Thank you to @SaveBloomsbury for taking time to lay out the reasons for your dislike of the ‘Taviplace’ cycle scheme.
To start, I should declare an interest in the matter in that I was responsible in the late 1990s for coming up the idea for the Taviplace cycle route and that on Royal College Street, which introduced to Inner and Central London the use of ‘segregated cycle tracks’ using two-way cycle traffic physically separated from the motor traffic lanes.
The reason for introducing segregated cycle tracks is that cycling mixed with motor traffic, because of the inherent speed differentials, is unattractive to people in general and to women, to older people and to younger people (or their parents) in particular. Those countries which have adopted widespread use of segregated cycle networks have much higher rates of cycling, a balance of genders in the cycling profile, more young people and more older people cycling. Of course, to achieve this effect it is necessary to have extensive, inter-connected networks, something that is only slowly being worked towards in London in particular and the UK in general.
I won’t go into detail of the reasons why governments and local authorities want to increase cycling levels, but in outline, cycling ‘ticks all the boxes’ of tackling congestion, eliminating pollution in terms both of air quality (particles) and greenhouse gases, reducing the strain on the NHS and social care budgets, being cheap for the individual and for government bodies to implement and run, flexible, etc. The need to address congestion, pollution, casualty numbers, etc is being recognized on a global scale and all over government bodies are looking at bringing more balance into the public realm by lessening the traditional dominance of urban space by motor vehicles. This is the context in which Taviplace should be viewed.
However, since it was introduced, as I’m sure you know, the Taviplace two-way track has attracted increasing numbers of cyclists and it soon became clear that the initial implementation was under-resourced. This led to the trial of the present system with two one-way cycle tracks and which Camden Council has confirmed will be made permanent. It was, and as far as I know still is, the intention to re-design the street layout to ensure that the new system radically improves the aesthetic look of the route.
I asked you to layout your reasons for saying in a tweet that, “Nobody contests that the scheme has had benefits – to cyclists. What about everyone else?”
I will tackle your points but in a different order from yours which begins by arguing that the traffic circulation layout “means travelling by car is ridiculously convoluted”. This is to reflect the adoption of a new hierarchy of design ideas that reverses the 20th century view that placed the motor vehicle as the top priority of urban street design. This new view puts ‘vulnerable’ road users first, and starts with pedestrians.
It was always recognized that ‘taming’ the area, between Tottenham Court Road and the eastern border of the borough of Camden, by introducing the cycle track(s) would also bring benefits to pedestrians. I was surprised that you didn’t include any issues with the scheme for pedestrians in your points. When I prompted you about this you responded by saying that “I’m not sure it really makes any difference to pedestrians. If anything the unpredictability and general aggressiveness of cyclists makes the streets far more dangerous at rush hour. But at other times there’s little difference.”
I actually take it as a good sign that pedestrian issues hadn’t occurred to you. No doubt if you or others reported issues you would have brought them up without needing to be prompted.
Save Bloomsbury and the ‘Taviplace’ cycle scheme | cyclableblog
Paul Gannon Thank you to @SaveBloomsbury for taking time to lay out the reasons for your dislike of the ‘Taviplace’ cycle scheme. To start, I should declare an interest in the matter in that I was responsible in the late 1990s for coming up the idea for the Taviplace cycle route and that on Royal… [Read More]