Feed aggregator

Two futures

As Easy As Riding A Bike - 29 May, 2020 - 17:00

At the end of April, the retail consultant Mary Portas appeared on the BBC’s World at One programme to discuss how physical shopping could continue to function during the coronavirus crisis.

Portas has a bit of form for, shall we say, car-centric ‘solutions’ to high street problems, proposing the quack remedy of free parking as a response to town centre decline, and generally arguing for unfettered access by motor traffic to shopping streets, while simultaneously paying scant attention to benign modes of transport like walking and cycling. So it was perhaps no great surprise to hear her complaining about having to pay car parking charges in London boroughs during the coronavirus pandemic, while singing the praises of department stores that have converted themselves into drive-throughs, a kind of transformation that these hidebound councils are apparently not enlightened enough to adopt.

Here’s ‘High Streets expert’ Mary Portas advocating “luxury drive throughs” (yes, really) for retail, while moaning about current on-street parking charges. There really is going to be a battle for how our streets feel and look in the coming weeks and months pic.twitter.com/IEaugNqqrf

— Mark Treasure (@AsEasyAsRiding) April 28, 2020

I was reminded of this episode by this excellent cartoon from Dave Walker, which manages to capture the Dystopian reality of the Portas worldview in the left panel.

As he so often does, @davewalker has managed to get a very important message, clearly, into a cartoon. Decision Time. pic.twitter.com/jcXda8gjvX

— John Dales (@johnstreetdales) May 22, 2020

At an individual level, travelling by private car is of course the safest way for you, personally, to travel around, with no interaction whatsoever with the outside world. And unfortunately it’s only a short mental leap from that insulated travel to insulated everything, with no need to exit the motor vehicle for any kind of human activity outside of the home – the car, combined with an entirely car-based public realm, as the ultimate form of personal protective equipment.

Once just a way of getting from one place to another, the car has been turned into a mini-shelter on wheels, safe from contamination, a cocoon that allows its occupants to be inside and outside at the same time.

And this behaviour is happening already, simply an accelerated form of the car-dependent lifestyles that existed pre-coronavirus. Friends meeting up in cars, graduation ceremonies in carsdrinking coffee in cars, going clubbing in cars. And these American trends have appeared in the UK, primarily as drive-through fast-food outlets have begun to re-open.

McDonalds Drive-Thru opened in Sutton today, here's the queue… pic.twitter.com/MN0pZ1Z0dW

— Will Gavin (@WillGav) May 20, 2020

Scenes at Colindale @KFC_UKI pic.twitter.com/HjdKMqDCEw

— LittleMrMillwall (@Lacestotight) May 4, 2020

Helpfully, our Environment Secretary has even commented that

our view is that a McDonald’s drive-through is made for the social distancing situation that we are in, in that people do not leave their car.

Meanwhile, the enlightened John Redwood thinks the answer is more car parks and free parking, a view that may unfortunately be widely shared by politicians. So it seems almost inevitable that those areas of the United Kingdom that are already highly car-dependent – places where sprawl is a feature, with large, fast roads connecting up isolated housing to out-of-town workplaces, or to retail parks with enormous car parks – will slide further into that car dependence, as former public transport users shift to car use, with little incentive to walk or cycle instead.

The truth is that while some cities and larger towns were, by and large, moving in the right direction on active travel, most of the rest of the country now has a long history of stagnation or even decline when it comes to levels of walking and cycling. Coronavirus may serve to accelerate these trends, with car-dependent places becoming even more car-dependent, and (fingers crossed) cities in particular seeing further shifts away from private car use. As I write this, some councils are doing an amazing job, rapidly developing and implementing programmes of pop-up cycle lanes on main roads and low-traffic neighbourhoods. Others are sitting on their hands, waiting for cash to be handed to them from central government before they do anything (cash they may not get), while others are showing absolutely no interest whatsoever, or even being overtly hostile  to the notion of enable walking and cycling.

The reason for optimism with regard to denser urban areas is principally the volume of public transport trips that will have to be shifted onto other modes. To take the obvious example of London, over ten million daily trips were made by bus, underground and DLR last year. Many of these trips won’t come back, at least in the near future, but that still leaves several million journeys that simply have to be made by other modes.

Shifting them into private cars is not realistic. For one thing, using cars isn’t an option for people who don’t have one. Nearly a quarter of all UK households don’t have access to a car – all these people will need safe alternatives to public transport. But just as importantly, there simply isn’t the space between buildings to accommodate millions of extra car journeys in London, and in other cities. And even if we are stupid enough to try, at best we’re going to be creating millions of extremely unpleasant slow-moving car journeys, while also imposing significant costs for the people who are trying to get around by other (notably more efficient) modes of transport. We’ll also be sacrificing the enormous public health benefits of active travel. It’s an issue of economics, of fairness, and more bluntly, simple mathematics. The cars won’t fit.

We also need to think critically about how our public space is used, particularly as businesses attempt to reopen, and activity increases. Is it justifiable to continue to use the vast majority of street space to accommodate private motor vehicles (both their movement, and their and storage) at the expense of businesses like pubs, restaurants and even, say, theatres, which could spill out into the open air? Even the right-leaning Spectator magazine has recognised this conflict

The only conceivable way for pubs and restaurants to meet social distancing rules is if local authorities allow them to put tables on the streets. But like the politicians’ exhortations for people to walk and cycle to work, that will only be possible if the authorities force cars to make way for them, and to date there is little sign the government will allow anything more than cosmetic measures. It is a sign of how powerful the hold of the car culture is on public life that the narrow streets of Soho, the centre of London’s night-time economy, are still open to traffic 24/7. If you want to save the businesses, you have to ban the cars and free the space.

Again, this is set to be a crucial tipping point, with some cities and towns allocating increasing amounts of street space to open air dining and business activity (this example in Norwich may be typical), while others dive deeper into car dependence. Whether cities like it or not, further moves away from the private car are impossible to avoid if they are to continue functioning, both in terms of avoiding crippling congestion, and allowing a variety of businesses to operate profitably. 10% of all street space in London is used for parking – that use of public space is hard to justify even in ‘normal’ times, even more so when it is urgently needed for social distancing and business activity.

The flip-side of this optimistic outlook is that the places that where public transport use is light, or negligible – places which are very car-dependent – may see that car dependence entrenched, at least in the short term. This is simply because the ‘business as usual’, driving-everywhere pattern of mobility in these locations, while harmful in many different ways, is not a pressing issue when considered strictly in terms of the spread of coronavirus.

Not pleasant, attractive or sustainable – but unfortunately a way of managing coronavirus

This would be a pity. For one thing, shifting journeys away from the car in towns may be easier than in cities, principally because trips here are often shorter than their city equivalents. We should also not forget that the kinds of measures that are springing up now to deal with coronavirus – pop-up bike lanes, widening footways, creating low traffic neighbourhoods, and filtering streets – are the kinds of measures we should be taking anyway, even if there wasn’t a pandemic occurring.

There is an opportunity even in the places that are car-dependent. It’s unlikely that motor traffic levels will rise fully back to where they were pre-coronavirus – with, for instance, more home-working, and a general reluctance to travel by any mode. That means there will still be surplus road capacity that can be repurposed, even if there isn’t such an urgent need to accommodate people displacing from public transport. The package of funding recently announced by the Department for Transport – with strict conditions on how it is used, and how quickly – presents some grounds for hope, even in the most car-centric places. Space can be reallocated cheaply and quickly.

‘Portas-world’ – a vision of entirely car-based activity outside of the home – simply won’t work in dense urban areas. However, it is feasible in places that have developed around intensive car use. Whether it is inevitable or not is – as always – a matter of political will.

Categories: Views

#WorldBicycleDay Social Media Campaign

Dutch Cycling Embassy - 28 May, 2020 - 11:39

June 3rd is the third annual "World Bicycle Day". To mark the occasion, we're hosting a social media campaign!

Categories: News

#WorldBicycleDay Social Media Campaign

Dutch Cycling Embassy - 28 May, 2020 - 11:39

June 3rd is the third annual "World Bicycle Day". To mark the occasion, we're hosting a social media campaign!

Categories: News

More food deliveries by bicycle in the Corona crisis

BicycleDutch - 26 May, 2020 - 23:00
How our streets look is perhaps what changed most dramatically in this pandemic. Unfortunately, the bright blue skies from the beginning of the lockdown are no longer so clear now … Continue reading →
Categories: Views

Stop calling them “car bans”

At War With The Motorist - 26 May, 2020 - 15:10

Some cities and boroughs are starting to make modest changes to residential streets to enable socially distanced travel, but they face a battle because of the language they use.

The Old Ford Road filter that went in this morning. Heavy planters have been used, which presumably will have trees added to them @Kevin_J_Brady pic.twitter.com/gxdYRgmI0b

— Hackney Cyclist (@Hackneycyclist) May 5, 2020

Faced with the dilemma of how to ease lockdown without overcrowding public transport and resuming spread of the disease, or else seeing their cities grind to a halt as everyone clogs them up with single occupant cars, (some) councils are realising that they need to take urgent action to enable walking and cycling.

Most are realising that the best action you can take in an emergency, when things need to be done quickly, cheaply and effectively, is filtering through motor traffic out of residential streets that are used by motorists as ratrun shortcuts. Modal filters can be as quick and cheap as dumping down a concrete block, forklifting in a flower planter, or concreting in a bollard.

What’s stopping them being used more widely, or installed more quickly, is people kicking up a fuss about them, and telling councils that they don’t want them. Often even it’s the people who have the most to gain from these actions who are objecting. Not just the residents who will benefit from walking and cycling being enabled for them and their neighbours. The local business owners who stand to benefit from a population who enjoy walking and cycling to local businesses rather than feeling they have little choice but to get in their cars, at which point they may as well take the easy route to the big barn store with the big car park on the ring road. The professional drivers who will otherwise face being stuck with everyone else in the gridlock that will cripple us if people have no alternative but to drive everywhere.

Those people should be allies in clamouring for quick action. Instead, they fight it. Because they’ve misunderstood what it is and how it will impact them. And you can’t blame them for doing so. The media might be slightly to blame for misrepresenting filtering, but they’re really just reflecting councils and campaigners who make the same mistakes when promoting the intervention.

Don’t close the roads

The most obvious mistake is talking about “car bans” and “closing roads”. It’s entirely understandable that people run away with the idea that they won’t be able to drive a journey that they can only imagine themselves driving if you’re talking about a car ban. It’s understandable that people will assume that they won’t be able to access their own house — even if they are disabled, or have a van for work — when you tell them you want to close their road.

Not enough space to social distance? Cities should ban cars and make streets walk/bike only, argues @wordstoseeby https://t.co/CYHfzAkS3a pic.twitter.com/0PTdGWcObd

— CityMetric (@CityMetric) April 7, 2020

Bristol, to take just one of many examples, is working on pedestrianisation of a few more narrow shopping and cafe streets in the old city centre. Those streets were already very low traffic thanks to a clever system of opposing one way sections; 99.9% of residents of the city will never have driven on any of them anyway; and those who do have legitimate business doing so will still be able to get access. But somebody got overexcited and oversold what is happening as a “car ban”. Opponents were able to turn it into a scare story for suburbanites and a battle in some sort of culture war. But lots of people with no such malicious intent heard the words “city centre car ban” and had perfectly understandable questions about hospital access, people with mobility needs, and goods and trades. Questions with easy answers, but questions that wouldn’t have needed answering if the proposal had been described more accurately. The project’s going ahead, but a bunch of effort and political capital was wasted on what is really a very small and timid change, because it was sold as something radical.

Don’t try to convince people they can cycle

A subtly different manifestation of the same phenomenon can be found all over social media. Twitter these days has sadly transformed from being a network for discussing with friends and colleagues to being a place where strangers who don’t understand one another, because they have entirely different frames of reference, shout at eachother.

So a random on the internet hears about a “car ban” or a “road closure” and raises an objection.

“What about the disabled? What about the elderly?”

And they get bombarded with strangers telling them about the amazing people who cycled into their 90s, and the normal folk who happen to use bikes and trikes everyday as mobility aids because they have difficulty walking. Tweets pile in full of pictures of old people cycling on strange foreign Dutch cycle paths.

“What if I have to carry boxes of heavy tools and equipment to do my trade? What if I need to buy a washing machine? How will I do the weekly shop?”

And they get bombarded with strangers talking about cargo bikes and sharing pictures of fully loaded PedalMe trailers and washing machines on giant Dutch trikes. Tweets pile in full of people stuffing their panniers with the weekly shop, and talking about how cycling has reunited them with their local butcher and baker and they now make smaller shopping trips 3 times a week.

“What about the hills? What about the rain? How will I visit my distant relatives?”

All the questions and objections will be met by hundreds of strangers tweeting: actually, it’s fine, you can cycle, try it, you’ll surprise yourself. And they’re usually correct, but they are never going to convince anyone that cycling will be for them in a tweet.

When see these questions, because I’m a sarcastic twat who has the urge to wind up people I don’t like online as much as the next sarcastic twat, I want to reply:

Well what if I’m not elderly?

Well what if I don’t need to carry a fridge?

Well what if my journey isn’t to visit distant relatives?

(In the end, I don’t, because I know that to somebody with such an alien frame of reference, it would be interpreted as callous disregard for their needs, rather than as a commentary on their own disregard for the needs of others.)

Because the point we need to get across is that modal filters do not make any journey impossible. A modal filter doesn’t prevent driving for the elderly, the disabled, trades, goods, anyone else who has a legitimate need to drive, or for that matter, anyone who just has a preference for driving. “What about X?” What about it? Just continue doing what you do now, if you like. Chances are, your journey will be identical to how it is now, or at most, you’ll need to take a short detour that adds a minute to your journey.

What the filter does do is give people who aren’t elderly, don’t need to carry a fridge, and aren’t making a 250km journey, the option to not make their journey by car. They create choice for a lot of people, without taking any choice away from anybody.

So much of this discourse is people screaming about their choice being taken away from them, when the exact opposite is true. No option is being taken away from people. Nobody is being banned from driving by a bollard in a back street. But some people are being given an opportunity to make journeys by means other than a car, where previously that option just wasn’t realistic.

And yes, often the people doing the screaming are awful, entitled people who are inventing excuses, protecting their privilege, and pretending to care about the disabled and elderly people whose needs they don’t actually understand because they’ve never asked.

But just as often it’s people who have genuine questions, because they’ve heard that the council’s going to close their road, and that sounds an awful lot like they’re going to be banned from using their car. Piling in on them on twitter to tell them that, actually you can cycle with a disability, you can cycle with a fridge, you can cycle long distances, is only going to entrench their misunderstanding and their opposition.

Tell them it’s OK: they can still drive all their journeys. Nobody’s banning cars. Nobody’s closing the road. They’ll work out the cycling by themselves later.

@camdencyclists gospel oak filtering now in place pic.twitter.com/zbgbC0cJOl

— Stefano B (@StefanoBert) May 22, 2020

We're widening footpaths, installing modal filters, creating ‘pop up’ cycle lanes & school streets to help people in #Lewisham walk & cycle safely during COVID-19

To suggest changes to make your area friendlier for pedestrians & cyclists visit https://t.co/MFWIROjLVB pic.twitter.com/LtMh3pVwSO

— Cllr Sophie McGeevor (@SophieMcGeevor) May 4, 2020

Categories: Views

What to do NOW in the COVID crisis: Update 21st May 2020

Road Danger Reduction Forum - 21 May, 2020 - 13:10

A couple of days after the presentation on Brian Deegan’s #Ideaswithbeers Zoom session, I look at the prospects and continue the update of transport in the Covid crisis since the last update

GENERAL NEWS

* Shapps and free parking. 14th May. It looks like the Minister may be pushing for “free” car parking in town centres – not a good move for reducing car use!

* Johnson and obesity. There’s a report on the alleged comment by the Prime Minister here:
““I’ve changed my mind on this. We need to be much more interventionist,” Boris Johnson declared in a conversation last week with some of his most senior ministers and advisers. The subject: obesity.”
* Summary from Cycling UK on where we are.
* The key point to emerge in the last week is the delay in central Government telling UK Highway Authorities HOW to re-allocate road space and to apply for the funding to do so. See  Ruth Cadbury MPs question :
When will DfT publish their revised design guidance, and a report on the funding required for walking and cycling? “In due course”.
* In a letter from Minster Chris Heaton-Harris we learn:
The good news is the DfT is considering offering more cycle training for secondary school children and key workers. The bad news is no VAT cut on bikes and no grant for buying e-bikes” (APPCWG)
* And a Twitter Comment from Professor Phil Goodwin on the need to reduce numbers of cars being used:
The sums still don’t add up without substantial, improved, public transport. When it is safe to work, shop, educate etc again, it can also be safe to use public transport – not sensible or necessary to use virus to undermine buses and trains. Walk and cycle yes, but reduce cars.” @Phil_Goodwin99.
* Also read: Important research from CREDS on the importance of reducing car use.

The importance of being “car free” In the UK :

Birmingham

Birmingham is moving ahead


On 20th May Waseem Zaffar Cabinet Member – Transport & Environment writes to Shapps re-20mph for Birmingham City Council

Cardiff 

Cones in Cardiff

Not much joy in Edinburgh or Lancaster.

Liverpool Some “joy” here

Manchester

Deansgate scheme

The Deansgate (particle closure) to motor vehicles is implemented, but here is how to NOT put “protection” in on a cycle lane:

Oh dear

and there’s an interesting re-allocation on “Curry Mile” with a cycle lane in between footway space here

Curry Mile

Newcastle Steps forward here .

 

LONDON:

A successful campaignfor key workers is gathering momentum:

Three of the biggest NHS trusts in London – Barts Health, St George’s and Barking, Havering and Redbridge – on board as of 18th May.

And here is a key announcement from the Mayor:

“If we want to make transport in London safe, and keep London globally competitive, then we have no choice but to rapidly repurpose London’s streets for people” Mayor Khan 15th May.

Do read what’s possible here.

Car free central London

There’s an interesting graphic here – but do look in the bottom left hand corner to see that the area covered (where only a minority of travel is by car at the moment) is actually a small part of London. Some 10 miles of London’s 7,500 is covered – not that that has stopped taxi drivers and the Road Haulage Association from panicking with ill-informed prejudice in response.

TfL Park Lane

Park Lane stage one

This has received a lot of coverage as a “flagship” scheme by Transport for London – but as yet it only covers a part of one side of Park Lane.

Graphic: Simon Still

Brent.

Harlesden Town Centre

This is the kind of change appearing in various parts of London

City of London  Leading the way in various moves to reduce the dominance of motor vehicles.   Plans (20th May) 3 further streets for consideration

Greenwich


Interesting to see a lot of footway extension (and also pedestrian guard rail removal) as well as 20 mph introduction – but see how bad parking can impinge on the benefits.

Hackney .

Queensbridge Road

These cycle tracks already due for implementation finally went in, funnily enough just as the temporary filtered permeability (closure of one end of the road to motor vehicles) was installed.

Hammersmith and Fulham

Kensington and Chelsea

Even Kensington and Chelsea! (Click on photo for detail)

Lambeth
Here is the Twitter message from Councillor Claire Holland on what the pioneer Covid crisis road space re-allocation Borough in London is intending – worth a read to see what a Borough (with 330,000 population) is trying to do: @clairekholland 15th May

Following on from our emergency strategy published three weeks ago, today I have been able to agree @lambeth_council’s programme for the next six months. We’ve agreed to re-purpose c.£1.8m from our highways budget to deliver the baseline scenario. Using this funding, the programme sets out where and when, by August, we will deliver:
4 low traffic neighbourhoods /3 healthy routes incl. protected cycle lanes / 3 access-only roads /
6 more locations for pavement widening However, our plan goes much further…
If we are able to access emergency funding, in the ‘max’ scenario we are planning to implement LTNs across large swathes of @lambeth_council and build 8 temporary cycle tracks, alongside a raft of school streets, pavement widening and cycle training programmes
When you put that together with the @MayorofLondon’s unprecedented #StreetspaceLDN plan, we will have a transport network that enables people to move around safely; protects our communities from road danger and COVID-19 & helps Lambeth’s businesses recover as restrictions ease (emphasis is mine RD)

Merton has had campaigners pushing for road space re-allocation, but seems to be dragging its feet with a desire for (lengthy) consultation on filters which other Boroughs don’t seem to need .

Wandsworth Here’s an indication that even this strongly pro-driver Borough may be doing something positive:

Incidentally, do take a look at Chris Kenyon’s suggestions for their “Comms” team to do the messaging properly!:

  • Add people walking … it’s about healthy streets not bikes. 
  • Drop the grass – It’s about streets not parks.
  • Add panniers & baskets – it correctly reflects local shopping & economic benefits.
  • Minimum 50% of riders, no helmets.
  • Dutch style bikes.

So why are some London Councils (not all) apparently showing willing to enable socially distance walking and cycling?

The London Cycling Campaign blog suggestsThe :
“It is clear that any funding now coming from the Mayor and TfL will be likely to go to those boroughs getting on with this (the Streetspace for London approach, RD) approach. And it is being implied that those councils who do nothing may face the prospect of these approaches being delivered by the DfT or TfL despite their objections.”

CONCLUSION:

As in previous weeks it’s sometimes difficult to keep up with actual and proposed changes. What is clear is that levels of motor traffic are increasing again and the “window” for achieving change is closing. The need to campaign hard continues – some Councillors have not seen the Government guidance  HERE   with its REQUIREMENTS for re-allocating road space and need to be informed . You can go to Cycling UK and Living Streets web sites for forms to send to them, and do work with your local groups.

More next Tuesday on #Ideaswithbeers.

Remember, time is short.

 

Dr Robert Davis, 21st May 2020

 

Categories: Views

Cycling to the ‘Dutch Sahara’

BicycleDutch - 19 May, 2020 - 23:00
This is the fourth and final report of the longer rides I made on my free Wednesdays during the first month of the Corona crisis. After four such rides I … Continue reading →
Categories: Views

“…this should be a new golden age for cycling…”

Road Danger Reduction Forum - 13 May, 2020 - 17:57

Thus spoke Prime Minister Johnson in the House of Commons on 6th May 2020. Next day the )Minister for Transport announced a programme which appears to signal the best chance for genuine Governmental support for cycling and walking for the last few decades. Momentous if it is – and not before time. “Should” – but will it be? I look at the prospects and continue the update of transport in the Covid crisis


In the daily Government briefing on 6th May Robert Jenrick, the Communities Secretary, said “…we’re considering how we can create more room in town centres for pedestrians and make it easier to cycle or walk to work …” .
Then on 10th May we got the  “Encouraging cycling and walking” Press Release

And the announcement from Transport Minister Grant Shapps ( Video here). So let’s look at the main points here (comments in red are mine):

1. A national cycling and walking plan to be published in June. One was due anyway, but we may get some good detail.
2. Renewed commitment to double cycling and increase walking by 2025. The “commitment“ was already there. On a minor (perhaps cynical?) point, with fewer journeys being made, maintaining the same levels of walking and cycling would increase modal share.
3. £2bn for cycling and walking (from the £5bn funding pot for buses and cycling announced in February). Already announced – it’s not “new money”.
4. £250million emergency fund for instant pop-up schemes (pop-up bike lanes, wider pavements, cycle and bus-only streets). This is new and important.
5. A new national cycling and walking champion and inspectorate. This looks impressive – “inspectorate” has the ring of authority about it. However, we have been here before with an “inspectorate” Cycling England in 2000 – 2005. It wasn’t able to effect change as it had no powers: a proper inspectorate will need teeth.
6. Legal changes to protect vulnerable road users. It’s unclear what these might be. Yet to be announced.
7. At least one “zero-emission city,” with its centre restricted to bikes and electric vehicles.
8. The creation of a long-term cycling programme and budget, just like the budget for roads.
9. E-scooter trials around England, from June.
10. A voucher scheme for bike repairs and maintenance, and plans to boost bike fixing facilities. In my view this and associated measures to assist returners and newcomers to cycling, will be crucial. Details of this yet to be announced 13/05.
11. Much closer links with the NHS, with GPs prescribing cycling and exercise.

New signage

For commentary, I’d say it’s worth a look at the article by Carlton Reid here, and also the pessimistic assessment of what changes may be facilitated in changing the highway environment from “the Ranty Highwayman”. As the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cycling and Walking said: “The most significant announcement in the new fast-track statutory guidance published today and effective immediately, is that councils are required to cater for significantly increased numbers of cyclists and pedestrians by reallocating roadspace, and that the government can take control of highways powers from councils that don’t comply.”

I’d go with Chris Boardmans comments to Cycling Weekly:

“‘…we have never seen anything like this before…More important than cash, the government has given cycling as a mode of transport a new status, not for ideological reasons but for practical ones, it’s the most logical solution to short-term problems and then, if we choose, it’ll help us tackle long-term ones,”

“Wording in the announcement was strong, unequivocal and backed up by legislation with similarly clear wording for councils. We have never seen anything like this before, it is a step-change in the Government’s position that should not be underestimated,”

I think we are at a crossroads. I really don’t know which way it’s going to go. But this is the first time it has ever been a real choice, and that’s progress“. (my emphasis).

Note that last paragraph!

I do agree with the view of Chris Boardman – this is an unparalleled time for the walking and cycling agenda in this country – but the UK is moving less well at those “crossroads” than some other European countries. We have an ingrained legacy of prejudice against cycling and any perceived (let alone actual) questioning of the role of the private car. What is certain is that professionals and campaigners need to be working hard at this time for the sustainable and active travel agenda.

*****************************************************************************
Apart from the big announcement, the other news since  the last update is below:

The UK

“Go to work in a car or, even better, by bicycle,” Prime Minister 10th May

There is an interesting survey of Councils by Labour Cycles’ Chris Kenyon; a new guide for highway authorities by Urban Design Group FAST URBAN CHANGE FOR LIFE-SAVING STREETS . Here there is a plea to not reinforce bad highway characteristics in “pop-up” schemes

Let’s have a quick look at schemes that have appeared around the country:

Brighton – a mandatory cycle lane with the usual problems of painted cycle lanes.

Note lane running out at refuge

Cambridge During the meeting with the ‘M9’ group of UK mayors,it was reported that both Boris Johnson and the communities secretary, Robert Jenrick, emphasised the need to promote cycling and walking after the lockdown is lifted, avoiding the dangers of increased congestion and air pollution from increased car traffic.

Liverpool https://t.co/E4n0hVeVmJ?amp=1This is the moment for every community to rethink; not just the city centre but our local high streets” 100 km. of bike lanes promised

Manchester

Princess Street

First impressions are of “something definite”, but locals refer to low levels of walking at this location.

OxfordTemporarily reallocating road space (through road closures, traffic light controlled one-way streets, and wider pavements) to allow people to walk and cycle safely into and around Oxford” 11th May. The Mayor tweeted:” Having cycled through town to shop yesterday, I am more aware than ever that we can’t go back to normal after this crisis. In Oxford, future traffic planning must revolve around walking and cycling with supportive public transport. Now is the time to plan for the future.” 08.05

Urmston, Greater Manchester

Not really, no…

Roadspace re-allocation really needs to be a lot more than some cones outside a chip shop!

LONDON

The good news in this survey  :61% of Londoners plan to walk/cycle more post lockdown. More worryingly, 53% of Londoners plan to drive more post lockdown. On 6th May the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan formally launched the “Streetspace” programme #StreetspaceLDN.  Euston Road and Park Lane were announced as locations for flagship temporary cycle lanes:

“The journey to a greener London will be made by foot and by bike.” Sadiq Khan

Again from the Mayor:
London’s road to recovery cannot be clogged with cars.
Together with councils, we’re already rapidly creating new cycle lanes and space for people walking.
From Hackney to Hounslow, Pimlico to Putney, great to see support from Londoners for #StreetspaceLDN.” 8th May.

However, at the same time drivers are being subsidised by suspension of the charges in the Congetsion Charge and ULEZ zones

This is what the London Cycling Campaign say London Cycling Campaign say London Cycling Campaign say:

A “radical” plan?
Norman (the Mayor’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner RD) has called the emergency “Streetspace Plan” “radical” and “unparalleled in a city London’s size”, so theoretically topping Paris’ 650km of emergency cycle track plans and proposals to close major roads such as Rue de Rivoli to motor traffic.
The plan also pledges TfL will work with boroughs on town centres, shopping streets and “low traffic neighbourhoods”. This will be key. TfL’s congestion charge and ULEZ are currently suspended, and we understand that it could take up to three months (but see the estimate of three weeks above RD) to reinstate these from any point when the Mayor decides to do so.
With motor traffic rates rising daily at the moment, any chance of enabling more people to cycle and walk now hangs in the balance.

There is also the critical question of payment for temporary schemes. While “pop-ups” are a lot cheaper than normal highway schemes, funding is required and Transport for London is in a very poor financial situation. The funding announced for the UK excludes London, and at the time of writing (13th May) nothing has been announced for London by central Government.

London Boroughs

TfL and Lambeth

Extended footway at bus stop, Brixton

TfL and Royal Borough of Greenwich   “widening footpaths in town centres and around Greenwich Park filtering more residential streets to reduce through traffic, creating more School Streets bringing forward plans for the Greenwich to Woolwich cycle route

City of London
Here’s the plan for the Square Mile plan for the Square Mile plan for the Square Mile to be discussed be discussed be discussed on 14th May:

Croydon

Lancaster Road

Enfield

Lane defenders installed on A1010 (already programmed scheme)
LB Enfield have an interesting programme to support key workers

Hackney
Following the national announcement on 9th May, LB Hackney are pushing ahead with a programme of filtered permeability (closing ends of some streets to motor vehicles)

Even City of Westminster are “looking to aim higher” on Air Quality.

++++++++++++++++++++++

Meanwhile in Paris…

I’ll be updating again next week. Let’s hope we move across the crossroads in the right direction!

(A shorter version of the piece above is on You Tube here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUgW7nNTGM8&feature=youtu.be  from 46.20 in Brian Deegan’s weekly #Ideaswithbeers Zoom session)

Dr Robert Davis 13th May 2020

Categories: Views

A grade-separated roundabout in Rosmalen

BicycleDutch - 12 May, 2020 - 23:00
The on-going pandemic still forces me to stay as close to home as possible, which limits my blog post topics. But I do trust many of you will find this … Continue reading →
Categories: Views

testing text

Road Danger Reduction Forum - 11 May, 2020 - 22:29

Try one or more sites

Categories: Views

DCE Joins California eConsulate Webinar

Dutch Cycling Embassy - 7 May, 2020 - 06:29

DCE Director Lucas Harms joins webinar organized by the Netherlands Consulate in San Francisco.

Categories: News

DCE Joins California eConsulate Webinar

Dutch Cycling Embassy - 7 May, 2020 - 06:29

DCE Director Lucas Harms joins webinar organized by the Netherlands Consulate in San Francisco.

Categories: News

Ride along to a nature reserve

BicycleDutch - 5 May, 2020 - 23:00
Some European countries are just starting to relax the rules on being out and about. In the Netherlands we were fortunate enough to be allowed to go out for fresh … Continue reading →
Categories: Views

Transport in the time of COVID-19: Update 05/05/2020

Road Danger Reduction Forum - 5 May, 2020 - 14:27

This update is to be presented at Brian Deegan’s #Ideaswithbeers Zoom session on 5th May  2020. Please see the original here and last update

Things to read
  • This is a wonderful read on Covid-19 and Climate Change
  •  A very good and cautious piece by Damian Carrington on air quality and the corona virus.
  •  Not surprising to see an interesting piece by Tom Vanderbilt.
  •  One of the best things to read on where we are now and what we should be doing – everything from caps on taxis, through to reducing private car use. Michael Liebreich, Chairman of Liebreich Associates, Founder and Senior Contributor of Bloomberg NEF, ex-TFL Board Member – a hard-headed business person if ever there was one points how we  “must promote active travel and micro-mobility, not as a nice-to-have for sustainability or health reasons, but as a public priority in order to keep cities moving and to enable robust economic activity.
  •  A thread in which Chris Kenyon refers to the need for a strategic approach – we can’t just have bits and pieces. Important!
  • Who gets bailed out? See this.
  • Worth reading this just for this quote:  “The most harmful and self-defeating reaction to these constraints would be people returning to their cars – something we emphatically don’t want. It would entrench inequality, as nearly half of London’s households don’t own one, and it would be disastrous for air quality, carbon emissions and public health. We can’t replace one public health crisis with another, be that one borne of obesity or pollution.
Things to do Things that are happening abroad

I’m not spending time on this – we all know that a lot is happening in Berlin, Lima, Paris and throughout France, Brussels etc., although it’s not always good – dos ee the details and what’s happening in terms of car use NOT ebing restricted even if space is being made elsewhere for pedestrians and cyclists.

But a lot is happening: even in the poorest country in Europe with few resources, Tirana is making an effort, as the Mayor says: “Nëse nuk e shfrytëzojmë këtë moment, për të krijuar më shumë hapësira socializimi për #çiklizëm & #ecje për të luftuar #VirusCorona”.

Check @MikeLydon for international updates + @citycyclists for national ones as well.

Things that are happening in the UK
  • Clean Air Zones in Leeds, Birmingham and Manchester have been put on the shelf – don’ forget the bad news.
  •  York: York’s first pop up bike lane is now signed – taking over narrow traffic lane on inner ring road for bikes and allow pedestrians to social distance passing each other.

  • Leicester: Key workers corridor near hospital.
  • Wirral: King’s parade in New Brighton will be closing to cars from Monday 4th, between Harrison Dr and the Clown roundabout. It hasn’t been implemented in the way originally envisaged – some objections from Councillors have restricted it.
  •  SCOTLAND:  Here’s a pop-up floating bus stop!

LONDON BOROUGHS

Camden: Footway extension:

Camden High Street: Road belonging to Transport for London

and how not to do it:

Kilburn High Road, social distancing keeping pedestrians apart on footway but not taking away carriageway space:

Croydon: Cllr. Stuart King: “Pleased to announce emergency plans to reduce road danger during lockdown. We’ll be suspending parking at locations in London Rd & Portland Rd to allow temp widening of footway to support social distancing. More locations under consideration. ..we will start closing a number of rat runs to help reduce motor traffic in residential roads. Fewer vehicles makes for safer walking and cycling …We will also introduce a cycle lane in London Rd from Thornton Heath pond and West Croydon to help key workers & others travel to Mayday @CUH_NHS Additional signage going in to encourage greater adherence to speed limits.”

Parking bays barriered off in Croydon

Hackney:

Chatsworth Road footway extension         +      Broadway Market filters

Lambeth (see last update for it’s Borough wide plan)

Herne Hill footway extension

Lewisham: Cllr. Sophie McGeevor: “… widening footpaths, installing modal filters, creating ‘pop up’ cycle lanes & school streets to help people in #Lewisham walk & cycle safely.”

Richmond: “…building an “post-Covid transport action plan” to “make sure that active travel… remain and improve as options within our borough” .  

Southwark:

 Rye Lane footway extension

Tower Hamlets:  Council promises to take away. a section of Old Ford Road near Victoria Park will be temporarily closed to motor vehicles to aid social distancing 4th May.

 

Announcements!

The Prime Minister:…was talking about taking the opportunity to push clean, green travel, active travel, cycling infrastructure and getting cars off the road,” Mayor of North of Tyne May 2nd.

The Minister for Transport:  Important announcement to come from Grant Shapps MP on measures to support Active Travel as we come out of lockdown. It has been delayed until later in the week…

The Mayor of London:Quieter roads and fewer jet planes have made for a more pleasant environment. Londoners will rightly demand neighbourhoods that permanently work for walking and cycling, and a renewed drive to address the climate emergency.”

The Mayor of London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman #StreetspaceLDN  May 1st 2020 wrote:

“With public transport capacity reduced dramatically when restrictions area eased, up to eight million journeys a day will need to be made by other means. If just a fraction switch to cars, London will grind to a halt, choking our economic recovery. That’s why @MayorOfLondon& @tfl are developing a Streetspace Plan to fast track changes to enable millions more people to safely walk and cycle. We’ll repurpose traffic lanes (1) & parking spaces (2) for temporary cycle lanes & widen footways for safe social distancing.(3)
We will quickly build a strategic cycling network (4)with temporary materials, create new routes(5) to reduce crowding on underground lines, alter traffic lights to reduce crossing times, restrict roads to buses & bikes (6) at certain times of the day.·(7)”  (my numbering)

  1. I would have preferred “general traffic lanes” – but the point is to repurpose lanes, which is good.
  2.  Taking car parking spaces away is a bold move – although Paris has been emphasising its commitment to it.
  3.  Excellent – what we need.
  4.  The devil will be in the detail here – how much will be covered by this “strategic” network…
  5. …and the “new routes”.
  6.  Another good move…
  7. ..although this can be confusing and limiting.

Dr Robert Davis, Chair, RDRF 5th May 2020

 

Categories: Views

A huge transformation in ʼs-Hertogenbosch

BicycleDutch - 28 April, 2020 - 23:00
The current crisis, with the stay at home policy, forced me to be inventive in finding topics for new blog posts. That is why I browsed through my vast archive … Continue reading →
Categories: Views

Transport in the time of COVID-19: What we need to do NOW UPDATE 28th April

Road Danger Reduction Forum - 28 April, 2020 - 16:52

Below is a copy of slides presented to Brian Deegan’s “Bikes with Beers” Zoom session today 5 pm:

Transport in the time of COVID-19: Update 28/04/2020 – 6th week lockdown

See https://rdrf.org.uk/2020/04/11/transport-in-the-time-of-the-coronavirus-crisis-what-we-need-to-do-now/ and the update up until a week ago
https://rdrf.org.uk/2020/04/20/transport-in-the-time-of-the-coronavirus-crisis-what-we-need-to-do-now-update-20th-april/

SLIDE ONE

 

Stuff to read

Ranty:  https://therantyhighwayman.blogspot.com/2020/04/rush-job.html

Mark Strong:   https://t.co/7ajX64lsEd?amp=1 (Ranty thinks: Looks like a good summary to me, but they’ve missed S65(1) which I’d argue would include a cycle track to be created with cones, barriers etc.)

Adrian Lord: https://t.co/lXOcGhyGSu?amp=1 “That’s an excellent roundup of the situation and a good cross reference to policy. I’m wondering if the Minister could make a statement to confirm that S14(1) RTRA1984 would be reasonable to use to mitigate “danger” ..”

SLIDE TWO

 

Stuff to DO!

Cycling UK https://www.cyclinguk.org/blog/why-we-need-more-space-cycling-and-walking-during-lockdown
Living Streets https://e-activist.com/page/59487/action/1?ea.tracking.id=hp
Transport Action Network https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/stop-largest-ever-roads-programme/
House of Commons Transport Committee
https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/153/transport-committee/news/146118/committee-invites-contributions-on-impact-of-coronavirus-on-uk-transport/
+ thank your local roads and traffic police when they try to cut road danger!!!!!!!

SLIDE THREE

 

Stuff that’s happening abroad

Some roads and walkways across Auckland will change as we roll out new initiatives to assist with safe physical distancing moving into Alert Level 3. By Tuesday 27th , 17km of temporary cycle space will be installed across the city!
Barcelona is taking space from cars. 21km new bike lanes. 12km additional pedestrian space.
Brussels Reyerslaan is redesigned, the parking lane makes way for a new cycle path.
Paris will fast-track a regional plan, adding 403.8 mi. (650 km) of bikeways (the most yet). Many will be delivered with temporary materials before May 11th when the city re-opens. The plan requires 72% of on-street parking to be removed.
Lima 300 kms bike lane.
FRANCE: 1 region, 3 departments, 15 cities announce plans for temporary bike lanes
Check @MikeLydon for international updates

SLIDE FOUR

 

Stuff that’s happening in the UK (1.)

Cambridge Another “looking at” https://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/local-news/cambridgeshire-council-looking-at-possibility-18148240
Ipswich: Suffolk County Council closing Waterfront to cars.
London. Much awaited announcement from Will Norman last Thursday, details still to come…
Leicester: Key workers corridor near hospital
Manchester. Chris Boardman and Mayor met on Friday. Traffic signals have been changed to reduce waiting time. Great enthusiasm for Leaders who attended the meeting to ensure people not travelling by car are protected. From what I’ve seen so far, some solid measures being planned for imminent action.
SCOTLAND: £10 million available for pop-up bike lanes and footway extensions
Wirral: We are aware of the potential for utilising other roadspace for sustainable modes temporarily during the current Covid-19 restrictions. Whilst we consider that this would be difficult to achieve on the highway network for a variety of reasons, we will continue to review this.  We will be monitoring other areas who may move forward to do this, as at the present time there are very few which have actually implemented anything significant. (Update 28/04 – they do now appear to be “looking” in a more focussed way)

LONDON BOROUGHS
Lambeth 24.04 @clairekholland emergency plans to reduce road danger & enable safe social distancing We face an emergency on our streets with spiralling speeds & lack of space to socially distance. We will widen pavements for pedestrians at some of our busiest pinch points. We will make interventions in our neighbourhoods that reduce road danger whilst connecting our town centres with safe routes to enable social distancing & safe access to our amazing local businesses. We will make improvements to cycleway 5 to make it safer… As restrictions are lifted we will mitigate against rat running & congestion as car use increases. More details on the specifics to follow this week.
Hammersmith and Fulham 22nd April https://twitter.com/CHAIRRDRF/status/1252997250760007683 First footway extensions. King St. and A4020
Ealing A small footway extension outside Lidl’s taking half a loading bay.
Lewisham ETOs for filtered permeability?
Wandsworth LCC sent a letter to lead for Transport and got a positive reply
Tower Hamlets removing tactical urbanism

SLIDE FIVE

Stuff that’s happening in the UK (2.)

As from last night (27.04.2020) first HA in UK to have an overall programme of changes is LB Lambeth:
See https://moderngov.lambeth.gov.uk/ieDecisionDetails.aspx?ID=6585 
You have to read the detail in Appendix 1. yourself but note:

The cost of make the recommended borough wide traffic order is £3.5K.
£75K allocated (small beer for highways expenditure, great if you can get recognisable change)
Some stuff about “where space allows” …
Writing to TfL for support on “it’s” roads + recommended change to CC etc. zones.
Don’t expect massive changes and they happen in phases, so mid-May before the more noticeable ones – but this is something which includes a number of changes needed and is Borough wide. And it’s the first HA in the UK to do this as we go into 6th week of lockdown
SLIDE SIX

Thanks to Danny Williams and others finding out about developments

 

 

 

 

SLIDE FOUR

Categories: Views

Dutch Cycling Vision Now Available in Arabic

Dutch Cycling Embassy - 28 April, 2020 - 08:51

The Dutch Cycling Embassy is proud to announce the release of the Arabic version of the Dutch Cycling Vision.

Categories: News

Dutch Cycling Vision Now Available in Arabic

Dutch Cycling Embassy - 28 April, 2020 - 08:51

The Dutch Cycling Embassy is proud to announce the release of the Arabic version of the Dutch Cycling Vision.

Categories: News

Cycling in a forest of a nature reserve

BicycleDutch - 21 April, 2020 - 23:00
With the obligation to stay home as much as possible and the urgent advice to only use public transport for important jobs I am not able or allowed to use … Continue reading →
Categories: Views

Transport in the time of the Coronavirus crisis: what we need to do NOW. UPDATE 20th April

Road Danger Reduction Forum - 21 April, 2020 - 00:21

The previous post has received an unusually high number of views for the RDRF site – this backs up our view that this is a crucial time for transport professionals and campaigners to be active. Please read the post if you haven’t as I am adding on developments using the same format.

1. Keep informed and educated. There is a lot to read and discuss with colleagues:
(a) Some of this is “normal” transport news, relating to pre- lockdown.

There’s not much new here, although you might want to see the conclusions of Professor Glenn Lyons report on “driverless cars”

(b) Some of the news is COVID-19-related, referring to changes due to reductions in motor traffic.

E.g David Hembrow’s take :

The main areas of interest have been:

Air Quality (AQ): Better air quality is referred to here  by the ECF. This study Is on PM2.5s and COVID-19 ” A small increase in long-term exposure to PM2.5 leads to a large increase in COVID-19 death rate, with the magnitude of increase 20 times that observed for PM2.5 and all-cause mortality. The study results underscore the importance of continuing to enforce existing air pollution regulations to protect human health both during and after the COVID-19 crisis” but the connection could be correlation not causation – it does seem likely that it is nothing more than a population density issue. Another study links NO2 to COVID-19 .

Road Danger Reduction: Focus on the issue of “ultra-speeding” continues.

Picking on “out groups”: Regrettably cyclists continue to be targeted by unscrupulous photographers creating a false impression of close positioning with telephoto lenses. By comparison, there has been little or no focus on drivers not using their vehicles for necessary or permitted purposes.

(c.) Some of the news is about the long term: “When it is over”.

Take a look at this and this article.
Also this piece.
And this on climate change .

And a repeat of a relevant cartoon.

(c) Repurposing the street environment.

All discussed below…

 

2. Push for genuine support for Active Travel – General

I repeat these points:

It is of the utmost importance that we defend the rights to walk, run and cycle for exercise. This is a public health crisis and keeping mental and physical health is crucial. Lack of the health benefits derived from walking, running and cycling are not just important in the long term, but well before then. Exaggerating the risks of cycling – “dangerising” it – is a staple of anti-cycling ideology.

Discussion about abuse of social distancing rules in open spaces and parks should not just involve investigating ways of getting compliance with the rules in such spaces (as it should), but on securing roads and streets with sufficient space to travel actively while maintaining social distance.”

Some obstacles. There are ways in which cycling could be properly supported here, but are not:
A. Provision of 1:1 cycle training to give confidence to returning cyclists. In London there are cycle trainers available whose schools/group training sessions have been cancelled, who could give properly distanced training. But because instructors are not classed as “key workers”, Transport for London cannot give the go ahead for this .My understanding is that loss of revenue from public transport is making TfL reluctant or unable to fund initiatives like this. This is something that central Government should address.
Do note that in the official Government guidance 

“Key Workers” includes: “…those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response.” This could include cycle trainers, and certainly any workers needed for temporary/emergency measures on the highway.

B. Problems with bike theft for some NHS workers have received publicity on social media – this can be addressed by provision of secure and convenient cycle parking. There are developments in Enfield – but not elsewhere.There are difficulties with checking roadworthiness of unused bikes being pulled out of storage – but bike shops and cycle trainers can deal with this. I would have thought that Government could assist by financing socially-distanced Dr Bike sessions to assist returners to cycling. One development is this in Manchester .
C. General advice to returners to cycling. The cycling charities are trying to do this – but why should it be left to charities?
D. Secure and convenient cycle parking at home. Installing this requires local Government support and funding.

The one positive development apart from the London Mayor offering free  Santander hire bike use for NHS workers) in assisting key workers has come from cycling charities led by Sustrans.

3. Push for genuine support for Active Travel – Re-allocation of road space

This is so far the UK Government’s big failure.

Reducing road space available to motor vehicles in general and cars/vans in particular is required for the following reasons.

A. General carriageway narrowing. Reducing the amount of road space available to drivers is necessary to cut the ultra-speeding. Replicating the conditions of higher congestion intensity should also help to make drivers more careful. No new developments

B.  Temporary/emergency separated cycle lanes could be installed to protect key workers and others who are taking up cycling, as well as those who already cycle. I understand that there are concerns that simply installing such lanes could lead cyclists into a “false sense of confidence” when arriving at junctions. Junctions may well need more complex engineering and re-phasing of signals, but I would have thought that addressing this issue properly should not be impossible. My understanding is that last week one London Council is looking at achieving this with water-filled barriers, cones and possibly mini-planters.

C. Numerous posts on social media point out the difficulties of social distancing on excessively narrow footways. Why not emergency extension of footways at this time? One development is the DIY extension reported in the last post in Richmond-upon-Thames. Another one has appeared in Barnes, again without the Council being involved.

Barnes, London SW13

C. Filtered permeability to be rolled out. No new developments. There may be the obstacle that if changes to the highway are done under legislation relating to “temporary” measures that bollards cannot be installed. I would have thought that this matter could be addressed successfully. I understand that Hackney Council is considering rolling out existing programmes now.

Required signage is easily available

D. Changing pedestrian crossing light phasing to make crossing more convenient. I am unaware of any changes occurring in the UK. London Living Streets has listed this as one of the measures needed.

Let’s look at other countries first to get an idea of what we should be aiming for:

What’s happening in other countries?

The best thing to do is to check out the spreadsheet complied by Mike Lydon of Street Plans here.

I have picked up the following:
Berlin See the previous post: one of the few major cities in the world moving forward.

Brussels has re programmed traffic lights to give cars less green time and longer crossing times for pedestrians. (13/04/2020)
Dublin
Removing loading bays & parking spaces to provide more space for : Oracs & bollards installed to protect these spaces ; Counter flow cycle lane will be installed on Nassau Street.
FRANCE:
The following areas have committed to some sort of re-purposing of street space (in chronological order)
Montpellier: April 13th
Ville de Paris
Le Département de Seine-Saint-Denis
La ville de Montreuil: April 14th
Grenoble
Renne: 15th April
Lyons
Nantes: 16th
Rueuil Malmaison
Toulouse
Lille on 18th
Bordeaux
Val de Marne: 19th

(see the tweets from @M_Chassignet to keep up with development

NEW ZEALAND

The relevant Minister , Julie-Ann Genter, announced on April 11th: “People need more space to move safely. Govt will provide funding for 90% of the cost to councils to roll out pop-up cycleways & footpath extensions after we move out of Alert level 4. Councils can apply to NZTA now.”

New York  75 miles of covid open streets to go ahead. 18th April
Ottawa’s response is to, er, make more free street parking and change signal timing to make driving faster.

 

What’s happening in the UK?

The most important development – despite the optimistic raising of expectations in pieces like this  is just how little is being done.

On 14th April the Government released “Traffic Regulation Orders – Covid19 Guidance”  .
This has led to the idea expressed in this headline: Coronavirus: Banning cars made easier to aid social distancing.

It is, however, quite misleading. As Professor John Parkin states: “Don’t get over excited. All it does us reinterpret guidance on advertising TTROs, basically saying that for the time being they need not be advertised in the printed press, so long as other measures are taken as well to ensure good advertisement. We need much more than this.” And for the detail see this post  for how little difference it actually makes.

So lets see what has been done and might be on the way:
Birkenhead: Mersey Travel To assist key workers making essential journeys cross river, the Queensway (Birkenhead) Tunnel will temporarily be open to cyclists (14th April) although it already is outside rush hour and tolls for motors are suspended.
Brighton: This could be the first official restriction on motor vehicles in the UK because of COVID-19 (but see Portsmouth) . This is due to the hard work (on a voluntary basis) informing the local Highway Authority by Mark Strong of consultancy Transport Initiatives.

Madeira Drive from 20th April.

Bristol: Some DIY activists amended junctions at Avon Crescent/Cumberland Rd junction, and on Smeaton Road, blocking one lane – emergency vehicle permeable. Barriers removed by Council 15th April.

Two Bristol junctions unofficially amended

Cardiff :  20mph limit, restricted parking and a one way system to discourage trips by car in a key location. But this is still only at a park and “for exercise” as opposed to facilitating walking and cycling as modes of transport.
Glasgow: The relevant Councillor is “actively looking” at measures to re-allocate space for walking and cycling.
Manchester: Tib Street central Manchester has had two coned off lanes for walking/cycling.
I give you this quote from Chris Boardman: “ If you want people to stay apart and not use public transport, we have no choice but to protect, prioritise and enable those not driving.” That’s a quite we should be stating repeatedly to those in power.
And another one as he’s always worth listening to: “It’s particularly heartening to see these measures being implemented by the people who live there, telling us this is how they want their street to be.”
Portsmouth: Maybe the first road closure in the UK during COVID-19:  Seafront road is now closed at weekends as too many people were congregating, rather than to facilitate walking and cycling.
Richmond upon Thames (London) Barnes High Street SW13 The people involved say: ” Responding to public feedback, we’ve expended this initiative to other shopping parades. Cones have been moved a number of times to allow parking for blue budge holders. The Council are aware of the measures we’ve taken to allow residents to respect government guidelines.”

 

Policing

I’ll simply refer you to the previous post on this urgent matter as there have been no major changes since then. I still have concerns about some of the messaging – in our view road crime such as “ultra-speeding” is wrong and needs countering not because it can lead to extra strain being put on the NHS, but because it is dangerous crime threatening other people. Also, don’t forget to thank your local roads and traffic police when they are trying hard to stop road crime.
+++++++++

I can’t stress enough the need to push for genuine support for Active Travel at this time as part of a long term strategy for active and sustainable transport in the UK.

So far the UK’s record has been very poor. Hence the need for this letter, from cycling and walking organisations and a leading NHS trust, to the relevant Minister.

(Click on image to enlarge)

I understand an announcement will be made shortly by the Mayor of London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner. So let’s hope for something happening this week. If we don’t start to see changes very soon the future looks bleak.

Couple in Oxford Circus Sunday 19th April 2020

Dr Robert Davis April 21st 2020

(Apologies for any inaccuracies – this is a rapidly changing world at the moment.Thanks to all those posting information)

 

 

Categories: Views

Pages

Subscribe to Cycling Embassy of Great Britain aggregator