Saturday 9 November 2013

Balance in action

space for cycling (Newcastle)Here are a two (typical) comments about the subject of balance (of all road users). And striking such a balance. Starting with a comedy classic.

Cllr Dave Wood

"As a local councillor I am in favour of cycling as a mode of transport as I am also supportive of walking, buses, motor cycles, motor cars, aeroplanes etc as modes of transport and firmly believe that travelling space is there to be shared and enjoyed."

Dear Dave, I can tell as much: I really have tried the sharing, it's not easy. So, dear Dave, my local-councillor-in-favour-of-cycling-as-well-as-everying-else (hence simply and silently perpetuating and endorsing the painful status quo), walk in my shoes for a mile. Please get a bike, get on it and try it on Welbeck Road for yourself.

Big city bosses had this to say in the past. Here is Barry Rowland (ex-chief of Newcastle) speaking through his then-Director David Slater:

"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 improving facilities for cycling and increasing the numbers of cyclists. This is clearly set out in ‘Delivering Cycling Improvements in Newcastle’ agreed recently and unanimously by full Council. In some cases this will mean giving positive advantage to cyclists, on strategic cycle routes for example, or by connecting existing well used networks. In all cases, it will mean as outlined in the Manual for Streets, ensuring that the needs of the most vulnerable users are considered in all highway schemes, but not necessarily to give priority to pedestrians and cyclists in each and every circumstance."

Whilst Newcastle is still languishing on a car-modelled modal share, have a think... just how could it change, if not to take away space from motoring and give it to cycling will our city shift towards people, get human-sized and humanised?

These are the old folks. Some are now gone. Some getting less and less power. I may, next week, have a look at what the new, the radical, the awoken have to say. Until then, let's see whether Dave gets on the bike.

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