

Ah, Pushbikes have it:  http://www.pushbikes.org.uk/blog/bit-paint-road-not-cycle-infrastructure

They were 'parallel routes' apparently.  The example local to me - Edgbaston Park Road[2] - is hilariously terrible: Steep gradients, blind corners, potholes, pinch points, fast motor traffic.


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That's a good example of the kind of thing they didn't look at all. An interurban or rural route.

Which are some of best bits of the NCN, albeit mostly for leisure cyclists.


[1] As a first-order approximation, every minor road in the Wet Midlands Connurbation is a rat-run.
[2] A road so poorly suited for cycling that its use as part of the SkyRide route some years ago resulted in multiple pile-ups.
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on February 04, 2019, 01:15:14 pm
Is the superhighway term definitely being abandoned in London? I understood they were going to use one 'branding' for superhighways and quietways but had not yet decided which or what – they could conceivably all end up as superhighways or quietways. I guess it's most likely they'll use one new term though.

Greenways, yes I can think of several off-road-ish greenways but also a couple which are urban tarmac, albeit including some parks. I always thought the green, in the latter case, was meant to imply clean and quiet.
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: Kim on February 04, 2019, 01:17:12 pm
Greenways, yes I can think of several off-road-ish greenways but also a couple which are urban tarmac, albeit including some parks. I always thought the green, in the latter case, was meant to imply clean and quiet.

Yes, the implication is clean and quiet, surfaces vary.  'The Greenway' in That London is tarmacked throughout.

I tend to refer to the inadequately surfaced ones as Brownways.  cf. Kenilworth (http://countryparks.warwickshire.gov.uk/greenways/kenilworth-greenway/).
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on February 04, 2019, 01:19:45 pm
Okay, I saw "off-road" and was thinking muddy lanes.
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on February 04, 2019, 01:21:58 pm
Quote
That's a good example of the kind of thing they didn't look at all. An interurban or rural route.

Which are some of best bits of the NCN, albeit mostly for leisure cyclists.
Mostly. It does vary and one of the variables must be simply how much non-leisure traffic there is anyway. There's an awful lot of commuting between Bristol and Bath (in both directions) and it's no surprise that some at 8a.m. on a weekday morning the BBRP is full of straved-up office workers.
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: grams on February 04, 2019, 01:31:48 pm
Is the superhighway term definitely being abandoned in London? I understood they were going to use one 'branding' for superhighways and quietways but had not yet decided which or what – they could conceivably all end up as superhighways or quietways. I guess it's most likely they'll use one new term though.

The CS brand is politically toxic and made it much harder to get schemes approved by local councils. The whole intention of the rebranding is to get rid of it.

It’s already dead for new routes - there are a few publicly announced routes that would have used the CS name if they’d been launched a couple of years ago but conspicuously don’t.
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: Kim on February 04, 2019, 01:32:15 pm
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That's a good example of the kind of thing they didn't look at all. An interurban or rural route.

Which are some of best bits of the NCN, albeit mostly for leisure cyclists.
Mostly. It does vary and one of the variables must be simply how much non-leisure traffic there is anyway. There's an awful lot of commuting between Bristol and Bath (in both directions) and it's no surprise that some at 8a.m. on a weekday morning the BBRP is full of straved-up office workers.

The BBRP is perhaps unique in that it covers a proper distance between two towns, is pleasant enough that it gets used as a leisure route while being high enough quality for commuters.

There are plenty of bits of the NCN that manage two of those three.  The Rea Valley route near me is perhaps a typical example of a popular urban leisure route that gets busy at commuter o'clock, but it peters out after a few miles.  You wouldn't follow NCN5 to commute from Bromsgrove to Birmingham.
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on February 04, 2019, 01:39:38 pm
Well something good had to come out of Beeching! I'd love to see a comparison of how many people that route (BBRP) carries now compared to say the year they closed it (1967?) and its peak as a working railway.
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on February 04, 2019, 01:45:59 pm
Getting back to the urban focus, the Quietway concept on the one hand adds little or nothing to make a route more cycleable – it's just signs and the occasional toucan crossing – but it's existence as a navigational aid and ride suggestion does act as encouragement, and by concentrating cyclists onto a few routes perhaps begins to give a "mass effect" to those streets, so that drivers take notice, and that will eventually spill into neighbouring areas. Though perhaps not as fast as driving spills.
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: Kim on February 04, 2019, 01:53:19 pm
Getting back to the urban focus, the Quietway concept on the one hand adds little or nothing to make a route more cycleable – it's just signs and the occasional toucan crossing – but it's existence as a navigational aid and ride suggestion does act as encouragement, and by concentrating cyclists onto a few routes perhaps begins to give a "mass effect" to those streets, so that drivers take notice, and that will eventually spill into neighbouring areas. Though perhaps not as fast as driving spills.

Strategically positioned crossings are an example of something that can make a real difference.  The Manchester lot seem to have worked out an approach of focusing on connectivity (or lack thereof) rather than routes specifically: "This area of quiet back-roads is separated from this adjacent area of quiet back-roads by the railway and this Big Scary Road.  So let's put in a crossing *here* to join the two up."
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: grams on February 04, 2019, 02:53:26 pm
Getting back to the urban focus, the Quietway concept on the one hand adds little or nothing to make a route more cycleable – it's just signs and the occasional toucan crossing

That's the idea, but there are very few suitable routes like this in London*, especially for the long linear commuter routes that almost all of the Quietways were planned as. So they ended up arbitrarily drawing arbitrary lines on maps with the hope that problems could be sorted out later, which means closing roads, rebuilding junctions, adding segregated sections.

Most of that turned out to be politically untenable so years later the Quietways program has achieved basically nothing - either they don't exist or they're on roads that aren't quiet, or the ones that are there and work are on canal towpaths or the Greenway or the like, not much to do with the original "quiet back streets" concept.

(* actually there are a few, usually branded as "London Cycle Network" in the 1990s, which for reasons unknown TfL have neither adopted nor killed off)
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on February 04, 2019, 04:40:16 pm
That strikes me as a good example that a) things which work in one place might not work in another, b) the overall solution has to be traffic reduction/slowing/calming/management rather than routes.
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: quixoticgeek on February 04, 2019, 10:24:05 pm
London centric, they talk about cycle super highways and quietways. Where other than that London have such things?
Cycle superhighways are AFAIK only in London (perhaps also Manchester?) but the Quietway name and concept are more widespread. Certainly we've had some in Bristol for ten years or so. I think the Quietway name was only recently adopted here, previously they were known as Greenways and Link routes (still are, I'd say, in general terms) but the routes were here already.

Greenway makes me think of greenlane, or a rutted mess only passable to progressively more offroad capable 4x4 as the season goes on.

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Yes. Well I'd look beyond cycle paths, including ways of making the roads we have more pleasant and usable for everyone. Bear in mind that any solution taken from one place to another changes a little in translation, because traffic and travel aren't just engineering, they exist within a cultural and behavioural environment.

Yes, This is something I've been talking about with people who pick up Dutch infrastructure, copy it physically, but fail to understand the cultural and legal structures that go with it.

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That's a good example of the kind of thing they didn't look at all. An interurban or rural route.

My experience of sustrans interurban or rural routes is that they are not designed as transport, but rather as a nice place to take the kids for a bike ride on a Sunday afternoon. This really annoys me, as once built, people seem to think they are the only ones you should use. In Canterbury they built a cycle route along the river from the village upstream of Canterbury all the way to the edge of the city. Only problem is, for about 3 months of the year it's only suitable for kayak or possible fat bike. The same is true of the length that goes down stream of the city, the first part is through unlit dark woods that most people find too scary to cycle through at night, and then onto the flood plane at Fordwich, I had to repack all the bearings on my Brompton after cycling across this section in the dark, what I thought was about 50mm of water over the path turned out to be deep enough to cover the bottom bracket.  Having reached Fordwich, if you wanted to continue to follow NCN 1 to Sandwich, it takes a very indirect route down pot holed country lanes. It's very beautiful on a sunny Spring afternoon, but the rest of the time it's just an indirect mess. If you use a cycle route planner like cyclestreets, it's really hard to it to plan a route using NCN1 from Canterbury to Sandwich as it's just so damn indirect. Head north from Canterbury and you have the crab and winkle way, This isn't a bad path, it's kinda direct (for values of), but it's unlit, so not something most people want to use for their commute. Fall off on a corner in the dark and you've got bugger all phone reception, and you're half a km from the nearest road. Head south and you're on RCN 16, this uses parts of the North Downs way, and has sections that aren't ideal for road bikes. Part way to Dover RCN 16 forks off RCN 17 towards folkestone, this has a fancy new bridge over the A2, but it follows a pretty remote country lane down through the Elham valley, past Pett Bottom (nice pub). It's a nice route for a Sunday ride, but I'd hate to have to commute on it in winter in the dark.

Oh, and you can be reasonably certain all of the above are not gritted, meaning they are impassible when the temp drops.

So yes, I feel my cynicism about sustrans has some basis in reality. I'm sure there are people there who are good people working hard in difficult circumstances, not helped by nimbys and local authorities. But the quality of what they produce is pretty damn poor, so calling them designers of the ultimate cycle path, pah.

J
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on February 04, 2019, 11:14:56 pm
Quote
Yes. Well I'd look beyond cycle paths, including ways of making the roads we have more pleasant and usable for everyone. Bear in mind that any solution taken from one place to another changes a little in translation, because traffic and travel aren't just engineering, they exist within a cultural and behavioural environment.

Yes, This is something I've been talking about with people who pick up Dutch infrastructure, copy it physically, but fail to understand the cultural and legal structures that go with it.
That's kind of the reverse of the what I was thinking of (that when you copy the physical infrastructure, the effect is different because of the different cultural, legal, etc background) but equally valid and more useful. Of course it's easier to reproduce physical "solutions" than non-tangible ones.
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: Peat on February 05, 2019, 07:58:28 am
We can ruminate about best practices and ideas until the cows come home, but it all comes down to funding - which is next to non-existent outside of London or Bristol.

I remember we had a 'consultation' some years ago in my area to link the major towns with the major employment centers with more adequate cycle infrastructure. The plans included some great ideas, like a cycleway alongside the railway & putting an all-weather surface on the current NCN mudbath. Snuck into the 'options' was a plan to simply add bicycle signage to the posts along the A roads that cyclists are already forced to use. Guess what won?

The local sustrans group were exhibiting at my workplace a year later and I asked them about it. They admitted that the entire regional budget barely covered the cost of that one consultation.

Pissing into the wind.
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: Pingu on February 05, 2019, 08:41:00 am
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/2019/feb/01/scrapped-hs2-bike-path-could-have-reaped-five-times-more-than-hs2-itself
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on February 05, 2019, 09:16:50 am
We can ruminate about best practices and ideas until the cows come home, but it all comes down to funding - which is next to non-existent outside of London or Bristol.

I remember we had a 'consultation' some years ago in my area to link the major towns with the major employment centers with more adequate cycle infrastructure. The plans included some great ideas, like a cycleway alongside the railway & putting an all-weather surface on the current NCN mudbath. Snuck into the 'options' was a plan to simply add bicycle signage to the posts along the A roads that cyclists are already forced to use. Guess what won?

The local sustrans group were exhibiting at my workplace a year later and I asked them about it. They admitted that the entire regional budget barely covered the cost of that one consultation.

Pissing into the wind.
I think this is another aspect of the culture/law/politics that just doesn't transfer. Which isn't to say it couldn't transfer, but we'd have to all (significant numbers of UK population including politicians and businesses) want it to.
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: Adam on February 05, 2019, 11:40:48 am

So yes, I feel my cynicism about sustrans has some basis in reality. I'm sure there are people there who are good people working hard in difficult circumstances, not helped by nimbys and local authorities. But the quality of what they produce is pretty damn poor, so calling them designers of the ultimate cycle path, pah.

J


The biggest problem, as always, is money.  Sustrans only actually own about 500 miles of the 14,000 or so miles included in the National Cycle Network.  Although they get paid to act as consultants to provide advice on implementing a route, the actual surface of any route is entirely in the hands of the landowner(s).  And often, they will demand no gravel or tarmac is used "for environmental reasons" when they agree to allow a permissive right of way to go in for a shared use path across their land.

They may not have been particularly vocal about it in the past, but Sustrans have always wanted to use tarmac or equivalent hard wearing surface as far as possible, but of course that costs a lot more than crushed limestone or even mud.
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: Kim on February 05, 2019, 11:48:42 am
I reckon what's needed is a cultural change, away from cycling as a special thing you do for cyclists, or a way to bolster your green credentials, to cycling as a tool used by transport planners to improve network capacity and improve air quality.  It doesn't need special funding, just a reasonable proportion of the existing highways budget.

How to achieve that?  We need engineers to optimise for people rather than motor vehicles, with an awareness of strategies that do and don't work.  And we need politicians who can make courageous decisions in the public interest rather than pandering to the motor lobby.

How do you get to that point?  Getting businesses to lobby for cycling infrastructure seems to be a good strategy in urban areas, as politicians are more likely to listen to $evil_bank than $crusty_cycling_hippy.  Central government dictating a consistent strategy, rather than passing the buck to local authorities would seem like a good idea.  But I think we mostly need better politicians, which appear to be in short supply.
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: quixoticgeek on February 05, 2019, 03:42:37 pm
I think this is another aspect of the culture/law/politics that just doesn't transfer. Which isn't to say it couldn't transfer, but we'd have to all (significant numbers of UK population including politicians and businesses) want it to.

Exactly. Level of funding for active transport in .NL vs the UK is just in a different league. But it's also approached differently. Most Dutch employers give you €0.19 per km to cycle to work, they've also removed a lot of city centre parking, made what there is more expensive. It's both carrot and stick.

The biggest problem, as always, is money.  Sustrans only actually own about 500 miles of the 14,000 or so miles included in the National Cycle Network.  Although they get paid to act as consultants to provide advice on implementing a route, the actual surface of any route is entirely in the hands of the landowner(s).  And often, they will demand no gravel or tarmac is used "for environmental reasons" when they agree to allow a permissive right of way to go in for a shared use path across their land.

They may not have been particularly vocal about it in the past, but Sustrans have always wanted to use tarmac or equivalent hard wearing surface as far as possible, but of course that costs a lot more than crushed limestone or even mud.

Why does sustrans own the cycle infrastructure? Surely that should be funded, owned, and maintained by the local council?

I reckon what's needed is a cultural change, away from cycling as a special thing you do for cyclists, or a way to bolster your green credentials, to cycling as a tool used by transport planners to improve network capacity and improve air quality.  It doesn't need special funding, just a reasonable proportion of the existing highways budget.

Agreed

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How to achieve that?  We need engineers to optimise for people rather than motor vehicles, with an awareness of strategies that do and don't work.  And we need politicians who can make courageous decisions in the public interest rather than pandering to the motor lobby.

As we are seeing with the current state of UK politics, this seems unlikely. Politicians know how to do the right thing, they just don't know how to get reelected afterwards. And that's the problem.

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How do you get to that point?  Getting businesses to lobby for cycling infrastructure seems to be a good strategy in urban areas, as politicians are more likely to listen to $evil_bank than $crusty_cycling_hippy.  Central government dictating a consistent strategy, rather than passing the buck to local authorities would seem like a good idea.  But I think we mostly need better politicians, which appear to be in short supply.

Cos that works? How many businesses of all sizes have told the current government that it's actions are going to be catastrophic to the country? Yes to an extent business trumps cyclehippy, but only so far. Politicians still need reelection. You know what the Dutch don't have? First past the post voting system...

J
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: Kim on February 05, 2019, 03:49:25 pm
Quote
How do you get to that point?  Getting businesses to lobby for cycling infrastructure seems to be a good strategy in urban areas, as politicians are more likely to listen to $evil_bank than $crusty_cycling_hippy.  Central government dictating a consistent strategy, rather than passing the buck to local authorities would seem like a good idea.  But I think we mostly need better politicians, which appear to be in short supply.

Cos that works?

It appears to have been effective in getting the Embankment superhighway built in That London, in the face of considerable opposition from the black cab lobby and whoever it is that commutes from Park Lane by limo and owns half of Canary Wharf.

https://cyclingworks.wordpress.com/

https://vimeo.com/245987163

At a local level, business has some clout.  Certainly in the context of cyclists vs NIMBYs, getting the BID on side appears to be a useful approach.  Unfortunately, many of them subscribe to the our "customers are motorists" assumption, or don't want cyces cluttering up their not-actually-public spaces, which makes them a large part of the problem.


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You know what the Dutch don't have? First past the post voting system...

Fuck yes.
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on February 05, 2019, 03:54:42 pm
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How to achieve that?  We need engineers to optimise for people rather than motor vehicles, with an awareness of strategies that do and don't work.  And we need politicians who can make courageous decisions in the public interest rather than pandering to the motor lobby.

As we are seeing with the current state of UK politics, this seems unlikely. Politicians know how to do the right thing, they just don't know how to get reelected afterwards. And that's the problem.
And to an extent at least they recognise this, which is why Westminster politicians keep offloading their responsibilities in this (and other) matters to various levels of local authority. Which of course also means the things don't get done, because LAs have no resources.
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: Ian H on February 05, 2019, 04:11:50 pm
I was imagining the ultimate cycle path would be the last one you ever used.

Down here, Exeter is stringing together bits of quiet road, park paths and alleys to make a tortuous 'cycleroute' into the city from the East.  They've also built a two-way cycle-lane alongside the one bit of road that was wide enough not to really need it (but also the only road wide enough to accommodate a cycle-lane). 

It all smacks of just doing something to claim the funding.
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: ian on February 05, 2019, 06:39:27 pm
Every blurb I read about town development plans etc. (outside of London anyway) is completely bogged down with parking issues. Towns will die if we don't kneel before this altar. I can only assume the people who say this (shopowners, local businesses, councillors) have never been to one of the few successful town centres and noticed the one thing that's missing. If you're obsessed with facilitating traffic, you're mostly facilitating people driving somewhere else. The best you'll get a line of convenience stores and fast food joints mortared together with charity stores. Where no wants to go, everyone is just passing through.

The same attitude is at play everywhere, near complete subservience to one form of transport and local authorities plan with this in mind, they're figuring out how to get walking and cycling without inconveniencing drivers. This mode of thinking is doomed to failure. For cycling and walking to be effective, something needs to be taken from drivers. In that respect, any scheme that does make black cabbies and the usual suspects angry would be, in a word, worthless. In fact you can measure the utility of a cycling scheme using their blood pressure. Above a certain value, you're onto something.

Yes, it needs cultural change. I'm not sure how some of the local infrastructure ever got built, from Croydon's solitary bicycle traffic light, to the random stretches of unconnected bike lane on the A22 (you'd be lucky to get to them alive, and they don't exactly offer solace to the justifiably terrified cyclist).

A failure of Quietways is that core design ethos seems to be minimize upsetting car drivers. That and dread endless consultations.
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: Adam on February 05, 2019, 08:37:16 pm
Why does sustrans own the cycle infrastructure? Surely that should be funded, owned, and maintained by the local council?

[/quote]

Er - they don't.  As I stated, they only own about 500 miles - so just 3.5% of the entire Sustrans Network, with most of that 500 miles gifted.  Everything else with a Sustrans route number on, is owned by councils and other landowners.   And Sustrans don't own any parts of anyone else's cycling infrastructure.

In an ideal world, councils would also maintain the cycle network as well, but generally they don't.  Some more enlightened councils will find money from a capital budget to fund a new cycle route, but then to a large extent after it's built, they don't bother looking  in a proactive way.  If it's been adopted by Sustrans then depending upon location, there may be a group of volunteers prepared to look after it.
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: David Martin on February 06, 2019, 12:00:39 am
I have seen the plans (sshh - they aren't supposed to be out till tomorrow) for the community links plus bid. The statement from Sustrans who hold the purse strings are that money will not be given for projects that do not a) take road space away from cars and are b) optimal cycle routes. Ie they have to be bold.

So the plans proposed include a 3m segregated two way path down an A road which will narrow each lane to 3 - 3.5m instead of 4.5+, lots of engineering to make it happen and no doubt a huge complaint from drivers. Many junction treatments. One of the big challenges is bus stops. For some less used ones there is a table in front of the bus stop over which the cycle path goes and a suitably large refuge on the motor side. For busier ones where there is more space the cycle path goes behind the bus stop.

It links up at each end with routes into the city centre and to further afield.   It looks like the best of the cycle superhighways.  And will probably be ravaged by the council.
Title: Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
Post by: inappropriate_bike on February 10, 2019, 03:35:00 pm
Meanwhile, outside the CBD, Singapore is digging up miles of crappy meandering, narrow, cycle paths and replacing them with this kind of thing.

(https://imgur.com/0VhvUP5.jpg)

(https://imgur.com/8oDcaY8.jpg)

The first one runs for more than 3 miles as part of a mostly decent route that now runs for at least 20 miles, not counting the many branches. It was quite suitable for averaging 20mph. The bottom one links up two formerly disconnected sections of good quality cycle route.

Unfortunately they are a bit slow to use after 5am because of the pedestrians and joggers who prefer them to using the footpaths :facepalm: But I'd still chose the new routes to cycle to work, and for utility or family cycling.