I've commented before on the plans for the Catholic Church Junction in Cambridge.
Today plans substantially like that but with the slight improvement that we might get advance lights for cyclists were approved by the County Council.
Or in other words they aim to spend £900k, including £450k supposedly earmarked for safety, on nothing of very much interest to cyclists. No reallocation of road space. No safe routes. On one of the most serious cycling accident blackspots in the city and they couldn't even paint cycle lanes on all the wide, open approaches.
So another failure for the consultation process - apparently about half of those who expressed a view supported this proposal so thats okay then. With so few concessions for safe cycling this will neither encourage more people out on to bikes nor will it make the junction safer - an advance stop box with advance lights that I can't get to because of two solid streams of traffic is of no use to me. But more important than that is that once again this plan fails to take into account those who really would benefit from a genuinely cycle friendly scheme - those who don't cycle because the roads are too hostile. This doesn't tame the road space - it doesn't even change it very much.
Once again I find myself wondering who cycle facilities are for. They're not being built for me - I'd need to be physically restrained to keep me from cycling. Faffing about a bit making the roads trivially less hostile for me and my kind... So what? Really, so fecking what? I'm not the target audience here.
I'm struck by a comment attributed to Councillor Curtis, the County Council Cycling Champion. Apparently "we can't go all the way this time". This time? On what occasion did our county council go 'all the way' for cyclists? It sure as hell wasn't on Gilbert Road, where there is ample space for truly high class cycle infrastructure but all we got was slightly better cycle lanes. Its not on Milton Road or Arbury Road where the police target cyclists at the unlabelled end of a shared use path to stop them riding on in safety where they must instead ride on a killer of a road. Certainly not as you ride down towards Mitchams Corner where the cycle facilities disappear wherever you may need them. Nor on Mill Road where we've not only got no cycle facilities but the 20mph limit must be regarded as a joke by a police force who flat out don't enforce it. We be talking about the Guided Bus Cycle path that spends so long under water cyclists are forced to ride on a hazardous bus track because, quite literally, there is no other alternative route?
The truth is that in Cambridgeshire we never go 'all the way' for cycling. Not ever. There is no example of a road where we've put cycling first, where getting safe cycling has been the top priority. We're always way down the list, which means we're left with a derisory patchwork of bad to passable infrastructure joined together by lethal junctions. Outside the reality bubble that is Cambridge City Centre we quickly revert to being just as bad as everywhere else in the UK, as evidenced by how few people cycle in to Cambridge from outside the City. I'm forced to ask why we even have a cycling 'champion'.
Our supposed Cycling Champion didn't go 'all the way' for cycling because he, like the rest of our County Council, is failing the cyclists of this county, and in so doing failing to tackle congestion, pollution and obesity. Our County Council are therefore failing everyone within the county - they fail to give us the fair choice to ride safely, because ultimately they do not believe in cycling as a form of transport.
And after all this? Cambridge Cycling Campaign (who to their credit opposed this abysmal scheme) and the County Council will revert to smug back slapping. And there will be no substantial improvement, at least at this junction, for another generation. Still, drums up business for the NHS, I suppose.