Wednesday, December 10, 2008

20mph Zones - Now Politically Attractive?

Rewind back nearly two years to our call in February 2007 for Darlington to introduce a town wide 20mph zone. At the time we were told the whole idea was "impractical" by our Labour-controlled local authority.

Now Lib Dem run Newcastle upon Tyne are rolling out a programme of 20mph zones that will, over three years, result in a blanket 20mph speed limit for all non-trunk road streets. Given the experience in this Sustainable Travel and Cycling Demo Town of ours, you would imagine the Labour opposition in Newcastle would be crying "impractical"?

Far from it. The Lib Dem council has been criticised by Labour for being too slow off the mark. In fact, the Labour Group called for such a scheme in April 2006. Labour leader Coun Nick Forbes said:
This is exactly what we called for two years ago. The Lib Dems would have saved a lot of time and money by accepting our proposals at the time. I’m delighted they’ve finally seen sense.

Answers on a postcard, please, as to why Sustainable Travel Town status gives us more backward policies than towns and cities without.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

An upside-down approach?

So, after my last post where we see it done right in Holland, here's a link to a post on Copenhagenize about Australian plans for cycle paths.

At first glance, the proposed design looks good. The kerb is moved slightly into the road and the widened path is to be shared use by cyclists and pedestrians. In fact, it's almost the approach being used in Darlington, except some space is actually being taken from the road, rather than just doing it where paths are already wide enough.

However, as the post explains, this approach has a host of problems, so why not simply do it properly in the first place and have an on-road segregated cycle lane?

A Dutch Shopping Trip by bike

Imagine riding your bike 2km to a supermarket. Imagine being able to ride your bike right up to the doors, in through the doors and to park it inside. Imagine doing your shopping while enjoying a free cup of coffee. Then, imagine riding home again.

Now, imagine doing this on cycle infrastructure so good that you can hold a digital camera in one hand in front of you while doing it. 2km, on a loaded bike one-handed.

Impossible? In Darlington: yes. In Assen, where bike paths are gritted, well surfaced, get right of way when crossing roads, bypass traffic lights and traffic lights, and are of a decent width: no.

David Hembrow explains how it is possible on his excellent blog, A View From the Cycle Path and you can watch it for yourself in the video below.