Thursday, January 7, 2010

Minor Victory for Common Sense

When lots of people have been working towards a particular policy change, you can only hope your efforts played a part, but last September there was some movement on an issue local Conservatives have been campaigning on for a while. We want Councils to be allowed to put up sensible signage to allow two way cycling on otherwise one-way streets where this is appropriate - a key part of making it more convenient for people to use bikes rather than cars to travel around Cambridge.

I blogged on this issue in June 2008, and followed it up with a request to the department of transport. It seems that there has been some common sense coming out of the review of signage regulations (the rules that are used to ensure central government bureaucrats can over-rule local decision making on issues where local circumstances suggest a local decision would be better...).

It has just been announced by the County Council that there will now be a trial of more sensible signage arrangements in Cambridge:

"I am pleased to announce that Mawson Road in Petersfield, Cambridge is set to become part of a national trial of the signage combination 'no entry except cycles' along with sites in Brighton and Kensington & Chelsea. Cambridge's status as one of Cycling England's Cycling Towns was key to Cambridge being included in the trial.

The new signage should be in place in March 2010.

The site will be monitored by the DfT, with the hope that the new signage combination will become a permitted option that can be used at the discretion of highway authorities."

The current signage in use on places like Kingston Street is the sign best described as 'warning, low flying motorbikes' that very few motorists seem to understand the meaning of (motor vehicles prohibited), so it causes problems with illegal manoeuvres by cars, and abuse of cyclists...


Anonymous said...

Good news, but it does address the need in Cambridge centre for a more general review of traffic flows and the effects of road closures/partial closures by rising bollards and the like.

It's a shame the County Council cannot be persuaded to make a thorough review of bollarded routes, one way and "except for access" roads in Cambridge and the impact these are having in turning unsuitable roads such as East Road into an ineffective Ring Road for the City Centre and adding to congestion.

Chris Howell said...

As far as I can tell, the County Council [officer]'s view on road capacity is that it is all about managing and controlling the capacity in a way that reduces demand for it from private cars - hence the current sets of bollards, the silly Newmarket Road bus lanes, plans for congestion charging etc - 'modal shift' being the buzzword.

They have generally been very 'successful' in reducing the growth in car journeys compared to the increases in population, and they are making some improvements in transport capacity happen (such as the ever-popular Guided Bus).

Whilst there is a role for restrictions on cars where this is clearly outweighed by benefits to other modes of transport like cycling and public transport, I agree I would much rather they concentrated on how to deliver significant increases in capacity in the County for all types of transport, including cars, if they want Cambridge to carry on being the successful sub-region that it is now.

The current situation of course is much better than it would be if the Lib Dems were running transport in the County - its bad enough with them controlling transport in the City through the joint transport committee. They are opposed to just about every form of improvement to transport capacity imaginable in favour of crippling our transport networks for future generations (anti Guided Bus, anti A14 upgrade, pro congestion charging etc etc)