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Wednesday, 17 September 2014
Piss-poor @SurreyCouncil Infrastructure

In addition to the observations in the video, I would like to add the following points.  It appears that Surrey County Council create cycle lanes either as a tokenistic gesture, perhaps an afterthought, or for the (perceived) convenience of motor vehicles.

In the first case it appears that the cycle lanes are tokenistic gestures, because they are not properly integrated into the road plan. They are intermittent and don’t provide ubiquitous coverage. They don’t even provide coverage in the places where they are most needed, only where they seem to be easy to “bolt on” to a road that appears to be designed singularily for another purpose.  And yet originally, the roads were not designed for cars.

In the second case, the fact that the cycle paths appear and disappear at whim, or direct cyclists onto the pavement (where they can cause problems for others, or get into conflict with parked cars) indicates that the cycle lane might be designed not for the cyclists’ benefit but for what Surrey County Council perceives to be in the best interest of the only road user that they are considering (the driver).  In the example in the video, it appears (by the way it veers off towards the school) that the cycle lane is designed for school children at the local school to get to school safely?  But then it is not fit for purpose, because it is clearly not designed around their safety? Who would want their primary school going children to use this cycle lane? Furthermore, why is there no cycle lane for school children coming from the other direction? What this simply too inconvenient for Surrey County Council?

Now Surrey County Council have a transport strategy  that states it wants to encourage more people to use bicycles and to walk, rather than use their cars.  It is not clear whether this is anything more than nice words, because they appear to lack the vision to implement this effectively.  They propose to develop cycling infrastructure in a piecemeal fashion as they secure specific funding for this (e.g. from central government).  However the above is a clear example where money (residents’ resource) is actually being spent, but it has just been wasted on infrastructure that is simply not fit for purpose: Such infrastructure will not encourage more people to cycle. As I think the video indicates, the “cycle infrastructure” may actually make things worse for cyclists in some respects.

I should also note that ironically, proper cycle routes can actually improve traffic flow.  Therefore if Surrey Council were to build proper cycling infrastructure (not the kind that they are fond of) they might actually achieve something close to what they tell us they want (more safe cyclists), and what they appear to really really want (convenience for drivers).

Posted by bigblue on 17/09/2014 at 06:56 PM
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