Thursday, 5 August 2010

A rubbish route with many black, poisonous objects


Putting the knee-jerk desire to ban cyclists from the riverside aside, the South Bank Strategy has many good points, including acknowledging how rubbish the Belvedere Road route is currently. It recognises the need to create cycle routes that cyclists will enjoy using.

This is the real way to encourage cycling (with all the pluses of reducing CO2, NOx, noise pollution, heart-attacks, diabetes etc.) while also reducing conflict with pedestrians.

The report quotes TfL's 2008 'Attitudes to Cycling' study which found that nine out of ten Londoners agreed with the statement that 'traffic makes people afraid of cycling in London'.

It also states, 'The Spine Route (Upper Ground and Belvedere Road) serves as a service road for HGVs, a bus route, a national and local cycle route and a key walking route'. How they've managed not to notice it's also used by a zillion diesel-exhaust-bellowing taxis a day, not to mention mini-cabs and private cars, is beyond me.

I have yet to find in the report any suggestions on ways to reduce motor-traffic usage in the area. Examples of sustainable options include finding ways to reduce the number of HGVs needed (eg reusable crockery rather than disposable; water fountains rather than bottled water on sale); re-routing taxis to have drop offs along Stamford Street (a short walk is good for you and adaptions can be arranged for the disabled), and a road-closure at some point (permeable to pedestrians and cyclists) to prevent rat-running motor traffic.

As cycle route plans are worked up, let's hope Cycling England's five Key Design Features for a Cycle Network are adhered to:
Coherence : The cycling infrastructure should form a coherent entity, linking all trip origins and destinations; with a continuous level of provision;
Directness : Routes should be as direct as possible, based on desire lines, since detours and delays will deter use;
Attractiveness: Routes must be attractive to cyclists on subjective as well as objective criteria. Lighting, personal safety, aesthetics, noise and integration with the surrounding area are important;
Safety : Designs should minimise the danger for cyclists and other road users; and
Comfort: Cycle routes need smooth, well-maintained surfaces, regular sweeping, and gentle gradients. Routes must be convenient to use and avoid complicated manoeuvres and
interruptions.

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