Archive for the ‘Westminster’ Category

Westminster Parking Policy Review: traffic “counts” don’t count cyclists

May 17, 2011

The City of Westminster are currently conducting a review of their parking policies. Deadline for responses is June 23rd.

It is clear that one of the groups most affected by parking and loading policies are cyclists.

blue superhghway van stockwell.jpg

Direct and continuous… into the back of a van or the path of an HGV

When cyclists encounter a parked car, they are often forced to take various risks trying to integrate into a fast-moving lane of motor vehicles. Despite the best efforts of people riding bikes, the possibility remains that drivers may not be anticipating such a manoeuvre, willing to allow the person sufficient space, or even (dare I say it?) devoting their full attention to what is happening on the road in front of them.

Barry Smith, the Operational Director of the City’s Planning Delivery Unit, has submitted a report about the parking review to the council’s Cabinet noting that,

The council has carried out a range of research and consultation exercises… including Automatic Traffic Counts and video traffic counts to monitor traffic levels. (Point 5.1)

This excited me. TfL’s screenline data for 2010 shows that on, for example, Waterloo Bridge during rush hour, cyclists far exceed other modes of transport:

TfL Screenline data for 2010. Waterloo Bridge, northbound, 7-10am.

I was very much looking forward to seeing how this traffic, arriving in Westminster, translates into modal share in other areas of the borough.

The results of the traffic counts undertaken for the parking review can be found (if you look hard enough) in a document entitled, Seven Day Traffic Counts in Westminster, dated April 2011.

Page 6 of that document glibly informs us that:

Please note that Automatic Traffic Counters (ATC) do not record cyclists.

Waterloo Bridge

Zero cyclists crossing Waterloo Bridge

I find it astounding that Westminster are considering how they allocate street space without bothering to count a highly populous and vulnerable groups of road users upon whom any changes will significantly impinge.

The address to email with your views is parkingreview2010@westminster.gov.uk.

“We will not be banning cars from city centres anymore than we will be having rectangular bananas”

March 29, 2011

Yesterday the European Commission released, A vision of an interconnected Europe, a new transport plan.

This controversial document contains a number of howlers that you would only find written by the idiotic pen-pushers in Brussels who’ve got no idea what life is like in 2011 Britain.

Oncoming Traffic

The bureaucratic bods have included statements such as,

“Oil will become scarcer in future decades, sourced increasingly from uncertain supplies.” (p3)

Infrastructure shapes mobility. No major change in transport will be possible without the support of an adequate network and more intelligence in using it.” (p4)

and

“If we stick to the business as usual approach, the oil dependence of transport might still be little below 90%… CO2 emissions from transport would remain one third higher than their 1990 level by 2050. Congestion costs will increase by about 50% by 2050. The accessibility gap between central and peripheral areas will widen. The social costs of accidents and noise would continue to increase.” (pp 4-5)

Obviously these jobsworths need to check themselves. (Perhaps there’s a problem with their masculinity?) We know that the current government tries to belittle civil servants as either rubber stampers, backroom functionaries or, in the cases where it can’t be denied that they are having an effect, “enemies of enterprise”.

And fortunately, our beloved Transport Minister is nothing if not reliable. The very same day as the release of the plan, he managed to issue a statement not just rejecting the plan, but the very idea that the EU might be allowed to have a say:

“”It is right that the EU sets high-level targets for carbon reduction, however it is not right for them to get involved in how this is delivered in individual cities.”

Back to business as usual, then.


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