Monday 8 July 2013

Spoke and Wheel Cycle Route Plan

Regular readers will be aware I'm naturally cautious around Cambridge Cycling Campaign. Their support for schemes like Gilbert Road, for example, means that we'll be faced with bad facilities for decades to come. It took a hell of a push by cyclists outside of the committees of the Campaign to reverse Councillors awful choice to treat cyclists trying not to die in that vicinity as anything other than criminals, and we can attribute part of that to councillors viewing children still too scared to use the improved facility there as antisocial.

But they come up with some good stuff. Their position on the woeful scheme at the Catholic Church Junction was pretty near spot on

This is another excellent example. Lets actually plan a cycle network. Not just the odd lane here linking two places that don't need linking. Not just one good route linked to other good routes by junctions so heinous councillors are left scratching their heads that the number of cyclists here hasn't much gone up. Lets plan this properly - with radial and orbital routes. Or, to risk sounding catchy, lets call them spokes and wheels.

You need spokes so folk can get to the city rapidly and safely. These are the prime ways in for commuting and out to get into the villages. Then there are wheels to take you around the city safely and rapidly - please quit asking me to navigate a labyrinth of back streets or badly surfaced off-road routes in the sticks to stay safe. The 'wheels' should be at various points distant from the city centre - from one mile up to perhaps 12 miles away. Then you can pick a route thats more or less direct and safe from anywhere to anywhere. Give me quality infrastructure thats well labelled, well surfaced and wide enough to ride on and I'll be happy.

Will it happen? Well, the problem I think we'll face is that our county thinks that its £16million in 5 years spend on cycling is impressive. It thinks nothing of wasting cycle safety money on junctions re-designed with the sole intention of keeping motorists happy - so even this £16million figure is dubious. So will they adopt this eminently sensible approach? I doubt it.

Seriously, a county council who don't automatically include cycling in existing road re-design projects, who can't even put cycling first where there are injury hotspots? Why would they back a plan like this? What room is there for cycling strategy when there appears to be lack of general transport strategy?

I dunno. Call me a cynic, but isn't this the kind of legacy that our County should leap on board with? Whats the betting that the actual legacy will be some cruddy little 'look out for cyclists' signs on the actual TdF route?

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