Meeting the Highwaymen - Hints and Tips

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gaz
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Meeting the Highwaymen - Hints and Tips

Postby gaz » 8 May 2018, 10:52pm

Following on from drawing up a lenghty response to a public consultation on changes to two pseudo-motorway junctions, I have been invited to meet the Highwaymen next week to discuss their proposals for NMU routes through/around/between the junctions.

The guest list includes the scheme consultants (both PR and technical), Highways England, County and Borough councils, developpers and perhaps the British Horse Society. I appear to be the only cyclist in the village.

I'm expecting a concerted effort to fob me off and list all the excuses why IAN195/16 should not be applied in this case. This will not be the first time I've banged my head against the brick wall by e-mail or at public consultations, it will be my first time attending a meeting of this nature.

Any useful approaches to adopt, any pitfalls to avoid?
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Re: Meeting the Highwaymen - Hints and Tips

Postby Username » 9 May 2018, 3:13am

What are pseudo-motorway junctions?
What are NMU routes?NMU?
What is IAN195/16?

Kind of struggling to understand what you're actually saying.

thirdcrank
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Re: Meeting the Highwaymen - Hints and Tips

Postby thirdcrank » 9 May 2018, 8:19am

I take it from your OP that your submission hasn't changed much, if anything.

Thorough preparation is vital to anything like this - knowledge of the proposals and the relevant official guidelines etc - and you appear to have done that already.

I fear that consultation of this type is an end in itself: one more box to tick, a bit like making sure you have your passport before setting off for the airport. The likelihood of somebody involved saying "Why didn't we think of that?" is small. Your presence can even be used to imply that cyclists approved the scheme. It may be an achievement to ensure that your reservations are at least logged rather than brushed out.

I only remember one big Highways Agency showpiece consultation and it wasn't about a detailed scheme like this but rather a discussion about the future of the M62, back in the halcyon days when Two Jags was reducing traffic levels. :lol: A lot of the official evidence was about unnecessary travel eg the high number of HGV's returning unloaded. The specialist "facilitator" had travelled from Brighton of all places to Huddersfield and his opening presentation about the problems faced by a facilitator travelling so far to facilitate was spoiled by my "Is your journey really necessary?" comment.

In one of the breaks I had a very useful chat with the lady representing the BHS, mainly about the perennial controversy of how to approach horses from behind on the road. Horses are even rarer than cyclists on the M62 of course, but her concern was how ragwort - poisonous to horses - was allowed to spread unchecked on motorway verges. One of the highwaymen was dismissive when she raised this during one of the sessions so I gave him the hard word. One of the highwaymen spouted about modern lean-burn engines and I politely suggested he should experiment by running a pipe from his exhaust into his car.

So, with no tangible scheme to discuss, nothing was ever going to be settled, but the box marked "consultation" had been ticked. And I'd politely scored a couple of hits about the weakness in their logic but to no lasting effect. Two Jags is history.

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Re: Meeting the Highwaymen - Hints and Tips

Postby pwa » 9 May 2018, 9:53am

For me, any NMU (non-motorised user?) facility on a mega roundabout should not only be safer than sticking to the regular motorised carriageway; it should also be at least as quick a way round, no less convenient, and it should be swept regularly and gritted when the roads are gritted. If it ain't going to be maintained like the road I'll use the road.

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Re: Meeting the Highwaymen - Hints and Tips

Postby AlaninWales » 9 May 2018, 10:25am

Username wrote:What are pseudo-motorway junctions?
What are NMU routes?NMU?
What is IAN195/16?

Kind of struggling to understand what you're actually saying.

Pseudo-motorway junctions: Junctions between roads which are designed for high-speed motor use, with slipway lanes to allow motor vehicles to maintain the speed limit (or near) through the junction. This causes issues for NMUs continueing along the road, who have to cross the width of these slip roads at a wide angle to the fast-moving motorised traffic.

NMU routes: Facilities or routes for Non Motorised Users to bypass the dangerous pseudo-motorway junction, turbo roundabout etc. Some vehicular cyclists object to these routes as (apparently) they prefer to spend time in the path of 70mph motons.

IAN195/16: Easily found http://www.standardsforhighways.co.uk/ha/standards/ians/pdfs/ian195.pdf

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Re: Meeting the Highwaymen - Hints and Tips

Postby Vorpal » 9 May 2018, 10:40am

As TH says, preparation is key. Bring everything you might possibly need with you, well organised & easy to find. Do you have data? Do you need data?

I have sometimes done a cycle count in preparation for such meetings. Official data almost always underestimate actual numbers because they either use counts from the DfT or county database, or there are limitations to the official count, such as, they have only counted on the main carriageway, and not included pavement cyclists, or only counted during off peak times, and extrapolated, etc. If you get other volunteers (it's best if two people at a time do it, for verification). If there is a significant difference between an independent count and official counts, you can also request that they install a camera for a few days to collect actual numbers using the junction.

Have you considered if there are concessions that could be made in order to achieve some part of what you want? Are there acceptable alternatives? For example, could they invest, instead, in a nearby quiet route and prioritise it for cyclists.

Establishing a personal rapport can be helpful. Do you know anyone who knows any of the key people involved? Has worked with them before? I used to ask a local cycling officer who seemed to know all of the folks at the CC who dealt with infrastructure.

Also, if there are other consultees invited (see if you can find out, if you don't already know), contact them ahead of time. See if you can find some common ground, or establish an alliance. Ramblers and BHS both share many concerns with cyclists and can make good allies. Organisations of disabled people can, as well. If any Sustrans routes are affected, they may also have an interest.

Lastly, if concessions are not possible, or you've already made them, and not gotten enough in exchange, just be stubborn. I have know of a case where objections from just a couple of people were considered significant enough to raise to the Secretary of State. Clear, well-written objections some have power, even if (from their perspective) it's just something to be overcome. Hold it against them, if necessary.

They obviously think that your opinion has some meaning, or you would not have been invited to the meeting.

Good luck! :)
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Re: Meeting the Highwaymen - Hints and Tips

Postby squeaker » 9 May 2018, 10:45am

Ensure that both roads are on the strategic network ie Highways England managed, then memorise IAN195/16, making sure to be adamant when it specifies a requirement, and just pushy with recommendations. If not strategic network then you're going to have an uphill struggle, with IAN195/16 as a best practice guide only. Presumably you already have your preferred option for each junction mapped out in some form? Maybe take some illustrations on a USB stick (you might get lucky with the AV equipment)?
Good luck!
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Re: Meeting the Highwaymen - Hints and Tips

Postby Vorpal » 9 May 2018, 10:49am

At least if they are in the same meeting, HE can't slough it off on the local authority & vice versa!
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Re: Meeting the Highwaymen - Hints and Tips

Postby mjr » 9 May 2018, 11:58am

Vorpal wrote:At least if they are in the same meeting, HE can't slough it off on the local authority & vice versa!

I like your optimism!

Others have given the good points. Most important is having to hand and being able to use IAN 195/16, latest counts and maybe anything from the likes of https://PCT.bike that suggests the junction is critical to cycling.
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Re: Meeting the Highwaymen - Hints and Tips

Postby thirdcrank » 9 May 2018, 3:49pm

On the question of counts of cyclists, a phrase highwaymen are quick to use when it suits their purpose is "supressed demand." Unfortunately, their purpose is only ever increasing provision for motor traffic.

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Re: Meeting the Highwaymen - Hints and Tips

Postby AlaninWales » 9 May 2018, 5:55pm

thirdcrank wrote:On the question of counts of cyclists, a phrase highwaymen are quick to use when it suits their purpose is "supressed demand." Unfortunately, their purpose is only ever increasing provision for motor traffic.

Sounds a potentially useful question:
"Can you tell us how you have measured or accounted for the suppressed demand on these routes?"

Allow Highwayman to talk about motor traffic for ten minutes, then as he runs out of steam:

"And the suppressed demand for unmotorised traffic and Active Travel is accounted for by what measures?"

:lol:

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Re: Meeting the Highwaymen - Hints and Tips

Postby gaz » 9 May 2018, 9:38pm

Thanks for the replies.

I'll be sure to reacquiant myself with IAN195/16 and my consultation response and to have copies with me. I'll also have another look over the consultation docs and perhaps pull out some of the worst features.

Invites went out cc rather than bcc so I have an opportunity to look for allies. The list of invitees is not the same as a list of attendees but it's a start. I know the county cycling officer and the transport rep from one of the boroughs, although I doubt they'll be looking for as much as I am.

Deciding where to make any compromises will be tricky, frankly I think it's going to be a fight to get anything that wasn't on the table at the time of the statutory consultation and there really wasn't much on the table at the time.
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Re: Meeting the Highwaymen - Hints and Tips

Postby Vorpal » 9 May 2018, 10:12pm

gaz wrote:Deciding where to make any compromises will be tricky, frankly I think it's going to be a fight to get anything that wasn't on the table at the time of the statutory consultation and there really wasn't much on the table at the time.

Oh well, then be stubborn. And good luck.
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Re: Meeting the Highwaymen - Hints and Tips

Postby gaz » 16 May 2018, 11:42pm

Hmm. It was an interesting meeting.

HE have basically been designing to TA90/05 as they view the scheme as remodelling the existing roads and feel IAN195/16 is for new highway. It would appear that TA90/05 bases the need for segregated/signalised crossings on levels of NMUs (currently low, good evidence for suppressed demand) whereas IAN195/16 uses motor vehicle numbers.

Much of the meeting reprised the plans as (poorly) set out in the consultation with reference to some small additional/alternative tweaks. The tweaks hadn't been modelled from either an engineering or traffic flow perspective, HE were seeking feedback on them as concepts but could not say whether they were viable.

There was no prospect of extending the scheme area to seek to resolve NMU issues just outside the proposed construction zone, however there was some discussion of using additional DfT funding pots to add coherence to routes beyond the junctions. That will be divisive. Pedestrian, equestrian and cycling advocates have differing priorities.

At the end of the day I think the final scheme is likely to be better than originally proposed but not by as much as I would like to see.
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gaz
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Re: Meeting the Highwaymen - Hints and Tips

Postby gaz » 17 May 2018, 12:32am

thirdcrank wrote:I take it from your OP that your submission hasn't changed much, if anything.

There was an admission that the NMU schemes lacked strategy and clarity. There wasn't much evidence that either had been added in the interim, apparently that was one of the aims of the meeting.

thirdcrank wrote:Thorough preparation is vital to anything like this - knowledge of the proposals and the relevant official guidelines etc - and you appear to have done that already.

I hadn't prepared as well as I could have done. I knew I was interpreting IAN195/16 favourably rather than paying attention to its "get out of jail free" clauses. A better knowledge of TA90/05 would have been useful.

thirdcrank wrote:I fear that consultation of this type is an end in itself: one more box to tick,

That was certainly the feeling of the Cycling UK rtr rep who attended.

Vorpal wrote:Do you have data? Do you need data?

I have sometimes done a cycle count in preparation for such meetings.

I had no data on NMU usage. A cycle count could have been useful.

Vorpal wrote:Also, if there are other consultees invited (see if you can find out, if you don't already know), contact them ahead of time. See if you can find some common ground, or establish an alliance. Ramblers and BHS both share many concerns with cyclists and can make good allies. Organisations of disabled people can, as well. If any Sustrans routes are affected, they may also have an interest.

I had already had some contact with the local Cycling UK rtr rep, borough transport officer and the corporation behind the Garden City that is one of the drivers for the junction improvements. We were broadly singing from the same hymn sheet. BHS were not in our group during the discussion stage, there is much common ground but some different priorities.

Vorpal wrote:Lastly, if concessions are not possible, or you've already made them, and not gotten enough in exchange, just be stubborn.

I decided to go with a stubborn insistence that the principles of IAN195/16 should be followed, they are the future whereas TA90/05 is the past. In terms of concessions it became clear that some things were going to be more achievable than others so I tried to focus on those.

Vorpal wrote:They obviously think that your opinion has some meaning, or you would not have been invited to the meeting.

Yes, although sadly it seemed that the scheme consultants had seen and appreciated my consultation response but that HE themselves had not. Indeed HE remained blissfully ignorant of the poor state of existing NMU routes in the area.

thirdcrank wrote:On the question of counts of cyclists, a phrase highwaymen are quick to use when it suits their purpose is "supressed demand".

They mentioned it before I did, there is a strong case for potential NMU growth.
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