Thing is though, with the town full of traffic, why would anyone want to cycle amongst all that. It's bloody lethal. That's why you only see nobhead men under 50 like me out on bikes and not normal people such as women, children and the elderly. The only way of getting around this is to use the stick of removing cars from the town centre and the carrot of building proper Dutch style cycle and walking infrastructure that puts the most vulnerable of road users first.
Ha ha, a fellow MAMIL I see (although I'm not convinced I'm quite MA yet...) This is a chicken-and-egg situation...people won't switch cars for bikes until there is a perception of safety on the roads, but that perception of safety is not reached until you have a critical mass of cyclists on the roads. I'm not convinced that Dutch-style cycle infrastructure is the necessarily the answer (see Stevenage for an example of a town with a superb segregated cycle network that is virtually empty http://www.roadswerenotbuiltforcars.com/stevenage/
). A change in motorist mentality is required to recognise cyclists as legitimate road users and not just obstacles in the way.
buzz wrote:I may have mentioned this on the old forum, but I believe there are some measures that could be taken to alleviate some of the traffic problems in the town. Firstly, the cab rank outside The Woolpack could be moved to outside Deco's in Parliament Square and Red lines installed from the Old Cross traffic lights up to Parliament Square, which would include no parking/waiting for Blue Badge holders as well. At present, vehicles waiting at the lights to turn right to go to Bengeo conflict with buses and other large vehicles when there are cabs and Blue Badge holders (and people going to the chip shop etc) parked there. This causes a tailback with vehicles from St. Andrew Street blocking the lights. When the lights turn green for Bengeo bound traffic no-one can go anywhere. In addition, by placing the cab rank outside Deco's where there is a limited time parking bay at present, it would be better placed for evening revellers using The Blackbirds, Hertford House, etc, thus reducing the likelihood of disorder problems in the evenings. Secondly the parking bays in St Andrew Street opposite Beckwith's should be scrapped. It is the narrowest part of the street, and when vehicles are parked there, buses and other large vehicles cannot pass if there are vehicles coming in the opposite direction. No doubt the planners would argue this helps to slow traffic, but anyone who knows the area would know that is a nonsense. Another problem that needs to be addressed is the situation between the War Memorial and The Shire Hall. At present there are frequent 'Mexican stand-offs' between buses travelling towards the War Memorial and vehicles travelling from it. This often results in buses having to mount the pavement in order to pass, causing damage to the paving stones. This could be made a 'Buses Only' route in both directions with an execption for delivery vehicles going to Market Place. Initially this would have to be policed as people would be inclined to take a chance. As it is, I often see private cars and vans contravening the 'Buses only' restriction. At present, with all vehicles entering the town centre from the War Memorial we have the situation where there are more entry points into the town than exits. Finally, why not open up an exit route from Sainsbury's by allowing vehicles to pass through the Hartham Car park, over the bridge and onto Port Hill. None of the above measures would cost much to implement, and surely they must be worth a try.
All sensible suggestions for improving traffic flow, although nothing that would actually reduce the number of cars. So rather like loosening the belt to cure being fat. I think both aspects need to be tackled. The fact remains that there are just too many cars in town, whether they be parked on pavements and junctions or crawling through the congested streets.