Archive for February, 2011

Blackfriars Bridge – the entire consultation has been extended

February 24, 2011

I fired off a quick email to Val Shawcross’s assistant earlier in response to the post below, asking:

1. How long is extension of the consultation for?
2. Is it in regard to the whole bridge or just the right hand turn?

I’ve had a response:

1. TfL informed us yesterday, that they will get back to me with the deadline of the consultation.

2. We were told by TfL the extension includes the whole consultation.

I will be sending TfL a follow up email later today to see if they can give me further details as to what is happening.

I will of course keep you posted with any developments.

I hope this is is helpful.

This is fantastic. I arrived rather late to this, and didn’t really do anything except send an email – but well done to the people who made this happen (notably Cyclists in the City).

Of course, a consultation is just the beginning. A cynic might suggest that TfL are simply opening this up because they know they haven’t consulted properly, and now that people are paying attention they had better be seen to follow the correct process. However, if there is an overwhelming response to both TfL and (crucially) our elected representatives, it may become quite difficult for them to ignore the cacophony.

Let’s make it happen.

Blackfriars Bridge – a response

February 23, 2011

Spurred by the apparently indefatigable Cyclists in the City’s post about the plans for Blackfriars Bridge, I wrote a very quick email to the relevant people highlighting my concerns. I also cced in Val Shawcross, chair of the Transport Committee, because she also happens to represent the area in which I live (Lambeth). I have just had a reply from Val Shawcross’s assistant. This is what it said:

Dear Sir/Madam,
Blackfriars Bridge scheme
I am writing on behalf of Val Shawcross AM concerning your email about the Blackfriars scheme. Val met with Richard Shirley, Senior Communications and Consultation Manager for Cycle Superhighways and Cycle Hire for Transport for London (TfL) on your behalf today to express your concerns.

Val was informed by Richard, that TfL have recognised the concerns from both cyclists and pedestrians about the new scheme. Furthermore, the consultation period has now been extended for concerned individuals to highlight their concerns. Val would like you to know that she will continue to liaise with TfL about this on your behalf and that she will stay involved until she gets the best possible outcome for cyclists and pedestrians .

TfL have also promised to keep her updated with the situation and we will email you with any updates Val receives.
I hope you will feel reassured that your concerns are being taken seriously.
Please do not hesitate to contact me using my details below if you require further information.
Kind Regards

I will write a reply either later tonight or tomorrow night. First question will be how long the consultation period has been extended for, and whether they can confirm that this period is in fact only about the right-hand turn, with the rest of the plans already decided. If this is the case, I have no idea how Ms Shawcross can with a straight face claim to stand for “increasing the amount we walk and cycle”, as she does on the front page of her website.

Quick update

February 22, 2011

I have submitted a hastily written complaint to TfL’s Surface Transport customer services about infrastructure at Queens Road. Their written complaints policy notes that they have two working days to acknowledge receipt and 15 working days to respond substantively. (The letter was by email so I got a fairly immediate confirmation of receipt).

Regarding the City of London’s Fixed Penalty notice, I am yet to hear back from them – fear not, I will be quick to post when I do.

TfL’s Cycling Revolution – a bloody one

February 20, 2011

According to TfL, we’re undergoing a Cycling Revolution.

Behind the PR, the reality is that there are avoidable deaths on London’s roads and a disproportionate amount of these are caused by TfL. In June 2009, where a father of three was dragged under the wheels of a cement mixer, the police said,

“Our traffic management unit has advised me that that cycle lane is not of the required width. It is not the proper width for a cycle lane.

What does this have to do with TfL? Well, there are a number of trunk roads which are managed directly by TfL, rather than the borough that they are in (and according to Cyclists in the City, 50% of road casualties occur on these 5% of London’s roads.) Vauxhall Bridge Road (the A202), where this death occurred, is one of them.

Let’s take a journey down the A202, 4 miles south-east of where Everton Smith was killed, to Queens Road, Peckham. TfL have resurfaced this road to make it two-way since this time – around August 2010, if I recall correctly. This is actually quite convenient when travelling eastbound. Westbound, however, is a different story. The junction with Kender Street, by the Montague Arms, has been redesigned:

What used to look like this (thanks Google Earth),

now looks like this:

Fortunately, unlike the above case, the cycle lane here is wide enough to fit a picture of a bicycle in it. Not without painting over the red lines, of course, but it’s there. No, wait, that’s exactly like the above case:

After Everton Smith was killed, Sergeant Seeley of the Met Police said that the problem was that, “the road layout was too cramped”. Fortunately, TfL have the foresight to ensure that on Queens Road, there remains plenty of space for cyclists despite the “traffic calming” island:

Boris Bikes – A geeky take

February 16, 2011

Image by EG Focus. Shared under a Creative Commons license.

Boris Bikes have been confounding me recently. And it seems I’m not the only one. (And the issues are not new…)

Crossrider has done a good job of explaining the continual frustration of the process of trying to liberate a bike from its apparently beloved docking station. However, because I’m a bit of a VBA geek, I thought I’d try to put this into an algorithm to show just many opportunities Boris and his bicycles present for failure:

Sub GetBorisBike()
    For Each Bike In Rack

        'Check Bike:
        If FrontWheel.Flat = True Then Next Bike
        If BackWheel.Flat = True Then Next Bike
        Lift (BackWheel)
        If BackWheel.Spins = False Then Next Bike
        Lower (BackWheel)
        If SeatPost.Adjusts = False Then Next Bike
        If SeatPost.Secures = False Then Next Bike

        'Secure Luggage Outside 30 Min Window
        'With Stupid Little Bands
        Secure (Satchel)

        'Attempt to remove bike

        Enter (Key)
        If Light = Red Then
            If MyPatience.EndOfFile = False Then
                Next Bike
            Else 'If all else fails
            End If
        End If
End Sub

However, I’m not very good at writing efficient code. I tried running the above through a compiler, and it was able to make it significantly more concise:

Sub GetBorisBike()
End Sub

Fortunately, at least, the London Bus Network is “reliable, quick, convenient, comfortable, easy to use and affordable”.

Image by Judy **. Shared under a Creative Commons license.

Why this blog? Why now?

February 8, 2011

After months of sending the same half a dozen people constant emails about various injustices that London cyclists face, or copies of complaints that elicit no response, the chorus of “start a blog” has become deafening.
The catalyst for starting this now is that I was wrongly given a ticket for riding through a red light (I didn’t). I thought I’d chronicle my progress for the appeal. See the above post for more.