Sunday 26 February 2012

The Great Wall of Filton

Rob Bushill of Really Useful Bikes feels that we, the People's Cycling Front of South Gloucestershire, have been giving the S Gloucs cycle team a hard time. That swearing is abusive and the wrong way to get things fixed.

His section on cycling with kids is something we cannot disagree with, as he shows lots of lovely ways to carry kids on the bars, cargo bicycles -we are sure that he dreams of a region where families can safely cycle round. We agree on the goals -merely the detail. He and the other collaborators with the regime believe that constructive engagement is the answer. We believe that talking to the people is an utter waste of time -and furthermore, they don't even talk to you, the splitters, about what they are about to do to make cycling round the region even harder.

We value and respect Rob, and his goal of providing useful bikes for the area, so will not swear in this post, or make any direct accusations about the competence of the cycle team.

Instead we ask Rob to question his own beliefs -and to consider whether he should come out in support of the cause -or give up and start selling mountain bikes with 80-100mm of travel on the front forks, as these are the best way to get past The Great Wall of Filton.

Yes, the "the Great Wall of Filton", a barrier put in to stop anyone on a bicycle cycling down a road that was closed "to make it a better place to cycle" -at the bottom of Eighth Avenue and the top of Wordsworth Avenue

It's not a cycle path, it's a wall of bollards and barriers, with a van on the pavement to make even the pavement inaccessible.

It's not wide enough to get a bicycle with panniers through
It's not wide enough to get any straight-bar bicycle through without the risk of clipping a wheel on the kerb (where the black marks show it happens), or the bar on the bollard.

It is not a cycle path. It is not pining for the fjords. It is a dead cycle path.

As Rob does not want us to say anything negative about the cycle team, we leave it to him to discover for us whether this was put in without their knowledge, whether their objections to something utterly useless were overridden -or whether they thought this was a good idea.

If he raises this issue at the next cycle forum -he should also ask why The Great Wall of Filton was not discussed beforehand.

Here are our questions for Rob about the Great Wall of Filton
  1. Do you any of your family cycles get through here?
  2. As this route will link up with the nearby Concorde way, do you believe that this route could form part of a safe joined-up family cycling network?
  3. Do you have any evidence that the plan for the Great Wall of Filton was raised with the cycle forum? 
  4. Do you think that the Great Wall of Filton is something the cycle team should be proud of?
  5. Do you think they were involved in the design?
  6. If the cycle team where not involved in the design, does that not indicate that the council is out of control, and that the cycle team have no apparent awareness of what is going on in their shire?
  7. Whose budget do you believe it came out of?
If he finds the answers unsatisfactory, we extend the black glove of the People's Cycling Front of South Gloucestershire to Rob -and invite him to recognise that the cycle forum is not the solution to any cycling problems that the area has. Together, we can be.

Tuesday 21 February 2012

Cities Shit for Cycling #2

Chester Cycling have given us an updated logo.
This is far more authentic, and shall be used as the official logo for all coverage of S Gloucs council from now on.

Monday 20 February 2012

S Gloucs: Cities Shit for Cycling

Citizens! The new Times "Cities Fit for Cycling" campaign targets councils like that of S Gloucs.

Unfortunately our council could not support any of the objectives of the campaign, especially that bit about providing useful infrastructure. As far as the council is concerned y\the only role of cycling infrastructure is to keep people on cycles out the way of cars -and if there is a conflict, the bicycles lose. 

For that reason, we, the People's Cycling Front of S Gloucestershire have some artwork to donate to the council, their own logo that they can stick on the vans that block bike paths.

Some people might think "will not the council be embarrassed by this?"

S Gloucs council doesn't give a fuck about bicycles. We know that because we have seen photographs of the new Great Wall of Filton! Until one of our campaign units has visited the site we can not confirm that it is real, but if it is, it actually makes the path with a 50cm dropout look good. At least that one could be ridden on a mountain bike. 

Until that coverage, enjoy our new logo. Before any outsiders complain that the word "shit" doesn't join up with the rest of the sentence, compare it to S Gloucs cycling farcilities before slagging of our graphics.

Monday 13 February 2012

The Bristol Cycling City report

You can now download the final cycling city report.

Remember, S Gloucs got 1/3 of the cash, so you'd expect 1/3 of the progress, enough to justify Bwian Allison appearing on the introduction.

So let's look at P6 at the on-road and traffic free improvements

Contra-flow streets: A number of contra-flow streets introduced to allow cyclists to travel against the flow of motor vehicles on one way streets, provide an advantage by allowing cyclists ‘filtered permeability’ through an area – mostly in central Bristol.
Measures to increase the use of the Bristol-Bath Railway Path: Two new paths have been installed to provide access to two highly populated communities. Lighting has also been installed to provide illumination up to Bristol City Council's administrative boundary

The only bit of infrastructure they cite is the concorde way. That's the one where they put the bollards in because people were actually using it.  They also discuss the bus network

Work with the Greater Bristol Bus Network: Cycling was considered using Cycle Route Implementation and Stakeholder Plans (CRISPs) to identify as many opportunities as possible to benefit cyclists in parallel with buses.

No mention of the S Gloucs plans to ban bicycles from the bus lanes on the A4174, the plans for shite shared-pavement options along the new to-cribbs route being designed.
Same page: 20 mph areas,.
The two 20mph limit pilot areas in Bristol were implemented  
See. In Bristol.  Notice a trend there?

Now P10, area -six.
The Cycling City project implemented 0.72 km of on-road and 19.19 km of traffic-free cycle infrastructure
This all sounds wonderful were not the 19.19km of off road routes 19.19km of such awfulness that the money would have better off spent in Bristol. It probably includes the old Filton Road pavement, put in so that rat-running councillors would be able to use the Old Filton Road, which was until then traffic free.

It probably includes the pavement route put in while a new bus stop was added, with the bike lane set up to crash cyclists into anyone waiting for a bus. And Appendix 6 says "Western Link to UWE". You know the one., the one which only a month ago finally got the junction to the existing infrastructure levelled off so you could actually ride it in both directions on a bicycle without suspension and off-road tyres.

As for the on-road stretch, we fear it includes the other direction of Old Filton Road, as even the council road planners realised that trying to make a pavement 1 metre wide even before it got covered in vegetation two way was daft. Instead they put some green marks down in precisely the one place you don't want to be when heading east.

Page14: a discussion on how signage benefits cycle path users. Well, in S Gloucs on those rare bits of path that do have signage, the signage is just another hazard to fear at night.

From the perspective of Bristol, the results are good. The 20 mph zone, it slows cars down a bit (excluding Ashley Down, York Road, Stapleton road, and it pretends Coronation Road isn't there). The near ubiquitous cycle parking means that trips to local shops are better -and that you feel welcome, which is not the case in S Gloucs outside the big employers.

They also claim that in Ashley Ward, 26% of people cycle to work, in Southville, Redland and Bishopston the percentage is 20%. These are not people who cycle to work in the North Fringe. how can we make such an assertion? The automated traffic count data on concorde way has apparently risen by 102%. But they don't give the figures. If 20% of people in S. Gloucs cycled to work, don't you think they would have mentioned it? If 20% of schoolkids in the area cycled to school, don't you think they would have mentioned it? They didn't. They gave some impressive numbers for the inner city, and used "percentage increases in traffic" as the measure of success in the fringe, missing the point that a doubling of fuck all is still nearly-fuck all.

Anyway: read the report. A key thing to note is that all the big employers of the area had a lot of staff engagement, their employers are supportive and with their on-site bike parking, there are the facilities. What they don't get is anything resembling the infrastructure outside their offices that they deserve.

The daily-mail commenters are always complaining that they, the tax payers, waste money on the cyclists, but what about this. The tax paying staff for the main businesses in S Gloucs, the business that pay the most business rates, don't get the cycle facilities their tax has paid for.

Why not? Because the people in charge of planning cycle facilities in S Gloucs are either dead or missing.