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Author Topic: Changes to cycle policy - 3/4 Aug 13  (Read 29038 times)
Red Squirrel
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« Reply #45 on: July 29, 2013, 10:05:45 am »

Speed humps....try cycling over a sharp one at over 4mph.


Only trouble with that idea is that the humps knock the wobbly novices and children off, and then the Wiggo wannabies plough into the wreckage...
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Lee
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« Reply #46 on: July 30, 2013, 03:42:58 am »

Away from the railway, but not completely, BBC Radio Bristol is leading its local news today with a report on the Bristol to Bath cycle path. Apparently, the safety and enjoyment of the path by the many is being ruined by what sounds like a few lycra-clad fascists.Dogs, cats, small children, and other more timorous cyclists have been run down here by wannabe Bradley Wiggins. About 3000 people use the path daily. Many say they would, but for the attitude of this selfish minority who see it as a speed trial track.

I offer two possible solutions. One involves piano wire, the other is to relay tracks and operate a light railway. That would carry much more than 3000 people daily, and the cyclists would have Fishponds Road, with its multi-million pound bus lane, to themselves.

Not just me, then.

I speak as someone who has almost been knocked flying several times by the Wiggo brigade, and as someone who, in an ideal world, would welcome the railway back with open arms tomorrow.

However, we have discussed elsewhere the significant hurdles that would have to be overcome, and I quote my contribution to the debate here:

One thing that can be difficult to avoid when discussing this kind of topic is to assume that it would be easier to re-open certain routes because they are covered by a cycle/walking path. This is often not quite the case.

Take the Bath-Bristol via Mangotsfield route for example, which forms the latter day Bristol-Bath Railway Path, a route that I have traversed on several occasions. This is indeed relatively wide and potentially rail-viable from Newbridge (west of Bath) through Kelston/Saltford, Bitton, Oldland Common, Warmley right up to Siston. Indeed, the Avon Valley Railway have actually restored part of the route between Avon Riverside and Oldland Common, running through their HQ at Bitton station.

However, once you get to Siston, your problems begin. In 1999, South Gloucestershire Council began building part of the Ring Road on the former trackbed. They did divert the path, but as anyone who has used that section will testify, its new twists, turns, gradients and bridges are completely unsuitable for railway restoration.

That said, if there really was an iron will on the part of the powers that be to restore the route through here, then modern engineering technology could probably find a solution. Unfortunately, once you are across the Ring Road, you immediately hit another problem. Whilst the section of trackbed from the Ring Road through to Mangotsfield Station is still there and in use as part of the path, it has been severely squeezed by modern housing encroachment. Indeed, I would go so far as to say you would have to knock some of it down to restore a viable railway through here again, which probably rules it out for the short to medium term.

Once you get to Mangotsfield (a disused station gem ^ in my opinion well worth a visit) the trackbed opens out significantly to become rail-viable again through Staple Hill tunnel and on to Fishponds. However, the closer you get to the centre of Bristol from thereon, the more patchy things become. Wide expanse one minute, quite narrow the next. One of the biggest obstacles on this part of the route is the Clay Bottom housing estate which was built on the trackbed. Whilst the path does its best to snake through and around the housing, rail-viable it most certainly aint. Again, the only option for rail reinstatement would be to knock some of it down.

It^s not just the non rail-viable sections such as Mangotsfield and Clay Bottom that are problematic. When plans were mooted to partly convert more viable sections for BRT, it caused one of the biggest coalitions of campaigners and public to come together to oppose them. While I^m sure that a section of this coalition would switch sides if the plans were rail-based rather than BRT, it is very likely that public opinion would still be overwhelmingly against any change of use for the path.

I should point out at this stage (as anyone who knows me will testify) that I am generally hugely in favour of rail expansion. I^ve always felt that it was a great shame that when railway station openings/re-openings such as Melksham, Ivybridge, Worle, Yate and Cam & Dursley became cool again during the period between the mid-1980s and the early 1990^s, we didn^t capitalise on that by looking more into route re-openings such as this one, when there were more people around who remembered the railway being there and the benefits it could bring, and less development on the route to overcome as well.

The problem is that now two generations have grown up not remembering the route as a railway, and have grown fond of it as a cycle/walking path that provides a green and traffic-free route into the centre of their congested city.  While most are happy to learn about and commemorate its railway past, when it comes to resurrection there is just no appetite for it, and the perceived damage to or loss of the treasured amenity they feel it would involve.

Of course, by the 1990s one of these generations had already grown up not knowing the route as a railway, and residents in general along the route had grown used to the benefits of not having a railway close by. The Avon Valley Railway discovered this to their cost when they completed their northern extension from Bitton to Oldland Common, but were prevented for years from opening it due to legal action from local residents, who ironically lived further away from the trackbed than those in Mangotsfield or Clay Bottom do today.

The AVR did eventually open their Oldland extension, later adding a platform and run-round loop there in 1999, and followed this up in 2004 with a southern extension towards Bath which terminates at Avon Riverside, the current extent of operations. Having learnt from their previous experience, they also launched a consultation with residents and interested parties on whether to proceed with a further extension north towards Warmley, in the hope that a few years of successful operations may have softened the views of the locals towards the railway.

However, with a firm and clear ^No Way Jose!^ (or words to that effect) ringing in their ears, they quickly re-focused their plans southwards towards a proposed Bath Riverside station, probably close to the point grahame envisages a new junction to the west of Bath.

You would have thought that they would have been on safe ground with this one. The segregation of path and railway procedure with Sustrans is well-established south of Bitton, and the only settlement of note along the route is the Bird In Hand pub, who are pro-rail, advertising on the AVR and selling Saltford Station Campaign mugs behind the bar. They would most likely welcome the railway passing their doorstep, particularly if a halt were built capitalising on the picturesque location and bringing mutual business to both pub and railway.

So far though, it is not to be. In recent years the AVR has been the target of a graffiti-based ^Stop The Rail Expansion^ campaign, with messages scrawled on railway infrastructure, rolling stock and the path itself. Subjects range from Thomas causing global warming to the fence separating path and railway not being pleasing to the eye. Perhaps unsurprisingly, further line expansion is on hold for the foreseeable future, with the AVR concentrating on developing facilities at their Bitton base instead.

It also strikes me that this is the kind of conversation that the new S&D folks, much maligned in the past for alleged pie-in-the-sky ideas, have on a regular basis. Their defence is that they see things in the sense of the very long-term, a time when the political, financial, economic and social implications of knocking down in-the-way buildings, reinstating structures such as bridges/embankments, diverting utilities and everything else involved in achieving their aims is outweighed by the political, financial, economic and social implications of what they see as an inevitable energy crisis.

As an aside, even they don^t think reinstating to Bath Green Park is viable, instead endorsing a very similar route to Red Squirrel^s GW from Dundas/Midford incline.

The above said, I have often wondered exactly how much support/opposition a campaign to restore the railway and/or banish the cyclists (and I guess banishing walkers and other path users too if you are going the whole hog) would get, and I for one would watch with great interest if FTN/Red Squirrel/trainer were to start one up...
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #47 on: July 30, 2013, 12:04:56 pm »

I think the route out through Fishponds to Mangotsfield, Yate and Bath will continue to raise its head as an under-used transport corridor, particularly when the denizens of East Bristol see the much of the rest of town getting good quality (i.e. rail-based) public transport.

I don't accept that any of the route is 'non-viable' for rail; a wrecking ball and a few earth-movers will soon resolve any obstructions. As to objections: People will always oppose development that changes their local environment, but I suspect that a light rail scheme would find fewer objectors than a concrete busway or the AVR.
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Lee
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« Reply #48 on: July 30, 2013, 12:54:00 pm »

 Grin Grin

If you read what I actually wrote, then you will see that I accept that sections such as Mangotsfield and Clay Bottom could be made rail-viable if you knocked down some of the encroaching development - I'm not disputing that.

However, until you actually get permission to rollout said earthmovers and wrecking ball to take out what in some places is very modern development indeed, then such sections will remain non rail-viable, light or heavy - that is a fact.

As for the public support question, I did accept in my original piece that a rail-based scheme would probably have fewer objectors than BRT, and I agree with your reply that light rail would probably have less objectors than heavy. Will "less objectors" translate into "majority public support" though? I still very much have my doubts, as much as I would love to be proved wrong.

Does that mean the Squirrel public campaign begins here? A petition on the HM Government website, and an email to the Post introducing it will surely set the (metaphorical not wrecking) ball rolling nicely on that, and I very much look forward to the debate and outcome.
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #49 on: July 30, 2013, 01:48:07 pm »

Grin Grin

If you read what I actually wrote, then you will see that I accept that sections such as Mangotsfield and Clay Bottom could be made rail-viable if you knocked down some of the encroaching development - I'm not disputing that.

However, until you actually get permission to rollout said earthmovers and wrecking ball to take out what in some places is very modern development indeed, then such sections will remain non rail-viable, light or heavy - that is a fact.


I think we are essentially in violent agreement here; though the age of the property that would have to be removed is only relevant inasmuch as that it shows how short-sighted the outcome of the planning process can be.


Does that mean the Squirrel public campaign begins here?
 

No. I think the people of East Bristol (or South-east South Gloucestershire) should fight that battle, when they are ready. The evidence suggests that, for now, they prefer their mobile death greenhouses.
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TonyK
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« Reply #50 on: July 30, 2013, 02:19:11 pm »


As for the public support question, I did accept in my original piece that a rail-based scheme would probably have fewer objectors than BRT,

As indeed would a charnel house, a home for convicted paedophiles, a nuclear waste dump or a fracking great big shale oil plant on the Downs.
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Lee
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« Reply #51 on: July 30, 2013, 02:48:59 pm »

Well I never - I appear to have been partially quoted to fit the point. Not like that's ever happened before  Grin Grin

FTN - Will you be fronting the campaign now that Red Squirrel has declined?
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« Reply #52 on: July 31, 2013, 04:49:19 pm »

Apparently, the safety and enjoyment of the path by the many is being ruined by what sounds like a few lycra-clad fascists. Dogs, cats, small children, and other more timorous cyclists have been run down here by wannabe Bradley Wiggins. About 3000 people use the path daily. Many say they would, but for the attitude of this selfish minority who see it as a speed trial track.
Actually, I'm pretty sure there have been fewer reported crashes on the B+B Railway Path than most urban roads.  What's actually gone on is an officer of the non-democratic Sustrans charity wrote a piece in the Bristol press http://www.bristol247.com/2013/07/17/all-cyclists-have-a-collective-responsibility-to-slow-down-61574/ claiming that cyclists have some sort of collective responsibility for path-hogs who don't give way to other path users, plus he singled out riders of road bikes for particular criticism... it then turned out in the comments (which are newest first, which makes some of the conversations a bit confusing) that one such path-hog was his younger self who used to "scalp" other commuters. I think somehow he thinks his road bike was to blame (he now has three bikes and doesn't ride the road bike on that path) rather than accepting his personal responsiblity.
I offer two possible solutions. One involves piano wire, the other is to relay tracks and operate a light railway. That would carry much more than 3000 people daily, and the cyclists would have Fishponds Road, with its multi-million pound bus lane, to themselves.
One, you do know that has happened around the country far too often to be funny?

Two, if you'd close Fishponds Road to motor traffic, then OK. ;-)
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« Reply #53 on: July 31, 2013, 05:02:47 pm »

There are a few cyclists ... not the schoolbound ones ... who travel greatly in excess of the speed I would consider sensible on a shared path.   And they act as if they own the footpath, ringing there bells as if ordering you to get out of their way, and passing very close at speed.  I have a degree of sympathy - but then when we drive cars (and those of us who drive trains) have to stick to speed limits and consider safety, even if our vehicles can go faster, and I think cyclists should follow a similar guide. And they should slow down where conditions dictate it fore safety.
The design limit of most shared paths is only 15mph unladen, not much more than a mobility scooter (which is heavier and officially 8mph) and most are far lower, so if you try to do 15mph, you'll be rattled to heck. You're lucky to get above 10mph.

I quite agree with slowing down when conditions dictate - generally, animals before walkers and both before wheels - and that's a legal requirement (although enforcement is as weak as ever and legal right doesn't mean people should be idiots about it). Speed limits are unworkable as most people don't carry accurate speedometers and most of the ones I've seen are so low as to be dangerous because most riders wobble much more at low speeds.

One question though: did they ring the bell in some aggressive manner (not sure how you do that - mine just goes brrrring regardless) or do you object to all bell-ringing to warn you of their approach?  I used to think it was bad to ring the bell and make people jump, but now I think it's worse to make people jump as I overtake them quietly and there are more bikes around, so people are less surprised by a bell on a cycle track.
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #54 on: July 31, 2013, 05:03:11 pm »


I think somehow he thinks his road bike was to blame (he now has three bikes and doesn't ride the road bike on that path)...


Quote

It's not about the bike

Lance Armstrong

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« Reply #55 on: July 31, 2013, 05:16:05 pm »

One question though: did they ring the bell in some aggressive manner (not sure how you do that - mine just goes brrrring regardless) ...

I'm not sure either ... but "brrrring brrrring brrrring brrrring" seems a bit too persistent to be "hey I'm here" and is rather more "get out my ****** way you *****" to me  Wink .    Quite happy with the "brrrring" brigade
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« Reply #56 on: July 31, 2013, 07:03:29 pm »

This debate inspired me to borrow a bike, and ride one for the first time in 25 years. As soon as I set off, I remembered what to do - it was just like, er, riding a bike. More to the point, I simulated my journey to work by riding a similar distance, and finding similar hills. I got a bit sweaty and breathless, but I am seriously buying one of my own, on the assumption that this will improve with time. Whilst I would not feel happy on the B+B, I could well experience this debate from the other side.

Two Wheels, Now!, eh? Whodda thunk it?

Well I never - I appear to have been partially quoted to fit the point. Not like that's ever happened before  Grin Grin
 

My homage to your well-made point, Lee
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #57 on: July 31, 2013, 07:22:16 pm »

This debate inspired me to borrow a bike, and ride one for the first time in 25 years. As soon as I set off, I remembered what to do - it was just like, er, riding a bike. More to the point, I simulated my journey to work by riding a similar distance, and finding similar hills. I got a bit sweaty and breathless, but I am seriously buying one of my own, on the assumption that this will improve with time. Whilst I would not feel happy on the B+B, I could well experience this debate from the other side.

Two Wheels, Now!, eh? Whodda thunk it.

Good for you! You'll be amazed how quickly your muscles get acclimatised to cycling again.

I presume you'll be in the market for lycra soon?

Why wouldn't you feel happy on the Bristol and Bath?
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TonyK
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« Reply #58 on: July 31, 2013, 08:20:39 pm »


Good for you! You'll be amazed how quickly your muscles get acclimatised to cycling again.

I presume you'll be in the market for lycra soon?

Why wouldn't you feel happy on the Bristol and Bath?

Muscles? I have aches in places where I didn't know I had places, let alone muscles.

Being serious about the Bristol and Bath, I have tried walking on it - it is strictly supposed to be an amenity shared by cyclists and pedestrians. It did not go well, and could go a long way to explain some of my earlier, somewhat intemperate, language.

As for Lycra, if it were all that there was to wear, I would go naked. People may say "Whatever he's wearing, he could've ironed it", and I may have to burn the saddle, but I draw the line before Lycra.
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« Reply #59 on: August 01, 2013, 01:48:01 am »

I'm not sure either ... but "brrrring brrrring brrrring brrrring" seems a bit too persistent to be "hey I'm here" and is rather more "get out my ****** way you *****" to me  Wink .    Quite happy with the "brrrring" brigade
I forgot, but mine rings twice with each push: one as I push the lever and, one as the spring pushes back. So "brrrring brrrring, brrrring brrrring" may be "hello" followed by "did you hear? I'm coming past!" because I really don't like startling people! Unless they mouth off at you as they ride past (in which case, I'd understand if you throw something back at them...), I wouldn't interpret too much feeling from it. The real aggressive people seem to be using those nasty air hooters at the moment anyway :/

I'm with FT,N! on the lycra dislike. Fortunately there are some rather nice cycle-friendly undergarments available these days from the likes of Endura which don't make trousers bulge where they oughtn't ;-)

Anyway, what's the best bike option for FGW then? More Brompton Docks?
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