14 March 2015

What's the point of 'infrastructure'?

I'd like to think that the point of infrastructure was to decrease conflict and increase safety of all road users, but especially the most vulnerable.  So, roads should be designed to enable pedestrians to cross safely and easily.  Too often this isn't the case and unnecessary barriers are put in their way  (as shown here and here).  

Sadly, this is too often the effect of cycle infrastructure too.  And this is frustrating because pedestrians' subjective safety matters too.  The two most common examples  are chicanes  and shared use pavements.  But Edinburgh seems to have invented some new and particularly baffling versions.  

'Normal' shared use has a pavement with some blue signs in the air, that most people don't see or understand.  But since shared use should only be used on wide pavements with relatively low footfall, its rarely a huge cause of problems (except misunderstandings, of which there are many). 

But the video above is from North Meadow Walk in Edinburgh - a much used commuter, jogging, dog-walking and leisure route. This is an intensively used path, where markings have been painted in such a way to suggest to pedestrians coming from the east that cyclists should be on the right hand side of the path and to pedestrians coming from the west that they should be on the left. Maybe.  It's not clear.  

Similar paint is used on the short cut-through path on the other side of the toucan crossing.  It's been raised many times as confusing. But instead of improving it, the Council has seen fit to replicate it.  On an even shorter length of path. 

What's the point to putting in 'infrastructure' (if we can call paint that), when it confuses users and creates conflict?  

1 comment:

Paul Milne said...

It boggles the mind that with all that space there is not a separate network of cycle paths all over the Meadows. There is absolutely no need for shared paths at all.