Raising the Standards of walking and cycling in Scotland

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Wanlock Dod
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Raising the Standards of walking and cycling in Scotland

Postby Wanlock Dod » 9 Feb 2019, 4:59pm

From Sustrans: Raising the Standards of walking and cycling in Scotland
Some kind of active travel conference thing that happened in Dundee recently as far as I can gather, although given the track record so far for Scotland I'm pretty sure my expectations have been appropriately managed already.

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Re: Raising the Standards of walking and cycling in Scotland

Postby MikeF » 10 Feb 2019, 5:53pm

From what I've seen where Sustrans has been involved is that implementation of their cycling schemes seem to be always poor. However as that is the body that councils usually consult, it seems councils think they are providing good facilities, when it's often rubbish. Perhaps someone can prove me wrong.
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Re: Raising the Standards of walking and cycling in Scotland

Postby pjclinch » 14 Feb 2019, 10:46am

Though it was in Dundee I wasn't along myself, but I know folk who were and they reckoned it was pretty good. There was a bit of a ruckus in the local paper about Danish presenter Mikael Colville-Andersen saying what he thought but local council Cycle Convener was broadly in agreement. Dundee City Council are heading along the right lines, though not as fast as the local Cycle Forum would like, but they're currently trying to get funding for IMHO a pretty good set of schemes called Dundee Northern Links, which is a bit more like it than the Waterfront area alluded to by M C-A in his speech.

MikeF wrote:From what I've seen where Sustrans has been involved is that implementation of their cycling schemes seem to be always poor. However as that is the body that councils usually consult, it seems councils think they are providing good facilities, when it's often rubbish. Perhaps someone can prove me wrong.


It's not always that straightforward. For example, when I pointed out some hilariously below-par "access gates" to the local Access Officer (a thoroughly good egg and a good example of the council getting the Right Man For the Job) he followed it up and Engineering said they'd built it to Sustrans standards. A quick download of the Sustrans standard at the time suggested that was not the case, and they'd been working with one that was a decade or more out of date. Sustrans today do know what they're on about. In the early days of the NCN that was very much less the case.

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Re: Raising the Standards of walking and cycling in Scotland

Postby mjr » 14 Feb 2019, 11:59am

pjclinch wrote:[...] he followed it up and Engineering said they'd built it to Sustrans standards. A quick download of the Sustrans standard at the time suggested that was not the case, and they'd been working with one that was a decade or more out of date. Sustrans today do know what they're on about.

They do indeed know it: IIRC, they reckon 42% of the Sustrans-numbered network is "very poor" and we shouldn't expect many new routes from them before 2040 because it's going to take that long to fix the current ones.

As well as stubbornly sticking to standards a decade or more out of date, I think another favourite of highways departments is to claim to be following a standard but misinterpret any ambiguous wording in one section and simply ignore any wordings in other sections that conflict.
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Re: Raising the Standards of walking and cycling in Scotland

Postby pjclinch » 14 Feb 2019, 2:27pm

mjr wrote:
As well as stubbornly sticking to standards a decade or more out of date, I think another favourite of highways departments is to claim to be following a standard but misinterpret any ambiguous wording in one section and simply ignore any wordings in other sections that conflict.


Harsh... but fair :(
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Re: Raising the Standards of walking and cycling in Scotland

Postby Vorpal » 14 Feb 2019, 2:46pm

Unless they have changed in the last few years Sustrans are all to ready to make 'concessions' in order to get funding. Not only have they argued against other cyclists objections, but also said wishy washy things in the aftermath, like
We're very sorry. We know it's not ideal, but it was a condition of the installation from [pick your least favourite highways authority].


They also have a few too many folks in fairly important positions who think the barriers are not just concessions, but a necessary evil, despite their own guidance.
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Re: Raising the Standards of walking and cycling in Scotland

Postby pjclinch » 14 Feb 2019, 3:35pm

Vorpal wrote:Unless they have changed in the last few years Sustrans are all to ready to make 'concessions' in order to get funding. Not only have they argued against other cyclists objections, but also said wishy washy things in the aftermath, like
We're very sorry. We know it's not ideal, but it was a condition of the installation from [pick your least favourite highways authority].


They also have a few too many folks in fairly important positions who think the barriers are not just concessions, but a necessary evil, despite their own guidance.


Part of the issue is, I suspect, that it's different people doing different things in different places to different ends, plus those things and people change over time. When it comes to actual design these days I'd say this GCN video suggests they're a Good Thing. This is a far cry from the "never mind the quality, feel the width" approach of much of the early NCN.

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Re: Raising the Standards of walking and cycling in Scotland

Postby mjr » 14 Feb 2019, 10:20pm

Vorpal wrote:Unless they have changed in the last few years Sustrans are all to ready to make 'concessions' in order to get funding.

I think recently-new CEO Xavier Brice may have brought a few extra backbones with him. Time will tell!
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Re: Raising the Standards of walking and cycling in Scotland

Postby Vorpal » 15 Feb 2019, 9:42am

mjr wrote:
Vorpal wrote:Unless they have changed in the last few years Sustrans are all to ready to make 'concessions' in order to get funding.

I think recently-new CEO Xavier Brice may have brought a few extra backbones with him. Time will tell!

I hope so!

The person with whom I had the most vociferous disagreements is happily no longer with Sustrans, though they succumbed to the dark side (now works for a highways contractor :shock: ) where they can carry on damaging the cycling network with nonsense about barriers being necessary.
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Re: Raising the Standards of walking and cycling in Scotland

Postby ambodach » 15 Feb 2019, 8:55pm

I have discovered a problem on Sustrans route 78 where posts in the middle of the path do not leave enough room for my latest venture which is an Ice Recumbent. I checked out the bit I mostly use with my Brompton recently but even without a tape measure there are potential problem bits. Not been up on the trike yet as have had no room to carry it on my last couple of trips. May be interesting times.