Monday, 22 July 2013

If you can't cycle it, then it ain't a cycling route

I've been reading the local council's published proposal and funding bid for a local "pinch point" along the A194  which is a busy 70 MPH dual carriageway which also happens to one of the main routes into the town.

There is bugger all about improvements for cycling, apart from a mention about signing some of the slip road crossings, apart from the following

All well and good, but the bridge which is marked on the official map as being advisory specifically prohibits cycles from being ridden. The actual signs at either end of the bridge are below.

South side of the footbridge
North side of the footbridge
Now colour me pedantic, but a cycle route where you are only allowed to push your bicycle, is NOT a cycle route, advisory or otherwise, it is a footpath. I have been across and appreciate why they stop you from riding a cycle, but to mention it as a cycling facility in a bid to show that cyclists are catered for is nothing more than a bare faced lie.

The A194 route is popular with commuting cyclists, not that there is that many as the conditions are so hostile, as it is a direct link in and out of the town and links several residential and industrial areas as well as schools. The current cycling provision is frankly zero.

This bid goes into lots of detail about car movements and into fantasy about how it will create more jobs cos more people will be able to drive there once the congestion caused by the "pinch point" is removed, which kinda seems like a self defeating prophecy to me.

Any congestion reduction will only come from reducing the number of cars, The bid actually hints that it would INCREASE traffic volume. This is madness.

As I mentioned above the bid makes virtually zero provision for improved walking and cycling apart from putting in better crossings on the A19 sliproads. That's out of £3.4 million, and as it has now gone public, it can be assumed that it has been given the green light from the DfT. Below is the section explaining the paltry amount of consideration given to pedestrians and cyclists as part of the bid

What should have been done, was to provide a wide 2 way cycleway from Whitemare pool along the A194. As well as very wide grassed verges, there are various sections of the old road (Roman Road and Hadrian road) which run parallel to the A194 which could be linked in to reduce the overall cost.

This would have provided people with a real alternative to driving, but it seems that South Tyneside council is stuck in the 1970s still.

This is why national mandatory high quality designs and guidance is urgently needed to force local authorities like South Tyneside Council to provide good quality and safe environments for pedestrians and cyclists

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