Author Topic: Building the Ultimate cycle path  (Read 1806 times)

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Building the Ultimate cycle path
« 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
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2019, 12:20:13 pm »
Without watching the video, I'm thinking "build a road, take the cars away".
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
« Reply #2 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
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2019, 01:23:01 pm »
Without watching the video, I'm thinking "build a road, take the cars away".
Ditto.
An ungovernable laughter, a joyous agitation which makes the summer stretching before you seem like an unrolling canvas on which you might draw those first rude pure strokes that are free. (Capote)

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
« Reply #4 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.  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.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
« Reply #5 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!

Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
« Reply #6 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.

Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
« Reply #7 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.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
« Reply #8 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"!
An ungovernable laughter, a joyous agitation which makes the summer stretching before you seem like an unrolling canvas on which you might draw those first rude pure strokes that are free. (Capote)

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
« Reply #9 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".
An ungovernable laughter, a joyous agitation which makes the summer stretching before you seem like an unrolling canvas on which you might draw those first rude pure strokes that are free. (Capote)

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
« Reply #10 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.
An ungovernable laughter, a joyous agitation which makes the summer stretching before you seem like an unrolling canvas on which you might draw those first rude pure strokes that are free. (Capote)

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
« Reply #11 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/
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
« Reply #12 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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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.
An ungovernable laughter, a joyous agitation which makes the summer stretching before you seem like an unrolling canvas on which you might draw those first rude pure strokes that are free. (Capote)

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
« Reply #13 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".


Quote
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.


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.


[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.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
« Reply #14 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.
An ungovernable laughter, a joyous agitation which makes the summer stretching before you seem like an unrolling canvas on which you might draw those first rude pure strokes that are free. (Capote)

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
« Reply #15 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.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2019, 01:19:45 pm »
Okay, I saw "off-road" and was thinking muddy lanes.
An ungovernable laughter, a joyous agitation which makes the summer stretching before you seem like an unrolling canvas on which you might draw those first rude pure strokes that are free. (Capote)

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
« Reply #17 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.
An ungovernable laughter, a joyous agitation which makes the summer stretching before you seem like an unrolling canvas on which you might draw those first rude pure strokes that are free. (Capote)

Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
« Reply #18 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.

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
« Reply #19 on: February 04, 2019, 01:32:15 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.

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.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
« Reply #20 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.
An ungovernable laughter, a joyous agitation which makes the summer stretching before you seem like an unrolling canvas on which you might draw those first rude pure strokes that are free. (Capote)

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
« Reply #21 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.
An ungovernable laughter, a joyous agitation which makes the summer stretching before you seem like an unrolling canvas on which you might draw those first rude pure strokes that are free. (Capote)

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
« Reply #22 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."
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
« Reply #23 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)

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Building the Ultimate cycle path
« Reply #24 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.
An ungovernable laughter, a joyous agitation which makes the summer stretching before you seem like an unrolling canvas on which you might draw those first rude pure strokes that are free. (Capote)