Wednesday 9 March 2011

The Bollards of Death Path

Here is the famous "bollards of death" path at 17:30 on a weekday. MoD staff, other commuters. This is what it really looks like, compared to the sunny quiet-day video.

The bollards are visible, you can see where we taped some of them up, but they do blend in with the white line. It makes you realise why many road-side posts are in alternating white and black -visible in more conditions.

0:08 -swerve into oncoming lane. No protocol here so there's a risk you both swerve. It happens. That's why when there is a lower pedestrian count the path switches to normal left-side-of-road rules.

0:18 anyone walking over the zebra crossing is lined up to get hit here. Also note the barriers. Rationale unclear. Not bicycles, so it must be stop pedestrians crossing the road except at the zebra crossing. So why not allow that?

0:55 mediocre visibility on an uphill route; hope nobody is descending.

1:12 MoD pedestrian access point. Again, having the bike path on the RHS would reduce risk here, but look at what comes up

1:19 foot access to the train station, key part of the pedestrian route. Oh, and a pillar in the middle.

1:24 even two people walking side by side are something you have to worry about

1:39 notice the vast space for parking. This site fills up its parking, a lot of staff were reallocated from elsewhere. Now people who live within three miles aren't allowed to park. But what is the alternative. We're on it.

1:56 its quieter here as its either residents of Northville or Lockleaze on foot, or bicycles. At the end of the path there's a blind corner, but we are avoiding it as we are taking the Northville exit.

2:10 This is a bike path, marked up on the maps, oddly not in the better by bike video. When we say "you need an MTB to cycle round here" we forgot to mention the max handlebar width and travel. The more travel your bike has, the higher your bars go, the harder it is to get through here. Good thing there's nobody in the way, and that we arent carrying children on the front bars -or in a trailer or tagalong.

2:17 narrow bridge. Clearly this is a path for pedestrians that's had some anti-motorbike barrier for a while and with a blue circle is now a pedestrian/bicycle shared route.

2:28 into the garage zone. It's interesting how much space is allocated to parking here. Even though you are a few minutes cycle/walk from the supermarket, the whole Bristol suburb culture is about driving. The busses are less frequent, the corner shops bleaker and further away. You are expected to drive.

2:46 and we are in the cars-on-the-pavement suburbs.

Now, is this path a failure?

Experience: Fail. In that it doesn't go out of its way to make you feel welcome and valued yes. Neither pedestrians or cyclists will enjoy this walk. Indeed, one of the things about walking round this area, or up to parkway station, is how mindnumbingly dull it is. Even the graffiti isn't that interesting. All you see are car parks, dual carriageways and cars, until you get to crossings that make you wait for 30-60s before you react. It's implicitly designed to make you wish you'd rather be in a car.

Maybe this is why its so rare to see anyone walking around. In the inner city, people out and about. Here, people walking to their cars, some teenagers loitering, and people waiting for busses looking miserable.

Use: Unknown. We have no before/after data, the MoD exclusion zone will encourage more walking and cycling so the statistics won't be reliable. It's busy with pedestrians and some bicycles. Some morning and school time data would be useful, probably between 8 and 9 am is the peak hours.

Scalability: Fail. The path may only have a few bicycles, but its already saturated. The segregation fails because the path isn't wide enough for two directions of walking and two directions of cycling. If the number of people cycling down here were to double or triple at peak times, it still wouldn't make much of a dent in the car traffic statistics, but it would overload the cycling infrastructure. And what then? A new lane?

1 comment:

  1. I was surprised to notice on my way home yesterday (5th April) that all the bollards on the path from the retail park to the station have been removed, temporarily replaced with plastic traffic cones. I wonder if this will be a permanent removal?