Monday 18 July 2011

Institutionalised Motorism near UWE

We have another "I" today, to go with the council's thinking: Indifference, Incomptence and Ignorance; it is Institutionalised Motorism

This means: to think about cars first, everything else as an afterthought.

You can see it here, in this two way walking and cycling path on Coldharbour Lane, heading north from the UWE entrance to either Old Filton Road or to the crossings to get to Bristol Parkway station, or, if you turn left, to the MoD roundabout. It is wide, no risk of conflict between pedestrians and bicycles. But what's that in the distance

Yes, it's a bus stop. The foot/bike way is cut in half width, just where people will be queueing for, getting on and getting off a bus.
There's no shelter either. While that may stop people cycling into the shelter -which would otherwise block the entire pavement- it means that people waiting for buses will get wet as well as potentially hit by people cycling along. Anyone waiting here on a dark and went winter evening will end up resenting anyone cycling past.

But why does the road narrow here? It's because the alternative would be to allow the bus to hold up motor traffic.

Given a choice of two options
  1. providing something safe and pleasant for public transport users, pedestrians and cyclists
  2. something that kept motor vehicle traffic flow at its highest,
the council went for the traffic flow option, rather than having a wide pavement, a wide bike lane and a covered shelter with seating.

This is why there's continuous conflict between people walking and cycling in S Gloucs and the city to the south: the cyclists, pedestrians and public transport users are left scrabbling for the leftovers while the majority of the road "investment" in the region goes into road widening.

That is Institutionalised Motorism all the way to the top of the council. There's no real pretence of supporting cycling in this city, other than the Boris Johnson "poor people can if they must" kind of viewpoint.

The worst part is this: the council planners are probably proud of such bollocks. They will drive home in their SUVs to their Bradley Stoke semi-detached suburbs with one car per adult and say "I did something really good for people who walk and cycle in the area. I helped provide a bus lay-by to encourage public transport use, and we painted a bicycle path on a widened pavement". Because to say "I fobbed off everyone who doesn't drive with some shit infrastructure" would be an admission of incompetence.
We wonder how long it will be before they want bollards or "cyclists look out for pedestrians" signs?

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