taking back our cities Mikael Colville Anderson

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Re: taking back our cities Mikael Colville Anderson

Postby mjr » 16 May 2018, 12:25pm

But what is his solution - more engineering - segregating cyclists onto the margins special facilities for us. Towards the end the irony goes into overdrive he approves of fact that the very same engineers who he castigated for segregating pedestrians were pulling the same trick on cyclists from 1915 (30:36) - but now they are "We".

Unlike 1930s UK where cyclists were being moved out of the way of faster motorists, 1915 Denmark was primarily moving faster cyclists out of the way of walkers - it's a very different emphasis which resulted in a very different approach... but that's still missing that he was using that primarily to show that there's 100 years of development to discover what works, not merely to praise the 1915 designs.

This can be clearly illustrated by the busy Copenhagen junction he shows (13:40 - videos have been shown approvingly here). The vast majority of the traffic (the cyclists) are confined to a single lane to keep the other three free for the small number of motors to have dedicated lanes for each turning manoere.

Lovely description but it would be better if it were more than half true! I believe the junction is Queen Louisa's Bridge with Søtorvet and the carriageway off the bridge is three lanes wide for all of two car lengths! And it flares out mainly to enable a more cycleway-friendly traffic light pattern - it's one carriageway lane each way over the bridge, with cycling getting about the same width as the cycleways. Unlike motoring, the number of people cycling through a junction like that is dominated far more by traffic light time than by queueing space - it's worth surrendering a two-car-length stretch of three-lane-wide carriageway if means the cycleway gets longer green lights.

Also, what isn't obvious from the photo in the talk video is that the cycleway now flares out to about twice the width at the exit, which I think is partly for the new cycleway that he mentioned which flares off right down Søtorvet to an adjacent street, but also enables the inevitable sorting out as faster-accelerating cyclists overtake slower ones when they get a green light to go ahead.

I did actually visit Copenhagen last year. Personally, I feel several Dutch cities do it better, but Copenhagen does seem to accommodate mass cycling with fairly little infrastructure. Both Dutch and Danish approaches are light years ahead of sticking paint and signs on footways that I suspect still forms most signed UK cycling provision.

He points out how (in the US particularly) pedestrians who stepped out of line and encroached the motorists space were mocked as jaywalkers - he could have gone on to point out how cyclists face similar restrictions with laws to enforce edge of road cycling - but no he is just as contemptuous of places where cycling in the road is legitimised by shared lane markings.

Cycling in the road is not legitimised by sharrows which should be interpreted as "[inappropriate word removed] arrows" - it's useless paint, or worse, it's unhelpfully painted in the door zone or used as a "stay in the gutter, scum, and let us close-pass you" direction like old-fashioned bits of Bloor Street in Toronto and you often get the same abuse as you do when they're not present. Washington Avenue in Miami Beach has sharrows but it still feels like you're taking part in an extreme sport riding on that urban dual-carriageway and the East Coast Greenway is infinitely preferable for almost all cycling journeys.

He points out how cyclists are not routable - we want to go from everywhere to everywhere else and our multiple desire lines will be the most direct
lines from our homes to our destinations. Yet what does he propose more cycle routes.

Yes, more cycle routes along the desire lines, like the one along Søtorvet.

Does he not see the bit where he justifies the cyclists invading pedestrian space as "momentumists" looking big with smug grins on their face would be entirely unacceptable if it was expressed by motorists maintaining their momentum as they pass a speed limit sign?

"smug grins" is your invention, isn't it? His description is "stupid" - or more fully, "we noticed when we zoomed in on their faces, they all had this stupid look. It's kind of like they weren't looking at anybody but they're kind of going sorry, sorry, hey everybody, yeah, I'm [rude word removed] with it, yeah, I'm sorry, yeah, OK" - I'd describe that as apologetic more than smug.

And far from being unacceptable, many (most?) motorists maintain their momentum as they pass speed limit signs (people have posted on this forum about not wanting to brake for speed limits placed where they don't see a need for them), motorists wanting to turn right (driving with two wheels on an adjacent cycleway or footway if needed), cyclists who haven't adopted primary position, ...

At 23:00 on the arrogance of space he gets his green paint pot out - (as he says "Any moron could do it") to paint cycle lanes across a junction - then when questioned as to why 37:00 Torronto's cycle infrastructure failed to deliver the cyclists he claimed would be inevitable suddenly "its just f***ing paint".

At 23:00, there's more than just painting cycle lanes - there are lights (note the stop lines) and presumably Copenhagen-style kerbs (the picture in the video seems a bit small too see) - meanwhile, the point at 37:00 is that almost all of Toronto's cycling infrastructure is just effing paint, just like most of the UK. Even Copenhagen's fairly minimalist infrastructure uses kerbs, posts, planters, bridges, lights and so on. He also mentioned Toronto's Bloor St cycleway as what he means by more than just effing paint. At the time of posting this, the link shows the trial version I think, but even that uses bollards and sometimes parked cars to stop phoney drivers straying into cyclists - I'm not sure if there have been changes to make it permanent yet.

But I suspect this was already obvious and it's just the usual selective quoting to prop up the outdated designed-only-for-motoring approach to our streets.
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Re: taking back our cities Mikael Colville Anderson

Postby reohn2 » 16 May 2018, 12:44pm

One person's story:-
Up until about 3 years ago I was riding between 7 and 9k miles a year for pleasure mostly,because my work needed a motor vehicle so didn't commute and have never commuted in a large town or city though rode through them on a regular basis.
However due to health issues,(heart attack,hip replacement,and latterly a hernia)my cycling has been minimal until very recently.
I'm only now getting back to riding again and it's a little like starting from scratch,7kg over weight,no cycling legs,and more than a bit wary of traffic,but with residual cycling in traffic knowledge and expertise.
TBH I feel extremely vulnerable,which considering I'm no gutter hugging fearful creature who's willing to stand my ground and express my rights as a road user on aa bike,I've been surprised at my fear and feelings vulnerability.
Yesterday I went for a 12mile bimble,the majority of it on a good,to very well surfaced towpath and the remaining 4miles on B roads without any cycling infrastructure attached to them in any way,roads that I've ridden since I was 10 years old.
I was closely overtaken on three occasions,one I'm sure as a punishment pass well within 1m by a transit sized van with no oncoming traffic the other two by what I'd described as unthinking incompetents.
That experience is and has been for a number years the norm on UK roads and it can be a hellova lot worse IME,I can tell stories of very dangerous driving encounters whilst cycling,and even a physical fist fight on one occasion with a driver who tried to run me off the road,along with other deliberate attempts to intimidate me/us to a greater or lesser degree whether riding solo or on the tandem or in a group.
When reporting these incidents to the police the response has been a lot less than satisfactory and in some instances dismissive b police of much higher rank than constable.

I've come to the conclusion that there's a too much traffic on UK roads than they were intended for and that cycling isn't the pleasurable experience it once was.That's not to say cycling isn't pleasurable at all,but less so the older I get and the more I vulnerable I feel.I know the stats,but it doesn't help the way the head works as an older and more vulnerable individual who was once a strong and confident person now viewing the other side of the coin so to speak.
If my complaint's to the enforcers of traffic law were taken seriously and errent motorists brought to book,things may be different from a stress level POV as word got around that the powers that be weren't standing for it any longer,and cycling would be more pleasurable once again.
But they're not,at least not in the area I live in.

With that backdrop of my own experience,I ask myself how do we make cycling more attractive to the ordinary wo/man on the street and get them out of the car even for short utility riding,the answer is to either make drivers toe the line and them that don't fined heavly and or removed from the road altogether,or provide segregated high standard cycling facilities.
TBH the answer due to the nature of the road structure in the UK is IMO both.

IMO in large towns and cities private motors but for a few special needs examples,should be banned in favour of cycling and public transport and speed limits rigidly enforced at 20mph max,not only for efficiency of personal transport but for environmental reasons,pollution being the one most obvious along with stress reduction and noise to name two others.
Whatever,cyclists and pedestrians need protection from the potential brutality of motors especially when driven badly by incompetents and those under the impression of a god given right to own the road,that protection is afforded by strict law adherence by enforcment and where possible segregation of a high and prioritised standard .
I've watched my fair share of videos of commuters in cities around the world and IMHO those with a lack of proper segregation,not paint,are by far the most stressful and downright frightening to even watch on a screen at times.
I,as a 65 year old,don't like stress I've experienced waayyyyy too much of it,and mixing with motors driven by a significant number of morons,which IME the UK has more than it's fair share of,isn't my idea of living a pleasant life.

Edited for typos and clarification
Last edited by reohn2 on 16 May 2018, 12:59pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: taking back our cities Mikael Colville Anderson

Postby mjr » 16 May 2018, 12:48pm

thirdcrank wrote:What struck me about his "momentumist" explanation - I think he said that apart from being hit by a car, the worst thing that could happen to a cyclist was being forced to stop - was his example of the rider using the pedestrian crossing, even though it was illegal. (Presumably that's in Copenhagen.) I don't see why, if conditions are so good for cyclists there, they still need to use space reserved for pedestrians. Alternatively, if doing so is Ok, why it remains illegal there.

Do you mean the rider turning right off the Queen Louise Bridge? It looks like the reason to misuse the pedestrian space to access the street forking off to the right (Vendersgade) was that turning right normally onto Søtorvet then leaves you bumping down the small kerb off the cycleway and making a left turn across four lanes of motorists to reach it, or the next possible junction south (Kjeld Langes Gade) also involved using a pedestrian crossing to make the turn although it's only two lanes to cross there but then you have to wiggle around to get past the park and to the university... and the next big junction south is basically the city centre access from the motorway from Hillerød, much worse for cycling and even further in the wrong direction - much simpler to cut across the pavement to reach the road heading directly to the uni.

As you can see if you move forwards across the junction, there was a lot of pavement there and even after putting a cycleway, two docking stations for the white e-bikes, a few of the orange phone app hire bikes and some shrubs on it, there's still probably more footway than there are people wanting to walk along a road as big as Søtorvet instead of the riverside across it.
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Re: taking back our cities Mikael Colville Anderson

Postby mjr » 16 May 2018, 1:07pm

reohn2 wrote:I,as a 65 year old,don't like stress I've experienced waayyyyy too much of it,and mixing with motors driven by a significant number of morons,which IME the UK has more than it's fair share of,isn't my idea of living a pleasant life.

I agree completely and have done for years - it's about stress more than safety. I know "fear from the rear" is mostly only fear but still it's more comfortable that at least the first sound of trouble will be a motorist scraping their tyres or wheels over a kerb, rather than a failure to decelerate when overtaking isn't possible followed by the sound of bumper on back mudguard. It's nice to check the lane behind and think that the following vehicle is a cyclist closing at maybe 20mph max, rather than a motorist closing at 50mph.

I hope you find ways to keep riding - my solution was to move somewhere on the cycleway network which, ironically, I had helped campaign to have extended here 5 miles from town, more than a decade earlier!
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Re: taking back our cities Mikael Colville Anderson

Postby thirdcrank » 16 May 2018, 1:44pm

mjr wrote:Do you mean the rider turning right off url=https://www.instantstreetview.com/@55.686242,12.564894,145.86h,-4.48p,1z]the Queen Louise Bridge[/url]? ....


I've taken some time to find the bit I was referring to and it begins at 1830 with some discussion about criticisms of cyclists as lawbreakers. He makes the point that on a proper analysis, the vast majority of cyclists obey the law and there are a couple of exceptions including "momentumists." At 1920 he uses the example of the cyclist illegally using the pedestrian crossing as a momentumist. That's why I queried:-
I don't see why, if conditions are so good for cyclists there, they still need to use space reserved for pedestrians. Alternatively, if doing so is Ok, why it remains illegal there.

There's a discussion to be had about why cyclists somewhere like the UK sometimes break the law, but this isn't the occasion. My point, if it's not already clear is why it happens in wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen, cycle-friendly old girl of a town (with apologies to Danny Kaye, Max Bygraves et al) sufficiently frequently to merit use as an example.

There's a seductive attraction for some in the idea that if cyclists misbehave it doesn't really matter.

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Re: taking back our cities Mikael Colville Anderson

Postby reohn2 » 16 May 2018, 1:53pm

thirdcrank wrote:
mjr wrote:Do you mean the rider turning right off url=https://www.instantstreetview.com/@55.686242,12.564894,145.86h,-4.48p,1z]the Queen Louise Bridge[/url]? ....


I've taken some time to find the bit I was referring to and it begins at 1830 with some discussion about criticisms of cyclists as lawbreakers. He makes the point that on a proper analysis, the vast majority of cyclists obey the law and there are a couple of exceptions including "momentumists." At 1920 he uses the example of the cyclist illegally using the pedestrian crossing as a momentumist. That's why I queried:-
I don't see why, if conditions are so good for cyclists there, they still need to use space reserved for pedestrians. Alternatively, if doing so is Ok, why it remains illegal there.

There's a discussion to be had about why cyclists somewhere like the UK sometimes break the law, but this isn't the occasion. My point, if it's not already clear is why it happens in wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen, cycle-friendly old girl of a town (with apologies to Danny Kaye, Max Bygraves et al) sufficiently frequently to merit use as an example.

There's a seductive attraction for some in the idea that if cyclists misbehave it doesn't really matter.

I really don't get this at all,there'll always be those willing to break the law for their own selfish interests,the momentumists are such,did M C-A really think this was an OK thing to do,in what is IMO an aside to the debate of decent infrastructure that encourages cycling in towns and cities,and wider environs.
Mixing it with fast self interested motors driven sometime by morons in a land with little or no effective policing is the issue and how to solve it,surely.
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Re: taking back our cities Mikael Colville Anderson

Postby Bmblbzzz » 16 May 2018, 2:26pm

Is there a transcript of his presentation? It sounds as if it might be interesting but I'd rather read it than watch a 45-minute video.

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Re: taking back our cities Mikael Colville Anderson

Postby thirdcrank » 17 May 2018, 7:13am



I missed this post when I was pondering about mine, but it illustrates the point I tried to make about the wrong sort of cyclists.

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Re: taking back our cities Mikael Colville Anderson

Postby reohn2 » 17 May 2018, 9:16am

thirdcrank wrote:


I missed this post when I was pondering about mine, but it illustrates the point I tried to make about the wrong sort of cyclists.

I am a vehicular cyclist,but not by choice for 99% of my road cycling high traffic volume areas,the other 1% is mostly illegal in the strictest sense as it's on footways that I deem as safer or better surfaced than the roads.
Mostly the cycling infrastructure I encounter in the UK is utterly rubbish in that it's poorly designed and or layed,doesn't serve it's purpose or doesn't go where I want it to(no desire lines).So I'm forced,in high density motor traffc areas to 'mix it' with motors,some of which(an increasing number IME) are driven by agressive MGIF-can't stand cyclists-speeding-close overtaking-idiotic morons.
Whilst I've personally never been in collision or injured by a motor,that's more to do with a philosophy of not trusting any other road user whatever their mode and a high level of road craft built up over a lifetime of cycling,motorcycling and driving,rather than other's care for my wellbeing,all of which adds up to stress and extreme vigilance in traffic for the idiots and the resultant personal injury should I make the wrong descisions at any given time whilst cycling.
Given that I can't see the attitude of significant number of agressive idiots driving changing anytime soon,due to a complete lack of policing,lenient not fit for purpose penalties and a good proportion of illegal drivers with no insurance,MOT,licence,etc currently on UK roads due to that lack of policing.
I'd like to be able to ride on the road without that not if but when stress factor feeling,and I'm convinced most people who'd like to use the bike for pleasure or utility are deterred from doing so for those reasons.
The answer IMO is motorists being made to care for the vulnerable road user and particularly those who ride on the road with them,so drivers don't dare treat people who ride bikes as second class citizens to be abused and ridiculed.That and decent infrastructure bilt to a high stanndard to encourage cycling not discourage it as is the case presently.
The current attitude by all strata of government of cycling being a problem rather than an answer as traffic volumes increase isn't working,not even for the motorist,let alone the cyclist.

EDITED for clarification
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Re: taking back our cities Mikael Colville Anderson

Postby pjclinch » 18 May 2018, 8:41am

Pete Owens wrote:There seems to be a complete disconnect between his excellent analysis of the problems and his proposed solutions.

He starts well by pointing out how city streets used to be democratic - until engineers (particularly in the US) started to design them for motors by segregating pedestrians onto the margins with special facilities for them (sidewalk and crosswalks - pavements and crossings in the UK). All supposedly for the safety of the pedestrian but in reality for the convenience of motorists. But what is his solution - more engineering


That's a description of how things got to be the way they are from the way they were. Streets being very democratic spaces is what we had, but there is no clear implication that that's what we still want, or should want or have.

Shared space has its place, but it's a limited one. So we have the "democratic" end of Exhibition Road, up near South Ken tube, and that works very well, but pop up to between the V&A and Nat Hist and it's just another motor-centric road.

Unless we're trying to go back to what we had before (and I don't think we are in a great many cases) then more engineering is not necessarily ridiculous or ironic.

Pete Owens wrote:He points out how cyclists are not routable - we want to go from everywhere to everywhere else and our multiple desire lines will be the most direct lines from our homes to our destinations. Yet what does he propose more cycle routes.


Cycle traffic changes with volume. London's CS routes have shown pretty well that if you get a good engineered strategic route it encourages cycling. But it's certainly not the case that everyone using a CS route lives right alongside, or there destination is right alongside.

"Direct" lines are "maximum ease", not "as the crow flies". If I want to get from The Shard to The Tower I'm not going to want to take the crow-flight route, unless I've got a jet pack: I'll detour via a bridge. And on a trip across a dense urban landscape it's quite possibly the case that taking an engineered strategic route for at least part of it makes the overall ease greater, even if the overall distance is greater too.

So in practice effective Desire Lines get from where we are to a good way of doing a big chunk of the journey and then from that route to the final destination.

Engineering is not at all at odds with bikes not always needing it.

Pete Owens wrote:At 23:00 on the arrogance of space he gets his green paint pot out - (as he says "Any moron could do it") to paint cycle lanes across a junction - then when questioned as to why 37:00 Torronto's cycle infrastructure failed to deliver the cyclists he claimed would be inevitable suddenly "its just f***ing paint".


If you have nothing but paint it's rubbish. But as the sharks-teeth indicating priority on Dutch junctions show, some paint can be quite handy. Engineering isn't the solution. Paint isn't the solution. But places with a successful cycle culture tend to use both, in some places but not others.

Pete.
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Re: taking back our cities Mikael Colville Anderson

Postby thirdcrank » 18 May 2018, 9:24am

I'd have got much more from a detailed, objective analysis from a cycling perspective of traffic conditions in Copenhagen and Denmark more generally.

As cyclists, I think most of us have twigged that motor traffic can present dangers yet motor car ownership is very attractive. Beyond that, there's the fact that the availability of motor transport has fundamentally changed both settlement patterns, and the manufacture and distribution of goods. I've posted before that central place theory has been turned upside down: instead of the layout being decided by how far somebody can walk, travelling distance is less important and has been replaced by things like road capacity and availability of parking. This began in the wide open spaces of North America helped by the once abundant supply of oil and unhindered by a historic built environment. European countries, including the UK in this, have, as the presentation points out, tried to copy the american model.

I'd like some objective insight into Copenhagen with a tad less MCA.

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Re: taking back our cities Mikael Colville Anderson

Postby PRL » 18 May 2018, 5:15pm

pjclinch wrote:
Pete Owens wrote:There seems to be a complete disconnect between his excellent analysis of the problems and his proposed solutions.

He starts well by pointing out how city streets used to be democratic - until engineers (particularly in the US) started to design them for motors by segregating pedestrians onto the margins with special facilities for them (sidewalk and crosswalks - pavements and crossings in the UK). All supposedly for the safety of the pedestrian but in reality for the convenience of motorists. But what is his solution - more engineering


That's a description of how things got to be the way they are from the way they were. Streets being very democratic spaces is what we had, but there is no clear implication that that's what we still want, or should want or have.

Shared space has its place, but it's a limited one. So we have the "democratic" end of Exhibition Road, up near South Ken tube, and that works very well, but pop up to between the V&A and Nat Hist and it's just another motor-centric road.

Unless we're trying to go back to what we had before (and I don't think we are in a great many cases) then more engineering is not necessarily ridiculous or ironic.


Pete.


Simply keep through motor traffic out and shared space works.

In the limited zones where through motor traffic is essential ( which should not include the N end of Exhibition Road ) then you need the heavy engineering.

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Re: taking back our cities Mikael Colville Anderson

Postby thirdcrank » 21 May 2018, 10:23am

I don't think the problems are restricted to through traffic.

MCA painted a picture of residential streets which were a social space. That's exactly what it was like when I was a child. One of the biggest changes over the intervening 60-70 years has been the increase in on street parking from nil to at least one car outside every house. The things we used to be able to do like playing football and other ball games are now almost impossible because the parked vehicles take up so much space and their owners are so worried about damage.

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Re: taking back our cities Mikael Colville Anderson

Postby reohn2 » 21 May 2018, 10:36am

thirdcrank wrote:I don't think the problems are restricted to through traffic.

MCA painted a picture of residential streets which were a social space. That's exactly what it was like when I was a child. One of the biggest changes over the intervening 60-70 years has been the increase in on street parking from nil to at least one car outside every house. The things we used to be able to do like playing football and other ball games are now almost impossible because the parked vehicles take up so much space and their owners are so worried about damage.

Not to mention parking on the footways,especially in older terraced streets.Footway parking is now so endemic that vehicles are now parked as such on wide roads where there's no need to.
I see footways parkers on a regular basis completely blocking any footway access for pedestrians,such parking has become a safety issue in many areas.
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