19 February 2015

5 years for two yellow lines?

In March 2013 I blogged about a dropped kerb that had finally been installed, 3 years after I'd first raised with the council - and others had already flagged it to them at that point.  We celebrated its arrive with bubbly, and gave a small libation to the ancestors as well.  It was a tiny change to our 'streets cape' but one that we notice and enjoy every time we use it.

Isn't it lovely? photo by chdot 

Except often we can't actually use it, because there are cars parked over it.  Now, two years on, we finally have double yellows not just on this dropped kerb, but - I hope - on all the entrances to the park and canal path.  You can still see the vestiges of a parking place on the picture above, but hopefully the yellow lines will discourage most from blocking it.

So, five years for a drop kerb, on a route that sees hundreds of cyclists everyday.

A victory?

Maybe.   If only anti-cyclist infrastructure didn't get installed on a whim, and usually badly.  Why is that a dropped kerb takes 5 years, while chicanes can be put up in weeks after a single complaint?  The dropped kerb itself may be minor, but it captures the inequities of urban governance regarding active travel as does  the city's repeated inability to install chicanes properly.

Coincidentally, it was pointed out to me earlier today that the Active Travel Action plan includes this action:

Set up a process for reporting missing dropped kerbs/identifying priority new dropped kerbs by the end of 2011, and then implement the highest priority ones.

Going about this in an ad-hoc way is clearly a waste of campaigners and council time, as well as inequitable to areas with less shouty campaigners.  

Do you have some kerbs you'd like dropped in less than 5 years?  Let's make a list. 


Hankchief said...

There's a couple for your list on Family Network 9. By the Jaguar garage on Glasgow Road and Shell garage on Maybury Road. Was flagged a long time ago.

Then you have East Craigs which was built in the 1970's devoid of dropped kerbs. I counted 20+ within an hour's ride. To make matters worse when they did put in a dropped kerb on Craigs Road it was gated off as it was just for council vehicles...

Stephan Matthiesen said...

Important issue, but please don't start another list. One of the problems is that some issues are mailed to council, others moaned about on twitter, described in various blogs and fora, or brought to councillors directly. This makes it very difficult to work out which issues affect most people and should have priority, and many good ideas just get lost.

Can we not just all try to use one appropriate tool to record issues, ideas and suggestions? The best tool I've seen so far is cyclescape (http://www.cyclescape.org) where you can mark issues on a map, and more importantly, others can see, vote and comment, so that it can be used for transparent crowdsourcing.

With easier, transparent crowdsourcing perhaps even those people can have a voice who are not vocal, too busy or already struggling with their lives and are just invisible in traditional campaigning.

Sara Dorman said...

Cyclescape is potentially handy, but would be better to have a tool that is not cycle-specific, and one that council would actually look at?

The point about the list is that the council is supposed to have one, and has an agreed target to deal with them. seems better to work with them?

Stephan Matthiesen said...

But you can compile a list from Cyclescape that can be sent to council.

The point is that it would be transparent. I know I can write to council and have done so, but then it disappears in the system and you never find out if other people have the same issue, if it is looked at, etc.

With a transparent crowdsourcing tool you can prove to council that xx other people have voted for a particular problem so that you're not just an individual busybody who can be ignored.

Stephan Matthiesen said...

Another point: Yes, it would be good if the Council has a transparent system. But they don't. So isn't it better to use the best tool that is actually available, rather than wait for the Council?

Sara Dorman said...

sure. but it needs a critical mass. i have tried to use cyclescape and encouraged others to do so. gave up because of lack of interest.

Stephan Matthiesen said...

Ok, if nobody is using it, it's pointless. I'm sorry, I don't think I understand what you meant by "make a list". Is this something you want to compile for the active travel forum or for living streets? That would be really great!

I have two suggestions: E end of Ravenswood Avenue (end of path that leads to the toucan), and one at Old Dalkeith Rd, at the access to the recycling centre, to connect to Dinmont Drive. I've already sent these to council but no idea if anything is happening.