sustrans cuts routes

Pete Owens
Posts: 1832
Joined: 7 Jul 2008, 12:52am

Re: sustrans cuts routes

Postby Pete Owens » 19 Jul 2020, 9:00pm

The consistency of the NCN is often criticised. This looks like an attempt to sort this by systematically removing the useable sections. Now you know to definitely avoid following any Sustrans signage.

User avatar
gaz
Posts: 14007
Joined: 9 Mar 2007, 12:09pm
Location: Kent, lorry park of England

Re: sustrans cuts routes

Postby gaz » 20 Jul 2020, 12:18am

Richard Fairhurst wrote:There'll still be plenty of signposted cycle routes that don't meet this standard, including many of the sections of NCN dropped today - they just won't have NCN number patches on them.

Here's an example.

2008 NCN17, Maidstone - Rochester.

NCN was re-routed 2011(?), the local authority chose to keep the route as part of its own network.

2012 Local route,Maidstone - Rochester.

2019 Local route with signed link to NCN1 & NCN17, Maidstone - Rochester.

oneten wrote:Glancing at the above updated NCN map, I'm surprised to see that the section of NCN2 at Fairlight between Rye and Hastings hasn't been removed (though it is in blue as 'on road' with a red square ).

The stretch you mention is marked as "Very Poor"on the NCN review map, as are many other on road sections of the NCN. There are considerable efforts being made to either identify alternative traffic free alignments or ways to reduce traffic speed and/or volume on such stretches but it will not be possible everywhere. I believe this announcement is very much phase one of removing NCN designation, there will be more to follow.
2020 : To redundancy ... and beyond!

thirdcrank
Posts: 29099
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: sustrans cuts routes

Postby thirdcrank » 20 Jul 2020, 6:51am

I suspect that the problem may be that local authorities - especially the departments which meet the needs of the big misters driving motors - don't covet Sustrans NCN signs in the same way that chefs covet Michelin stars.

mattsccm
Posts: 3317
Joined: 28 Nov 2009, 9:44pm

Re: sustrans cuts routes

Postby mattsccm » 20 Jul 2020, 7:46am

I'll play Devils advocate. :D
What purpose do these routes serve?
I have found a few links that are permissive and therefore a bonus but virtually all follow public highways. Unless a cycleway status enforces speed or upkeep restrictions the designation is not needed surely.
Not considering knowing where the routes go as I assume people are clever enough to work that out or damn well should be. :D

thirdcrank
Posts: 29099
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: sustrans cuts routes

Postby thirdcrank » 20 Jul 2020, 8:26am

The history is that the Blair government swept into power in 1997 with all manner of promises which were generally found to be nugatory. Integrated transport was one. They inherited the Notional Cycling Strategy and the people up the ivory tower offered the ideal cop-out. Give a huge sum of lottery money - the equivalent of the cost of a few hundred yards of motorway - to a charity willing to take the problem off the political agenda and bingo! The promotion of cycling is kicked a long way down the road.

In defence of Sustrans, they were probably conned by New Labour like everyone else.

User avatar
mjr
Posts: 15824
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: sustrans cuts routes

Postby mjr » 20 Jul 2020, 8:54am

mattsccm wrote:I'll play Devils advocate. :D
What purpose do these routes serve?
I have found a few links that are permissive and therefore a bonus but virtually all follow public highways. Unless a cycleway status enforces speed or upkeep restrictions the designation is not needed surely.
Not considering knowing where the routes go as I assume people are clever enough to work that out or damn well should be. :D

The National Cycle Network was to be "a UK-wide network of signed paths and routes for walking, cycling, wheeling and exploring outdoors". The value to me was not the designation but the signage consistency and continuity and knowing that if I follow that little red number then I'll find a reasonable/arguable route to its destination, even if it might not be the absolute best route for me with my exact preferences. I thought the aim was to create something similar to the red and green cycle route signs in NL, the green signs in France or the blue signs in Denmark.

Sadly, the NCN has now changed to a vision "to create a UK-wide network of safe and accessible traffic-free paths for everyone." Of course, this means it is now only fragments and not a national network and in future, the red numbers will only take you to the end of the motor-free island and then leave you guessing how to reach the next island. And some of those motor-free islands are barely cyclable nonsenses like dirt tracks and deep sand - this purge seems only to have removed roads.

I don't think any country has yet created a national network of motor-free paths (not traffic-free: Cycles are traffic, damn it!). Even the Netherlands uses quiet roads for most of their cycle route network. I do not see any chance that the UK will be the first. I feel Sustrans are letting aiming for perfection destroy the good.

I had expected the "Paths For Everyone" review to inform improvement works but instead there's been a few easy city projects and now a bonfire of the routes - and to what end? I agree with thirdcrank that no tears will be shed in county halls over the loss of red numbers and no energy expended in regaining them. I even suspect many councils will be glad not to have Sustrans volunteer rangers checking the routes and reporting faults so diligently.

You can say people should be "clever enough" to work out routes, perhaps using online tools that consider route properties and motor traffic levels, but it takes the UK away from a "get on your bike and ride" culture and towards being a place where primarily sat nav and map geeks cycle tour. It seems rather an elitist attitude.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

reohn2
Posts: 39699
Joined: 26 Jun 2009, 8:21pm

Re: sustrans cuts routes

Postby reohn2 » 20 Jul 2020, 9:17am

MJR
That about sums up Sustrans,inconsistency to the point of being ridiculous.
-----------------------------------------------------------
I cycle therefore I am.

User avatar
pjclinch
Posts: 3950
Joined: 29 Oct 2007, 2:32pm
Location: Dundee, Scotland
Contact:

Re: National Cycle Network Being Slashed

Postby pjclinch » 20 Jul 2020, 9:21am

PaulaT wrote:Rural roads with speed limits in excess of 40MPH? That'll be most rural roads I've ever cycled along apart from where they pass though villages where's there's invariably a 30MPH speed limit. What a pathetic shower.


The last couple of years Perth & Kinross, I think Angus too have been changing lots of rural rounds around these parts to 40 (complete with plates for "Cycling and walking friendly road"), I imagine it may be a more general thing. I've noticed these as they tend to be on the sort of roads I choose to ride on rather than there was any fanfare about it. It's very welcome.

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

PaulaT
Posts: 130
Joined: 20 Dec 2018, 6:41pm
Location: Staffordshire

Re: National Cycle Network Being Slashed

Postby PaulaT » 20 Jul 2020, 10:13am

pjclinch wrote:
PaulaT wrote:Rural roads with speed limits in excess of 40MPH? That'll be most rural roads I've ever cycled along apart from where they pass though villages where's there's invariably a 30MPH speed limit. What a pathetic shower.


The last couple of years Perth & Kinross, I think Angus too have been changing lots of rural rounds around these parts to 40 (complete with plates for "Cycling and walking friendly road"), I imagine it may be a more general thing. I've noticed these as they tend to be on the sort of roads I choose to ride on rather than there was any fanfare about it. It's very welcome.

Pete.


That's good to hear. I wish they'd do that around around here.

Ellieb
Posts: 868
Joined: 26 Jul 2008, 7:06pm

Re: National Cycle Network Being Slashed

Postby Ellieb » 20 Jul 2020, 12:43pm

PaulaT wrote:
pjclinch wrote:
PaulaT wrote:Rural roads with speed limits in excess of 40MPH? That'll be most rural roads I've ever cycled along apart from where they pass though villages where's there's invariably a 30MPH speed limit. What a pathetic shower.


The last couple of years Perth & Kinross, I think Angus too have been changing lots of rural rounds around these parts to 40 (complete with plates for "Cycling and walking friendly road"), I imagine it may be a more general thing. I've noticed these as they tend to be on the sort of roads I choose to ride on rather than there was any fanfare about it. It's very welcome.

Pete.


That's good to hear. I wish they'd do that around around here.

I dunno. Thirty seconds after I first came across one of these signs I had to throw myself onto the verge to avoid a tipper lorry coming around a blind bend at about 50mph.

User avatar
mjr
Posts: 15824
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: sustrans cuts routes

Postby mjr » 20 Jul 2020, 1:07pm

Sustrans are claiming that only 4.5% of the network is being cut but I've done some counting from the published map and our GIS tools: Norfolk has had about a quarter of its 500km deleted from the map completely (NCN11 where it exits Norfolk south, plus the northern end and southwestern branches of NCN RR30 and the entire NCN RR33), while another 85km has turned into "not on the National Cycle Network" dashed-line route (NCN1+13 Fakenham-Dereham and the rest of NCN RR30): 42% destruction.

It will no longer be possible to cross Norfolk by following NCN signs - and it was already rather a roundabout route before!
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

User avatar
pjclinch
Posts: 3950
Joined: 29 Oct 2007, 2:32pm
Location: Dundee, Scotland
Contact:

Re: National Cycle Network Being Slashed

Postby pjclinch » 20 Jul 2020, 1:17pm

Ellieb wrote:
PaulaT wrote:
pjclinch wrote:
The last couple of years Perth & Kinross, I think Angus too have been changing lots of rural rounds around these parts to 40 (complete with plates for "Cycling and walking friendly road"), I imagine it may be a more general thing. I've noticed these as they tend to be on the sort of roads I choose to ride on rather than there was any fanfare about it. It's very welcome.


That's good to hear. I wish they'd do that around around here.

I dunno. Thirty seconds after I first came across one of these signs I had to throw myself onto the verge to avoid a tipper lorry coming around a blind bend at about 50mph.


As with many speed limits at present, dreadfully lacking in enforcement, but on the other hand recognition that people should be going no faster than that is a first step.

Speaking with a German acquaintance at Dundee Cycle Forum about 20 urban limits after someone had pointed out a sign on its own changes nothing, he said that on initial introduction of 30 km/h limits in Germany his perception was nothing much changed... at first, but over time speeds came down. That wasn't backed up with formal measurement but it wouldn't surprise me. I can think of various spots in Dundee where 50s have gone to 40s and 40s to 30s, and the initial impact appeared negligible but with time real speeds look to have come down.

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

PaulaT
Posts: 130
Joined: 20 Dec 2018, 6:41pm
Location: Staffordshire

Re: sustrans cuts routes

Postby PaulaT » 20 Jul 2020, 1:50pm

mjr wrote:It will no longer be possible to cross Norfolk by following NCN signs - and it was already rather a roundabout route before!


And I'm sure cyclists will will manage just fine as we did for generations before the arrival of the self-appointed messiahs of cycling :)

User avatar
mjr
Posts: 15824
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: sustrans cuts routes

Postby mjr » 20 Jul 2020, 2:32pm

PaulaT wrote:
mjr wrote:It will no longer be possible to cross Norfolk by following NCN signs - and it was already rather a roundabout route before!


And I'm sure cyclists will will manage just fine as we did for generations before the arrival of the self-appointed messiahs of cycling :)

And I'm sure there will be far fewer of them doing it as a result, hurting us all through the "safety in numbers" effect. Simply seeing a cycle route sign and thinking "I could ride there" won't even be possible. It'll be something that only sat nav and map geeks can do.

Anyway, I'm going to give my local route a last hurrah and actually follow that nearby cycle route sign that says "[30] Lowestoft 98" next month, before the signs aren't replaced after vandalism or get covered over because most of route 30 is being deleted!
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

qwerty360
Posts: 4
Joined: 2 Jun 2020, 4:34pm

Re: sustrans cuts routes

Postby qwerty360 » 20 Jul 2020, 2:46pm

thirdcrank wrote:I suspect that the problem may be that local authorities - especially the departments which meet the needs of the big misters driving motors - don't covet Sustrans NCN signs in the same way that chefs covet Michelin stars.


Equally, the same groups have been quite happy to claim that they don't need to do anything for cycling because there is a NCN route which clearly must be usable for all cyclists because it is NCN... (That traversing it requires waders, a machete, climbing gear, and/or a willingness to cycle with 60+mph heavy traffic doesn't stop it being a high quality cycling route because if it wasn't high quality it wouldn't be NCN).

Of course I suspect for every mile they have redesignated, they could probably remove NCN status from at least another mile.


But there really should be minimum standards for NCN (or several different standards; I have a problem with NCN routes that are not passible on any of my bikes, but wouldn't have a problem if there was a clean differentiation between NCN for road bikes and NCN for off road bikes (for an easy definition of off road...). That way I can actually map a route...