Archive for the ‘Transport Rant’ Category
Posted by Alan on September 21, 2012
Posted by Alan on June 28, 2012
Today saw a brand new piece of infrastructure open across London’s sky line: branded Air Line by it’s sponsors, a new cable car from North Greenwich to Royal Victoria Dock.
Posted by Alan on May 9, 2011
Having been in Manchester for Uncaged Monkeys on Friday, on Saturday it make perfect sense to head out for a ‘late running’ wheelers brunch, a Manchester cycling meet up. I was kind of expecting breakfast somewhere but actually we headed down to Jacksons Boat on the ‘Cheshire’ side of Chorlton Meadows.
The whole point is for like minded ‘normal’ cyclists (i.e. not speed freaks in lycra) meeting together. Topic of conversation doesn’t have to be bikes/cycling/infrastructure but we did talk about that. Quite a bit as it turns out. In the mid-afternoon grey (Manchester is able to demonstrate all 256 shades of grey) we took a more circuitous route back to Chorlton via Sale water park and some cycling infrastructure, I’d guess provided by Sustrans due to the frequency of anti-cycling gates.
It was a fairly pleasant route even with the frequent dismounting. I can understand the pressure to block these routes to motorcycles – but they aren’t vandal proof – the gate below has been pushed apart so we could cycle through easily. I bet you could even push a motorbike through…
This isn’t a direct route between conurbations or even between major centres of employment so maybe it doesn’t have to be a cycle superhighway. But even then, why put in cycling sign-age and but infrastructure that slows you to walking pace? How is that going to improve the modal share of cycling?
Posted by Alan on April 11, 2011
Last weekend I took the bike down the Kernel brewery in Bermondsey, primarily because I wanted to stock up on beer! It’s a good 10 miles or so. On the way back I used it as an excuse to check out cycle Superhighway 3 out towards the Docklands, before heading up toward the Olympic Park at Stratford.
Having been on the go pretty much all morning without break I popped into the Container Café / View Tube by the Olympics Park.
It’s a pretty neat location – you can see the building work going on all around you and enjoy a bacon sandwich. It’s a bit hippy-ish, despite being in the middle of one of the most commercial projects in London!
I guess it won’t be there much longer – I can’t imagine it would be allowed to stay during the games itself, so if you’ve got a spare sunny Saturday nip down the Greenway and have a look at progress.
Posted by Alan on March 24, 2011
Spotted this at lights on the way to Liverpool st tonight. I don’t know what ‘roadhug’ is yet, but I’m not sure I like the sound of one. It conjures up images of people flat on the road to me!
Posted by Alan on March 20, 2011
Having successfully managed to stagger across the finish line at Bogle, the next challenge booked in the diary is the c2c. At at the moment most of my cycling is relatively short utility trips (i.e. shopping and commuting) this is something else to ‘man up’ for. With a planned completion date of June, it’s time to start training properly! Yesterday provided a glorious day here in London so I took the opportunity to check out East London’s ‘greenway’, cycling down through the Walthamstow marshes to it’s start at Hackney Wick. At the moment the Lea/Lee* valley paths are being upgraded for the Olympics so there are a few diversions but once onto the Greenway you start to see what London is capable of infrastructure-wise.
The Greenway cuts all the way across the borough of Newham, I believe it’s the main sewer from Hackney to Beckton sewage works. (It certainly smells that way when you pass by a manhole cover!) It’s flat, wide and straight – potentially a very fast piece of cycling infrastructure. Again due to the Olympics and Crossrail, there are some diversions in place. There were particularly poor involving much pushing the bike and queuing to allow road traffic in and out of the Olympic park. It would be nice if there’d been a few signs to as it’s really easy to miss where you should cross Stratford High St.
Further down the track there are many road crossings – each with a set of anti-cycling gates at each side. In most cases they seem to have been vandalised to allow free passage (probably for a few motorcyclist too…) but the odd one remains intact. It does seem a bit odd to create some infrastructure for fast easy cycling and then add barriers to prevent take up. I know the main target is to prevent people running motorcyclists or quad bikes etc, this really doesn’t seem like the best solution.
The main objective of the trip was to cross the river using the Woolwich free ferry. A strange anachronism of London down in the bottom right hand corner, the ferry connects the North and South Circular roads.
Apparently there is some legislation meaning there has to be a free crossing here – so the small ferry carries lorries, cars, bikes and pedestrians the short hop between North Woolwich and Woolwich. I wasn’t the only cyclist either! Crossing the river is quick and relatively easy – I was very lucky with where I was put on the boat, opening up a familiar view but from the ‘wrong side’ of the Thames barrier.
Once on the south side however, it was pretty obvious the unwritten law (‘south London must be less good than north London’) rang true with respect to cycling facilities. The ‘Thames Coastal Path’ weaves between the riverside and busy roads with lots of ‘give up an push’ signs. In the end I gave up trying to follow the path round the Blackwall Reach peninsula due to the lack of sign posts! The roads of between Woolwich and Greenwich did have some advisory cycle lanes but on a Saturday afternoon were as snarled up as a rush hour. At least, I’m not sure how much worse the traffic could get at rush hour.
By Greenwich I was pretty knackered – a quick pit stop and a chance to ‘refuel’ before heading under the river again using the foot tunnel. Currently under renovation, the lifts are closed. This meant carefully pushing the bike down a spiral staircase and the back up the other side. Apparently this is part of ‘National Cycle Route 1’ but I didn’t see any signs and you can’t cycle in the tunnel (probably for the best – it’s very busy with people walking). Even back on the north side of the river there didn’t seem to be any NCN1 signs – so I just hit the road and headed towards Poplar. There’s loads of interesting things on the back streets here so it was really cool to explore a bit, even if all of the roads did some how seem to lead to the A12, effectively a motorway. Eventually back to the Lea/Lee path and to the ‘stow.
With 29.3 miles (46km) on the clock it was a new personal best. Still a long way to go though – need to nudge that above 40 miles and cycle every day for a while to ‘toughen up’. Where to venture next I wonder…?
*Lea/Lee – it is spelt differently in places. No idea why.
Posted in Cycling, Transport Rant | Tagged: 18-55mm, Beckton, bike, blackwall reach, Bow, C913, Crossrail, Cycling, EOS 500D, Ferry, free, Greenway, greenwich, Hackney Wick, infrastructure, London, NCN1, Newham, North Woolwich, Old Ford Lock, Olympics, rant, Skyline, Stratford, Sustrans, Thames, traffic, Walthamstow, Woolwich | 1 Comment »
Posted by Alan on December 24, 2010
Oh goody, it’s been ages since I wrote about any crap cycling infrastructure. I really don’t get what is going on above – this is Storey St, Bankside (just behind Borough Market/Vineopolis). Cycle lane, sure can understand that but why have the other bikes in the road and why going both ways? Just seems like a bit of a waste of paint to be honest…
I can only guess that whoever instructed the painting of those cycles doesn’t ever ride one…
Posted by Alan on November 26, 2010
It’s this kind of cycling that gives us who obey the law a bad name. If you’re tempted to… just don’t!
Posted by Alan on November 1, 2010
Last weekend I took the bus shopping rather than cycling. Apart from the pangs of frustration at running to someone else’s timetable, something I spotted was this ‘intervention’. In London buses generally have doors in the middle to let people off – so why, oh why, would you build railings roughly where the ‘out door’ would be (remember the bus will stop with the front bumper pretty much next to the stop ‘flag’).
And are railings really necessary anyway? They look ugly and do they actually do anything?