Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Perne Road - Cambridge Cycling Campaign Response

You may recall this post where I talked about a frankly terrible misappropriation of cycling funds to pay for changes to lanes for motorists.

As far as I can tell Cambridge Cycling Campaign went right down to the wire when getting their response in. It can be found here.

If you've read this blog for a while you'll know that on occasion the Campaign have been pretty good with such responses. And you'll also know that I'll criticise them if I think they're not going nearly far enough.

This time they're decidedly 'meh'. I mean they're not outright supporting a bad scheme. They're offering qualified 'meh'. Really.

The gist is grudging support. Sort of. Maybe. If the details are right. So you can see why I'm saying 'meh'. The bit that for me is most revealing is quite early on:
We strongly share the view of the Cycling Team and other officers that this will be an opportunity to demonstrate that roundabouts built to Dutch geometry will work in the UK, that the traffic will not grind to a halt, lorries will not get wedged and they will perform safely and efficiently. This will make it easier to get improvements at junctions like the Sainsbury's roundabout where there is both space and the need to put in a segregated path around the perimeter.

This is a bad scheme - its taking a vast sum of money from various pots, all supposedly meant to be for cycling, and spending most of it on nudging motorists slightly differently around the roundabout, renovating a tired, run down road layout using cycling funds without giving us what we really need - safe, continuous segregation. What we get is a slightly different geometry but we get extolled to get off the fecking road and share with pedestrians who don't want us in the restricted space available for them, giving way three times crossing lanes of angry traffic that will simply never give way if we're turning right. And of course if we don't choose to use those cycle routes we WILL end up being bullied by motorists who think we should - thats what happens when you install a bad cycle route, we're then stuck between a rock and a hard place. This utterly invalidates the entire scheme - and should not have been the basis for providing conditional support, it is grounds for complete rejection. Spending cycling money renovating things for motorists is unacceptable.

But this grudging support for a bad scheme (which comes across as a bit 'meh') rather shows that the Campaign itself thinks it is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Reject this and risk better schemes not appearing elsewhere?

The bottom line is that this is how Cambridgeshire County Council want the Campaign to act. This is how they have always relied on the campaign acting - they want to give us bad facilities so they can spend the swag on motorists as they always have, threatening to remove the carrot held out in front of the Campaigns nose. And over, and over again the Campaign have come out in support of bad schemes because they fear things will be worse otherwise.

Yeah, maybe the Sainsburys roundabout WILL be better than this one. But it will have nothing to do with this - we know that geometry works because its been tested many times elsewhere, it would be obtuse to demand proving the same thing yet again. Its being trialled not a million miles away by TFL. And I believe the Netherlands is merely at the far end of the A14. 

It seems to me that the Campaign resolutely refuses to draw a line in the sand - no more half measures, no more bad facilities. From now on if you're spending cycling money then put. us. first. Yes, thats what the Campaign won't say.

Listen Cambridge Cycling Campaign, if you keep rolling over then the County will keep doing this. We won't get what we want for as long as they're go-to cycle campaign group fail to stand up for what we need. I put it to you once again (I have been asking you this for years); if here and now in Cambridge we do not hold out for the best then where, and when will we do so?

When you answer that then you can possibly defend supporting bad schemes like this. If this is 'the one' that means 'the next one' MUST be top quality then you can support this scheme with a clean conscience. Sorry guys, there are so many people in the campaign who I think are great, and personally I've got a lot of time for the committee members I know. It pains me to say this, but until you entirely withdraw support for schemes that do not demonstrably put cyclists first, what is Cambridge Cycling Campaign for?

UPDATE: Oh, look. The TFL roundabout entirely fits in the space taken up by the Perne Road roundabout - utterly invalidating the claim that this geometry needs to be further trialed. Cambridge Cycling Campaign - You. Have. Been. Had.

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