Author Topic: Cycle infrastructure done right  (Read 1042 times)

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Cycle infrastructure done right
« on: July 19, 2020, 11:17:54 am »

Cycling to my LBS the other day I turned onto the road alongside the Amsterdam-Rijn Kanaal. I used to hate this stretch, it was horribly uneven block paving and very uncomfortable to ride on, but it shaves off about 3km, so was worth it for the 500m or so. In typical Dutch fashion I had cycled past a sign saying the road was closed and there was a diversion. But someone had moved it off the fietspad I was on, so I thought I'd see how far I got.

What really surprised me tho, was on  the dyke itself, there was this sign:


https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EdIhaYXWAAIIw9M?format=jpg&name=large

For those who don't speak terrestrial klingon, it's saying this road is closed, and there is a diversion in place. All very plane and simple and common. Then at the bottom it says the diversion will be an extra 5 minutes. Cool, that's useful. And it will cost you an extra 36kCal. That's new. Not seen that before.

We talk about infrastructure such as segregated cycle lanes, and properly designed junctions, and those are great and wonderful and we need more of them, but this simple addition to the bottom of a sign really impressed me. Can you imagine a UK council doing that?

Oh, and the new road surface is beautiful smooth tarmac and a joy to ride on*. The sign at the other end of the resurfacing work said the diversion was 2mins and only 22kCal.

J



* I think it may be related to this, but I can't find much more info: https://leidsche-rijn.nieuws.nl/2019/07/12/snel-een-fietssnelweg-tussen-utrecht-en-amsterdam/
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Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Cycle infrastructure done right
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2020, 11:27:06 am »
I understand the reasoning (one of the better innovations that came to That London around the time of the hire bike scheme was the proliferation of local you-are-here maps showing typical walking and cycling times from that point - we've even got a few of them in Brum), but I still find metres a more useful unit of distance than minutes or kCal.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Cycle infrastructure done right
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2020, 11:34:06 am »
I understand the reasoning (one of the better innovations that came to That London around the time of the hire bike scheme was the proliferation of local you-are-here maps showing typical walking and cycling times from that point - we've even got a few of them in Brum), but I still find metres a more useful unit of distance than minutes or kCal.

Yeah, it would be nice if it had said the distance rather than the time. Tho you can extrapolate it from the kCal, it's about 1.4km...

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Cycle infrastructure done right
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2020, 11:38:51 am »
I can more easily imagine a UK council putting up a sign about calories used than making sufficiently wide, decently surfaced, barrier free cycle paths that go to useful places by reasonably direct routes.
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Cycle infrastructure done right
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2020, 11:40:02 am »
IIRC the Birmingham ones give a distance and time, which is eminently sensible.  I bet there's psychology research showing that the average Brit thinks a mile is a really long way, but a 15 minute walk isn't too bad, which would be an argument for not giving the distance.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Cycle infrastructure done right
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2020, 12:04:49 pm »
Then at the bottom it says the diversion will be an extra 5 minutes. Cool, that's useful. And it will cost you an extra 36kCal. That's new. Not seen that before.

The sign at the other end of the resurfacing work said the diversion was 2mins and only 22kCal.


I'm guessing your direction was uphill ;)
Back in the saddle :)

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Cycle infrastructure done right
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2020, 12:05:56 pm »
Then at the bottom it says the diversion will be an extra 5 minutes. Cool, that's useful. And it will cost you an extra 36kCal. That's new. Not seen that before.

The sign at the other end of the resurfacing work said the diversion was 2mins and only 22kCal.


I'm guessing your direction was uphill ;)

Kanaal...

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Cycle infrastructure done right
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2020, 12:14:47 pm »
IIRC the Birmingham ones give a distance and time, which is eminently sensible.  I bet there's psychology research showing that the average Brit thinks a mile is a really long way, but a 15 minute walk isn't too bad, which would be an argument for not giving the distance.
It's quite likely. Though there's a danger of either overestimating the time and putting people off before they've tried, or underestimating it and leaving people feeling let down, "won't try that again!" Given the widely differing speeds at which people cycle, let alone walk, it's going to be hard to pick a useful average and 15-20 minutes is probably the reasonable maximum for indication on this kind of scheme. Legible City signage and mapping doesn't try to show times to specific places, just 5-min, 10-min, etc rings from a spot. (I think they start at 2-min).
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Cycle infrastructure done right
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2020, 06:51:56 pm »
People, unless they regularly work with distances, don't intuitively understand them. But everyone knows what 10 minutes is. The average person may know it's a 30 minute drive to Aunt Sheila's but they couldn't tell you how many miles or kilometres that is. You know how long your commute to the office is (when such a thing was a thing) but most people won't know how far that is. If we tell someone we're do a 20 km walk they'll invariably ask if we're doing it for charity.

I seem to recall when the London signage was discussed it rapidly devolved into blokes-on-bikes mode. Ten minutes! I can do that in five! No, four minutes and thirty seconds!

Sometimes, chaps, it's not all about velocity.
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Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Cycle infrastructure done right
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2020, 08:18:55 pm »
I tend to assume the average speed of a touring cyclist (including photo-stops, CAKE and mechanicals) is about 10mph.  That seems like a reasonable heuristic for most purposes, unless you have a specific reason to think otherwise. It also makes the maths easy.

(I assume I'll average 20kph for audax-style riding, and something in the 30-35kph range on the race track.  But neither are relevant to urban riding, which is mostly about traffic or faffy shared-use alternatives.)
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Cycle infrastructure done right
« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2020, 01:12:23 am »
Will cycle infrastructure be done right once the new Cycle Lane Tsar gets going?
Quote
Residents will get powers to banish through-traffic from local streets and councils will be prevented from building substandard cycle lanes under what Downing Street has billed as a revolution for cycling and walking in England.

The plans will see the creation of a watchdog to ensure new cycle and walking routes are up to standard, intended to act as a transport equivalent of the schools inspectorate, Ofsted.

Active Travel England, to be led by a yet-to-be-appointed commissioner for walking and cycling, will refuse to fund paint-only bike lanes – without physical barriers or protection from cars – or routes where cyclists and pedestrians have to share space. It could also cut budgets in other areas for highways departments which fail to deliver on active transport.
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/jul/27/residents-to-get-new-decision-making-powers-in-cycling-revolution

<cynic>That last sentence, about cutting budgets in other areas, means removing subsidies for local buses on the pretext of insufficient cycle lanes, doesn't it?</cynic>
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

Re: Cycle infrastructure done right
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2020, 08:24:35 am »
A bit tangential, but relevant perhaps.
A recently came across a video on YouTube about why Amsterdammers don’t use helmets. One of the key points made was that general utility riding was slowish, respectful and on what we call “ Dutch” bikes.
One of the very sensible people they talked to said that cyclists who ride racing- type bikes in Lycra do it out of town, and ride slowly once in towns. As he said, one of these cyclists who lives in Amsterdam rides home, changes, and gets on his grannies old bike to meet their mates for a coffee.
From what I see in London, the culture is very different within some riders.
This affects the design of course, but particularly usage, if people who might ride feel intimidated by “commuter racers”.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Cycle infrastructure done right
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2020, 10:50:15 am »
Definitely relevant as it affects design and not linked to London. We've seen it in some alterations made and others proposed to the Bristol-Bath Railway Path, which has various Strava segments along it, and sees some intimidatingly fast/racy riding at busy commuter times. A raised zebra was installed at one point a few years ago, then a "slow down" light which lights up if you exceed 25km/h approaching the zebra, and now (from Sustrans) proposals aimed at reducing cycle speeds and capacity.
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Cycle infrastructure done right
« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2020, 11:12:52 am »
It's certainly the case in London that there are a fair proportion of jackasses. The old CS7 has always been a race track for blokes in lycra grunting away on road bikes, but it's horrid anyway, just a busy road with a blue stripe filled with cars down the sides. The newer segregated facilities are better, but expect to get periodically winged by the same type (always men, professional commuter types). Just like drivers, they often just can't wait and take the first available opportunity.

The newer facilities seem(ed) to be appealing to significantly wider demographic which calmed things down a lot, which is an interesting secondary benefit, even if costs some people their Strava ranking.
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Re: Cycle infrastructure done right
« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2020, 11:57:05 am »
My VeloViewer square quest took me to Swindon a few weeks back.

I have to say, I was really impressed with the Infra there. Very seldom was I on the road. Perhaps it's low expectations of living in my area that makes me impressed by anything with a sealed surface.

The only NCN route in my area is having a revamp/re-route currently, including a new bridge across brook. A bit of a shame that they had to get rid of the old 'Bridge of Doom' (which was a challenge on an MTB) but it should prove a far more attractive route from my town to the nearby science park. However, it's the same old mistakes. The section that is 'finished' has drawn the ire of the local cycling community because it's not to the agree'ed spec and is fairly challenging on anything narrower than an MTB tyre. The top dressing is loose half golf-ball sized stones. When a revamp was done on the other end of this route, some years back, the contractor there top dressed it in shards of flint.... They came back and fixed it after much constination, but it has the lasting nickname of 'p****ure alley' as a result.

How is it we keep getting it so wrong in this country?

Re: Cycle infrastructure done right
« Reply #15 on: July 30, 2020, 12:07:53 pm »
The old CS7 has always been a race track for blokes in lycra grunting away on road bikes, but it's horrid anyway, just a busy road with a blue stripe filled with cars down the sides. The newer segregated facilities are better, but expect to get periodically winged by the same type (always men, professional commuter types).

That's a product of decades of not having good infrastructure, so the only people happy cycling were brave men who felt safer the faster they rode. The new cyclists required to dilute that culture will only come in larger numbers when there's a door-to-door good cycle network, progress on which since the Gilligan era is glacial.

It's also a product of only having one good route across town for cyclists that everyone is drawn to. Blame Westminster council I guess.

telstarbox

  • Loving the lanes
Re: Cycle infrastructure done right
« Reply #16 on: July 30, 2020, 12:28:58 pm »
A bit tangential, but relevant perhaps.
A recently came across a video on YouTube about why Amsterdammers don’t use helmets. One of the key points made was that general utility riding was slowish, respectful and on what we call “ Dutch” bikes.
One of the very sensible people they talked to said that cyclists who ride racing- type bikes in Lycra do it out of town, and ride slowly once in towns. As he said, one of these cyclists who lives in Amsterdam rides home, changes, and gets on his grannies old bike to meet their mates for a coffee.
From what I see in London, the culture is very different within some riders.
This affects the design of course, but particularly usage, if people who might ride feel intimidated by “commuter racers”.

Not everyone has the space or wants the hassle of multiple bikes though. I use a drop bar 'road' bike for all my rides including 'fast' countryside riding, commuting and even some gravel, but it's perfectly possible to ride it slower and with consideration when the conditions require that.
2019 🏅 R1000 and B1000

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Cycle infrastructure done right
« Reply #17 on: July 30, 2020, 12:40:14 pm »
The old CS7 has always been a race track for blokes in lycra grunting away on road bikes, but it's horrid anyway, just a busy road with a blue stripe filled with cars down the sides. The newer segregated facilities are better, but expect to get periodically winged by the same type (always men, professional commuter types).

That's a product of decades of not having good infrastructure, so the only people happy cycling were brave men who felt safer the faster they rode. The new cyclists required to dilute that culture will only come in larger numbers when there's a door-to-door good cycle network, progress on which since the Gilligan era is glacial.

It's also a product of only having one good route across town for cyclists that everyone is drawn to. Blame Westminster council I guess.

Yeah. But I also sometimes feel that those established commuters begrudge any new facilities with their appeal to a wider demographic. They're the 'proper men' of the road willing to take on a lorry head-to-head, not these softy softy neophytes. Some of them are even girls.

The Blackfriars lane past our office gets very congested during peak times but seems to flow quite well.

I dream of the day of being able to cycle from London to Croydon on proper infrastructure.
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Re: Cycle infrastructure done right
« Reply #18 on: July 30, 2020, 05:14:15 pm »
When I lived in Stockwell I thought the main thing to recommend CS7 was safety in numbers.

Agreed there were plenty of twits on their own personal Tour De Commute but I was more concerned about drivers turning right in front of me or pulling out on me, and that never happened when I was part of a bunch of cyclists, unlike in Croydon where you're generally on your own and they're not expecting you because how dare you be on MY road cyclist peasant.

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Cycle infrastructure done right
« Reply #19 on: July 30, 2020, 06:55:31 pm »
Numbers are useful, but beyond that there's little actual cycling facility on CS7 (OK, I lie, they finally did something with the Stockwell junction where previously traffic would cut across – and occasionally through – cyclists to get on the road to Brixton, and similar for the Oval), it's mostly just a busy road, in sections, the blue lanes submerged under parked cars. The A23 is no worse really, it just lacks the blue paint. Neither route is for the faint-hearted and all roads get worse the further out you get.

By the time you get to the terra incognita of zone 6, the occasional dragon or sea monster would be a relief from the homicidal drivers.
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Re: Cycle infrastructure done right
« Reply #20 on: July 30, 2020, 07:50:26 pm »
Numbers are useful, but beyond that there's little actual cycling facility on CS7

TfL are upgrading CS7 as part of their CoVid emergency measures:
https://twitter.com/HealthyTooting/status/1282997919222763522

I think it goes in in the next week or two.

Re: Cycle infrastructure done right
« Reply #21 on: July 31, 2020, 12:09:43 am »
Cycling from Tooting Bec to Tooting Broadway is something I've always likened to an arcade game, except the penalty for messing up is probably extremely painful. It hits the next level at 7pm, when parking along there is allowed.

You have to go hyper-alert, because you never know where the next MM is going to appear from. I never fail to be astounded at the sense of invincibility that so many cyclists display along this stretch. Powering down the hill as fast as their legs will carry them. Typically they stay close to the gutter and get caught in the mess at the Broadway traffic lights, so all that extra energy doesn't get them home any sooner.

I'm quite looking forward to the next run up there to see what kind of a pig's ear they will make of it.
Rust never sleeps

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Cycle infrastructure done right
« Reply #22 on: July 31, 2020, 09:33:29 am »
I do miss my commuting route of doom calculation. Take the A23, but then there's the junction at the bottom of Brixton Hill, the Streamham Speedway, etc. or CS7 with all that caboodle, or take the long route down through Peckham and all that entails. I once took the entire Waterlink Way to Warlingham. That was interesting because it turns into a mountain bike adventure route once you escape suburban hell. Only I wasn't riding a mountain bike.
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Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Cycle infrastructure done right
« Reply #23 on: July 31, 2020, 04:59:51 pm »
Tooting Bec
I wonder if Victorian Ladies used to refer to Tooting Bec as Rebecca Passing Wind?
(perhaps the passing wind was a "furious cyclist"?)
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...