There are times when its really hard to know how to start a blog post.
This is not one of them. The stupid is strong here, I don't have to qualify any statements with anything
Greater Cambridge City Deal, have pissed away about half a million quid on consultations, consultants, visulisations and modelling for upgrading Milton Road. The models, incidentally, don't include cyclists except as an inconvenience that might slow cars down. The result of this comical ineptitude (in a city where half of the people here cycle) is that plans for what to do for cycling on Milton Road vary from inconvenient to actively dangerous. Oh, and part of the brief for councillors and attendees at meetings with the consultants who came out with this crap is that no one disses the consultants. Yeah, thats right, despite the fact they've taken heaps of cash for producing something crap, you're not allowed to go to meetings and tell them that this is shit.
I'm not even kidding. I'm not even exaggerating,
Here's the PDF of their presentation thing, only click on it if you want to download pages of bumf as well as useful images.
But just look at this crap.
Seriously? Trees aren't lollipops with narrow stick like trunks and neat canopies, growing happily through tarmac with no earth around them and no roots growing outwards, ever. The cycle-lane seems to be an undulator, presumably going up, and down, up, and down with each driveway - and thats going on on the other side of the road there? Looks narrower than I am.
Bugger it, I was going to go through several of the junctions and say why they're on the whole not good enough for cycling (so not good enough to encourage anyone out of their cars and on to bikes) but I can't be arsed. Short version - if you don't consider cyclists valid road users, which would be the only reason not to be abundantly apologetic for presenting a shit model that excludes us, then you won't get junction design right for cycling. There aren't real Dutch roundabouts among the more favoured plans and we're seeing a variety of cycle lanes from well protected segregated through to shared use, rather than a single, useful, straight forward, segregated route in each direction. Lessons from Hills Road haven't been learned, what we're looking at is, as a whole, crap. And we're paying through the nose for this crap to be drawn, re-drawn, and re-drawn again.
City Deal has proved itself unable to deliver landscaping as part of a road regeneration scheme. They see landscaping as something to do a bodge job at the end, they don't care for local ecology, aesthetics or planting culture and they take an extremely broad view of what consultation questions can be stretched to mean. If we're going to get Milton Road not only made safer for cycling but more efficient for all road users and landscaped such that it isn't visibly an urban motorway, is we want an interesting and diverse tree-scape rather than just whatever crap thats big enough that they can buy at the last minute we need to start looking to see what can be grown now. You want mature trees replanted? How many species of such do you think can be bought, in number, at the last minute? Oh, you haven't looked at that yet? Its almost too late already.
So I invite Milton Road Residents Association, Milton Road Alliance and whoever else gives a crap - do you want to get a good resolution that can be sold to all parties? Lets start talking about what tree species we want. Lets start now. I've got ideas on what trees could be used, and means to turn this into not only a great route for riding but a truly world class tree-scape.