Author Topic: Sustrans paths crap - official  (Read 3354 times)

Re: Sustrans paths crap - official
« Reply #25 on: November 13, 2018, 05:39:16 pm »
I still struggle with the lack of any reasonably direct and protected cycle route/infrastructure between Harrogate and Leeds. There a people asking for ever more leisure routes - all good - but why should a route intended to avoid most of the fast early morning traffic increase my commute from 17 to 30+ miles...


Re: Sustrans paths crap - official
« Reply #26 on: November 13, 2018, 06:59:29 pm »
At least they're getting better. It's slow progress, for sure - but the signed routes are way better now than they were say 15 years ago.

I've slagged them off many times in the past, but at least they're doing something. Do people really think they should just give up?
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Kim

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Re: Sustrans paths crap - official
« Reply #27 on: November 13, 2018, 07:11:05 pm »
Nope.  Making the NCN an accessible and appropriately mapped/signposted collection of leisure routes and circuitous urban traffic-free routes is a worthy enough objective.  It's unlikely to be a transport solution for all but the most traffic-averse cyclists, but that's still potentially valuable for children etc, and there's nothing wrong with leisure routes.

It's just not sustainable transport.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Cudzoziemiec

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Re: Sustrans paths crap - official
« Reply #28 on: November 13, 2018, 07:59:08 pm »
I don't think they should give up on the "transport" idea, just identify which routes are family leisure oriented (most of them) and which are going somewhere (some of them). Bearing in mind that those which are reasonably direct and well surfaced, suitable for commuters and transport, are also great for mum dad and kids on a sunny sunday.
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Sustrans paths crap - official
« Reply #29 on: November 13, 2018, 08:03:33 pm »
Yeah, there's always some overlap - especially at a local level.  But unless they want to re-purpose some of those Silly Sustrans Gates™ to achieve filtered permeability, or get involved in road planning, they seem quite detached from cycling for transport.

There's also a not unreasonable argument that turning some of those lovely railway paths back into railways would be a win for sustainable transport.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

mattc

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Re: Sustrans paths crap - official
« Reply #30 on: November 13, 2018, 08:09:17 pm »
Nope.  Making the NCN an accessible and appropriately mapped/signposted collection of leisure routes and circuitous urban traffic-free routes is a worthy enough objective.  It's unlikely to be a transport solution for all but the most traffic-averse cyclists, but that's still potentially valuable for children etc, and there's nothing wrong with leisure routes.

It's just not sustainable transport.
Quite.

I think they could do more for "Sus Trans" by getting into road planning; better still, getting the minor modifications done that create very usable routes for ALL cyclists at a fraction of the cost of full-on traffic-free well-surfaced infrastructure.

I do fear that the crappy stuff they produce does more harm than good. Promoting
- drive-n-ride, and
- the idea that bikes shouldn't be on the roads. It's unnatural! It's dangerous! It's a nuisance!
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Sustrans paths crap - official
« Reply #31 on: November 13, 2018, 08:14:49 pm »
I think they could do more for "Sus Trans" by getting into road planning

AIUI they do provide consultation on cycling-related schemes for local government.  As far as I can see this appears to be an exercise in giving their seal of approval to any old bollocks[1] in exchange for some fee or other.


[1] Their proposal for King[']s Heath High Street a few years ago - while undeniably an improvement for pedestrians - seemed to use cyclists as traffic-calming.
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ian

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Re: Sustrans paths crap - official
« Reply #32 on: November 13, 2018, 08:20:58 pm »

However, good news!   We already have a fantastic cycle network, its called the UK's roads.  Obviously they need to be made safer for vulnerable road users like cyclists so we need presumed or strict liability.  However, bad news!  I doubt this will ever happen as there isn't the political will in the UK as Joe and Josephine Public are too wedded to their cars.


People generally aren't going to cycle on the roads. End of story. Even assuming some weird bizarro universe of benevolent drivers, it's just not fun for most people mixing it up with lorries and vehicles doing a multiple of their speed. They're not going to do it. It's just not fun or pleasant.

I hate the entire 'things won't ever change' thing. Things do change. Things are always changing.
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Cudzoziemiec

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Re: Sustrans paths crap - official
« Reply #33 on: November 13, 2018, 08:22:13 pm »
One of the problems is that Sustrans has become like "hoover". We call anything a sustrans path even if Sustrans had no part in its design, construction or maintenance. Of course when we're riding along it we don't care who made it, just what it's like, but it does mean that badly thought out local authority paths do their bit to discredit the sustrans name and thereby the whole concept.
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Sustrans paths crap - official
« Reply #34 on: November 13, 2018, 08:23:49 pm »
One of the problems is that Sustrans has become like "hoover". We call anything a sustrans path even if Sustrans had no part in its design, construction or maintenance. Of course when we're riding along it we don't care who made it, just what it's like, but it does mean that badly thought out local authority paths do their bit to discredit the sustrans name and thereby the whole concept.

Given that Sustrans have been happily sticking their NCN signage on them, I don't think they're entirely innocent in that.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Sustrans paths crap - official
« Reply #35 on: November 13, 2018, 08:23:58 pm »
There's also a not unreasonable argument that turning some of those lovely railway paths back into railways would be a win for sustainable transport.
That's a whole other problem that we collectively fail to get a grip* on.

*Pun intended, for those who get it.
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Sustrans paths crap - official
« Reply #36 on: November 13, 2018, 08:25:15 pm »
One of the problems is that Sustrans has become like "hoover". We call anything a sustrans path even if Sustrans had no part in its design, construction or maintenance. Of course when we're riding along it we don't care who made it, just what it's like, but it does mean that badly thought out local authority paths do their bit to discredit the sustrans name and thereby the whole concept.

Given that Sustrans have been happily sticking their NCN signage on them, I don't think they're entirely innocent in that.
There are zillions of paths and "facilities" that are not part of NCN. Some good, some crap, some useful, some fun, a few both, many neither.
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Sustrans paths crap - official
« Reply #37 on: November 13, 2018, 08:43:16 pm »
I think I'm reasonably consistent about them locally.  Indeed, I tend to forget that some of the towpaths are actually part of NCN routes, so in my mind it's only really NCN5.  There are a couple of other local greenways that fit the NCN stereotype (vis surfaces, silly barriers, dismount signs, etc) that aren't anything to do with Sustrans, but I tend to blame the council for those directly after their repeated ignoring of Pushbikes' advice[1] on surface treatment.

But faced with J Random Greenway in an area I'm less familiar with, the assumption is that it's part of the NCN.  This seems to be a better heuristic than it ought to be, because most of the time[2] its presence in the NCN is what's made me aware of it.  Credit where it's due, that proves there's merit in a national network.  They just need more consistent standards.


[1] "When you've covered it in lovely smooth tarmac, instead of wasting money sprinkling chipseal on top, leave it as lovely smooth tarmac."
[2] When I'm not in pedal-and-follow navigation mode, basically.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

mattc

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Re: Sustrans paths crap - official
« Reply #38 on: November 14, 2018, 10:28:08 am »

However, good news!   We already have a fantastic cycle network, its called the UK's roads.  Obviously they need to be made safer for vulnerable road users like cyclists so we need presumed or strict liability.  However, bad news!  I doubt this will ever happen as there isn't the political will in the UK as Joe and Josephine Public are too wedded to their cars.


People generally aren't going to cycle on the roads. End of story. Even assuming some weird bizarro universe of benevolent drivers, it's just not fun for most people mixing it up with lorries and vehicles doing a multiple of their speed. They're not going to do it. It's just not fun or pleasant.

I hate the entire 'things won't ever change' thing. Things do change. Things are always changing.
Not all roads are the same - reducing speed limits, the right kind of traffic calming, sensible priorities at junctions etc can all add-up to make roads acceptably pleasant for almost everyone to ride on.

(I haven't ridden in the promised lands of Copenhagen/Nederlands yet, but ... ) I've seen this work in Belgium cities. Loads of cyclists on "proper" roads.

If you and I pray hard enough, Ian, perhaps it will happen over here!
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

vorsprung

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Re: Sustrans paths crap - official
« Reply #39 on: November 14, 2018, 10:41:27 am »


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Re: Sustrans paths crap - official
« Reply #40 on: November 14, 2018, 10:47:05 am »
I agree with mattc, it is possible to ride safely on roads and as mattc also points out there are things which can be done to make them safer for cyclists and peds.

Despite ian's optimistic tone I still don't think we will see a rapid adoption of measures that are prejudicial to the interests of motorists but help cyclists and peds.  Remember the Dutch only got their cycling infrastructure in the 60s because public opinion drove political will.

SoreTween

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Re: Sustrans paths crap - official
« Reply #41 on: November 14, 2018, 01:28:26 pm »
Highways England have found some change down the back of the sofa and will use it towards the improvement of the ncn.
Assuming the £3m is from one years budget it is 0.13% of their declared 2017-18 funding.

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vorsprung

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Re: Sustrans paths crap - official
« Reply #42 on: November 14, 2018, 02:09:20 pm »
One of the problems is that Sustrans has become like "hoover". We call anything a sustrans path even if Sustrans had no part in its design, construction or maintenance. Of course when we're riding along it we don't care who made it, just what it's like, but it does mean that badly thought out local authority paths do their bit to discredit the sustrans name and thereby the whole concept.

See my twitter exchange with Sustrans.   They say we've failed to be a catalyst or provide a quality control or however you look at it, so suggest ways we can carry on getting money.  I think a better approach would be to abandon the Sustrans model.

Dunno if that means only badging paths that met a standard or getting more funding for proper facilities or taking a different approach entirely like legislating aggressively against cars.  What Sustrans have been doing for the last 30 or 40 years is part of the problem and not a solution
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Cudzoziemiec

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Re: Sustrans paths crap - official
« Reply #43 on: November 14, 2018, 03:02:22 pm »
There's even less chance of legislating aggressively against cars than having a nationwide network of direct, barrier-free, smoothly surfaced cycle paths.
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Sustrans paths crap - official
« Reply #44 on: November 14, 2018, 03:57:28 pm »
Nope.  Making the NCN an accessible and appropriately mapped/signposted collection of leisure routes and circuitous urban traffic-free routes is a worthy enough objective.  It's unlikely to be a transport solution for all but the most traffic-averse cyclists, but that's still potentially valuable for children etc, and there's nothing wrong with leisure routes.

It's just not sustainable transport.

This.

It really annoys me how far from transport infrastructure sustrans' network actually is. Around Canterbury they opened several routes with much fanfair, but half of them are flooded for 3 months of the year, and in all but summer they are basically comedy off roading experiences. If you try to plan a cycle route from Canterbury to Sandwich, it's exceptionally hard to get any route planner to choose NCN1 over any other route.

Sustrans, the longest route between two points. (May require a canoe).

J
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MikeFromLFE

  • Previously known as Millimole
Re: Sustrans paths crap - official
« Reply #45 on: November 14, 2018, 04:28:53 pm »
After seeing the headlines I was positive and enthusiastic.
After looking at the reports I am sceptical and downcast.
I wonder at the quality of the condition reports, and question how the data was collected. The analysis looks spot-on, but if the data is suspect then it's a pile of straw. (Part of this relates to my current volunteering with Canal & River Trust, and none of my supervisors (fairly senior) know about any Sustrans audit of the towpaths in our region in the NCN)
I wonder at the will - particularly given the pathetic timetables - to deregister routes. Surely giving land owners, and more to the point, local authorities something of an ultimatum would help to focus minds (yes, I know about budgets, but hey! austerity is at an end.....)
My key sceptical moment was when I looked at the pathetically low number of 'Activation Projects' (great name  :sick: ) for my area - East Midlands - and thought that if Sustrans are serious, this would be a catalogue of ambitious projects. If Sustrans are really committed to change then there should be scope for a lot of new volunteer input, in new and exciting ways, and on new and interesting projects. But, I look at their volunteering opportunities pages, and what do I see? Zilch about the new vision.
I hope this pans out into a new vision - or a pair of visions - for high quality leisure routes and for high quality transport routes, but I'm unimpressed at the moment.
Too many angry people - breathe & relax.

Re: Sustrans paths crap - official
« Reply #46 on: November 14, 2018, 04:38:27 pm »
One of the problems is that Sustrans has become like "hoover". We call anything a sustrans path even if Sustrans had no part in its design, construction or maintenance. Of course when we're riding along it we don't care who made it, just what it's like, but it does mean that badly thought out local authority paths do their bit to discredit the sustrans name and thereby the whole concept.

See my twitter exchange with Sustrans.   They say we've failed to be a catalyst or provide a quality control or however you look at it, so suggest ways we can carry on getting money.  I think a better approach would be to abandon the Sustrans model.

Dunno if that means only badging paths that met a standard or getting more funding for proper facilities or taking a different approach entirely like legislating aggressively against cars.  What Sustrans have been doing for the last 30 or 40 years is part of the problem and not a solution

The question is - why are the Sustrans paths crap?

If it's because sustrans are rubbish, and other organisations would be much better, then kicking them out of the way and allowing the others to do it sounds like a great plan.
On the other hand, if it's because there's no money to do more than half a job, and the money is all local, so you can't have half the paths done well, then it seems that sustrans aren't the problem, and the lack of funds is the problem.
I don't think there is the political will at a local or national level to deliver good cycling provision and to set aside sufficient budget to do it properly (and I certainly don't think there's the political will to "punish the hard working motorist" to tilt the current balance significantly against cars. Unless the political will to change things exists, (or some wealthy philanthropist pours money into it) I'm not sure that any organisation can achieve a really good level of cycle provision.

MikeFromLFE

  • Previously known as Millimole
Re: Sustrans paths crap - official
« Reply #47 on: November 14, 2018, 04:46:53 pm »

The question is - why are the Sustrans paths crap?


It's a very good question. I think it's one that the recent report goes some way to start to address - although it doesn't go far enough.
Firstly there is no consistent design manual - leading to Sustrans* accepting almost any old carp.
   *I don't know if the Sustrans acceptance of the worst of the implementations is at a local or national level - if it's local/regional then the central management needs to get a grip on the provincial kulaks and give them some re-education sessions
Secondly it's probably down to a desire to expand the Sustrans empire as quickly and widely as possible - leading to (1) above. The National Byway was/is a counterbalance to this, and maybe Sustrans needs to give way to other providers where Sustrans cannot commission routes deliver to the required high standards. Equally, I wonder if too many local authorities were too keen to have the Sustrans badge of approval on their crap paths, and Sustrans were too quick to oblige.
And, yes, funding.
Too many angry people - breathe & relax.

Re: Sustrans paths crap - official
« Reply #48 on: November 14, 2018, 05:47:46 pm »
I can't help but feel that the point of Sustrans has been to make it appear to the bulk of the population (i.e. people who rarely if ever ride bikes) that everything is really great for cyclists. I always seem to find the on-road sections have relatively pristine tarmac, whereas I am not aware of any off-road sections that have ever had any resurfacing. Perhaps we are only prepared to spend the money where it is likely to be of greatest benefit to motorists, either by having fewer potholes or getting the bloody cyclists out of the way of the important traffic. The bits of the network that people actually want to use (i.e. away from traffic) are generally utter crap, and most people are only prepared to use their cars on the rest of it. None of these things seem to have promoted active travel in any way but as long as nobody complains, and nobody will because they all have better things to be doing with their time, nothing will happen to improve the situation.

vorsprung

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Re: Sustrans paths crap - official
« Reply #49 on: November 14, 2018, 05:57:22 pm »

The question is - why are the Sustrans paths crap?


Because that is what a Sustrans path is, how it is conceived, nurtured and realised.

In the rare cases that the paths are fabulous, I'd like to see a full analysis of how this miracle occurred.  For example the paths on the North Bristol ring road

Mostly they do these things
1) take an existing back lane that is quiet and put signs on it.   Usually said back lane goes up and down like a yo-yo and is covered in gravel and mud.  Great example: out of the back of Moorbath

2) take a very very short section near a new development or road change.  Build an A1 grade separated facility but only for 100 metres or so.  An example in Exeter on the hill between the park n ride and Aldi

3) take an existing off road path of some sort and add signage and some way of getting on and off it.  If there are problems with safety or basic use add signs such as "dismount to pass under the bridge"  Example: the Tiverton - Burlescombe canal path.

4) paint some lines on the edge of a road.  Join up various sections with step kerbs.  Example, most of Bristol

That is the Sustrans approach, the tokenism, the inadequate, the unsuitable - much of it has a "NCN" sign on it

Dunno why I am saying this for the 100th time :) I guess you asked.....
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