The Ranty Highwayman)
SUNDAY, 7 JANUARY 2018
I’ve been following the debates around a few of the higher profile “streets” schemes as they go through public consultation and the thing which is striking me most is that the consultations rarely mention the wider network and nor do many of those debating the issues.
Much of the problem (I think) is the way in which consultations have turned into mini-referenda where the public is invited to choose sides with the inevitable loss of the “yes, but” or “no, unless” views which can be the ones to offer different insights. It’s also about the nature of the things being consulted on which are often corridor-type projects (regardless of mode) where area projects would be more appropriate.
There are so many examples to pick on, but in London, Transport for London consulted on “cycle superhighway 9” which includes cycle tracks on Chiswick High Road. Those in favour of the scheme describe the existing situation which is hostile towards cycling and those against raising a whole list of reasons, but essentially, they’re not liking the threat to the motor-centric status quo (and yes, I am biased).
In my experience, those against a scheme often have far more to say than those who support and it is easy to see how decision makers are influenced by the volume of objection in terms of noise and points made! However, in these consultations, there are some voices where people are raising genuine concerns about displacement of through (motor) traffic onto side roads, the impact on bus journey times and that loading/ servicing of commercial premises will be more difficult.