Sunday, 14 April 2013

Hanging in the balance - on a thinning thread

Science Central vision
Utopian? Newcastle's plan for Science Central.

This is a while ago, April 2012. But still worth stating. As nothing has much moved on from then. 

My letter to the council contained this paragraph [emphasis added later]
We are most alarmed by a new slogan that has been developed by council officers over the the last few months counteracting cycle improvements: "the council must strike a balance between all road users". Can we reiterate that it's this 'balance' which is severely out of kilter, skewed towards car users and discriminating against people on bicycles an on foot. We would like to understand how the council is indeed planning to meet its target of 20% of trips under five miles to be done by bike in ten years from now. First step must be to ask your officers to rephrase the slogan, read the Cycle Plan and think bicycle.
 Director's reply [my emphasis]
I can state categorically that no new slogan has been developed by council officers to counteract cycling developments being progressed. I am sorry that you seem unable to understand or accept the duty on the council to take an overview and strike a balance between all road users. We are committed to [goes on a bit after that]
Followed by some feebly-versed words of I-slap-your-wrist and you-must-behave and we-are-right-your-are-wrong. Culminating in lecturing me on respect.

I have numerous more rambling examples like the one above. It's abundantly clear. Not everyone (officers and councillors) gets it. Currently there is only imbalance. The thin thread is going to snap some time, and urban mobility will be in chaos. I'd rather this transition is somewhat managed. I do have hope as the Newcastle Cycle Plan states it seeks
"rebalancing the relationship between road users"
Yes! Let's do it! Let's grab some road space whilst it's hot.

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