Confusingly signed cycle routes

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meic
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Re: Confusingly signed cycle routes

Postby meic » 2 Jun 2015, 9:06pm

Well, if everybody was as ungracious as that we would just stay at home. :lol:

Especially as we are talking about a solution that isnt actually a solution as you can not predict and list every individuals' destination on every sign. Personally I have rarely felt the need for additional location signing as they are only really needed when routes meet and they are normally already there.
As it is we are providing something and some people are using it and finding it useful. You can not please everybody and I'll settle for helping out those who will make the tiny bit of effort for themselves. I often dont bother with Sustran's routes myself.

To claim that it is "easy" for the signing organisation, tends to undervalue a lot of hard work that goes into trying to make the best of a bad job.
It would be as ungracious as pointing out the failure of rides organisers to attract the young and an equal gender spread to their rides. Of cyclists' rights organisations failure to get the authorities to prosecute drivers that kill cyclists.

As some have pointed out, the signing on the road network isnt actually that much better and their rights and budget are in a different league.
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pwa
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Re: Confusingly signed cycle routes

Postby pwa » 2 Jun 2015, 11:07pm

I once had a job in which, among other things, I "waymarked" many miles of public footpaths and bridleways. This included installing discs with coloured arrows to help people stick to the routes. And it was sometimes difficult to do it in a way that could not be misunderstood. In some cases landowners were unhelpful and would not permit new posts, so I had to make do with poorly positioned existing posts. So I have a lot of sympathy for the people who waymark Sustrans routes. They make the best of the imperfect situations they find on the ground with limited resources. But the main problem is that the routes are such a patchwork of bits and pieces of path, track, street, car park and whatever that they have to rely too much on lots of signage to keep people on track.

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Re: Confusingly signed cycle routes

Postby Bmblbzzz » 2 Jun 2015, 11:20pm

There certainly isn't room to put place names on the little stickers. That would be worse than pointless! They would have to be on 'proper sized' and preferably shaped (fingerpost) signs. To be fair, I can think of a few places where that has been done, eg on Route 41 there are some signs in the Severn Vale mentioning Gloucester.

Of course, there are problems with routes changing — I should probably say, being changed. And of course, there are budgets and rangers' time.

At the end of the day, these signs are an addition to the standard road signs and whatever map, GPS, etc you choose, so certainly we should (I am) glad to see them at all. Nevertheless, I think if I were to make one change, it would be to replace the square outline with a 'pointing' one, something like []> if you'll forgive the crude ASCII art, so the direction was clear from a distance.

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Re: Confusingly signed cycle routes

Postby gaz » 2 Jun 2015, 11:47pm

mjr wrote:Yes, who needs to know the directions as long as it's easy for the signing organisation. :roll:

For the vast majority of the NCN Sustrans are NOT the signing organisation. Neither is signing a route an easy task. At the outset finding Volunteers to look after the signing on routes is not easy.

Unlike a certain other cycling charity Sustrans has no authority to erect road signs. At best the Rangers are given permission to sign by the relevant highway authority. Not all highway authorities allow Rangers to do any signing at all. Not all routes are on highways. Negotiating permissions to sign routes is not easy.

If you think you could do better please volunteer :wink: .

Bmblbzzz wrote:... I think if I were to make one change, it would be to replace the square outline with a 'pointing' one, something like []> if you'll forgive the crude ASCII art, so the direction was clear from a distance.

My understanding is that the entire sticker set was negotiated with the DfT before "approval". I use the term "approval" loosely because they certainly aren't mentioned in TSRGD. Sustrans generally frown upon Rangers using any non-standard layouts of the signage.

Please bear in mind that vinyl stickers are relatively cheap to produce can be shipped to Volunteers at low cost, carried easily by bike and are usually attached to vertical surfaces such as lampposts. Once attached they can be vandalised but not simply turned to face the wrong way.

To have a =====> arrangement would require a rigid sign and mounting brackets, raising production and shipping costs. They would be heavier and bulkier, making them harder to transport and erect and prone to the simple vandalism of turning the wrong way.

On the rare occasions that I bother to report a permanent NCN highway sign as missing the best response is "thanks for putting up a sticker, we have no money", often there's not even a thank you.
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Re: Confusingly signed cycle routes

Postby mjr » 3 Jun 2015, 9:58am

gaz wrote:
mjr wrote:Yes, who needs to know the directions as long as it's easy for the signing organisation. :roll:

For the vast majority of the NCN Sustrans are NOT the signing organisation. Neither is signing a route an easy task. At the outset finding Volunteers to look after the signing on routes is not easy.

OK, I should have written "easier". None of those become hugely harder by including route destination names.

If you think you could do better please volunteer :wink: .

I have but Sustrans seem not interested in new routes here (or even fixing their current routes AFAICT) so we're going to have to Do It Ourselves. I outlined my current best-guess at our approach on the first page of this discussion. We're some way off stickering yet, needing to finish reviewing and publish a full route map instead of only schematics like this:
Image

To have a =====> arrangement would require a rigid sign and mounting brackets, raising production and shipping costs. They would be heavier and bulkier, making them harder to transport and erect and prone to the simple vandalism of turning the wrong way.

Why would it? Just put a > edge on the rectangular sticker. Do you think the current stickers can't be improved?

On the rare occasions that I bother to report a permanent NCN highway sign as missing the best response is "thanks for putting up a sticker, we have no money", often there's not even a thank you.

Yes, I appreciate this - I think it took over a year to get one replaced on NCN33.
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Re: Confusingly signed cycle routes

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 3 Jun 2015, 11:12am

For what it's worth, it is possible for volunteers to get metal signs made up and to erect them yourselves. We did it with NCN 442 across the Cotswolds - 48 miles of new route, all signposted with permanent signs installed by volunteers. Total cost of signs was £5,000ish.

You obviously have to get permission from all the relevant highway authorities (and from Sustrans if it's part of the NCN). But if you can get everyone on board, it's doable. Installing the signs yourself, on existing poles, cuts down the costs hugely. Drop me a line if you'd like to know more - I'd be happy to share our experience!
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gaz
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Re: Confusingly signed cycle routes

Postby gaz » 3 Jun 2015, 7:02pm

Well done Richard.

Whilst I'm aware that permanent signing can be done, it requires an excellent working relationship between an active Ranger Group and the relevant local authority and/or landowners, not to mention local authority funding. It also requires additional H&S training and step ladders :wink: .

mjr wrote:.... Just put a > edge on the rectangular sticker. Do you think the current stickers can't be improved?

IMO a > edge on the rectangular sticker is not going to work. To be any better than the current arrow it's going to need to be a big >. The majority of stickers are attached to cylindrical poles, the > is mostly going to disappear around the curve where you won't be able to see it.

Stickers are intended as a temporary measure, pending the signing authority getting their act together and doing the job properly with metal signs. That's the improvement that is needed.
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Re: Confusingly signed cycle routes

Postby Bmblbzzz » 3 Jun 2015, 7:13pm

gaz wrote:
Bmblbzzz wrote:... I think if I were to make one change, it would be to replace the square outline with a 'pointing' one, something like []> if you'll forgive the crude ASCII art, so the direction was clear from a distance.

My understanding is that the entire sticker set was negotiated with the DfT before "approval". I use the term "approval" loosely because they certainly aren't mentioned in TSRGD. Sustrans generally frown upon Rangers using any non-standard layouts of the signage.

Please bear in mind that vinyl stickers are relatively cheap to produce can be shipped to Volunteers at low cost, carried easily by bike and are usually attached to vertical surfaces such as lampposts. Once attached they can be vandalised but not simply turned to face the wrong way.

To have a =====> arrangement would require a rigid sign and mounting brackets, raising production and shipping costs. They would be heavier and bulkier, making them harder to transport and erect and prone to the simple vandalism of turning the wrong way.

On the rare occasions that I bother to report a permanent NCN highway sign as missing the best response is "thanks for putting up a sticker, we have no money", often there's not even a thank you.

I simply meant a non-rectangular sticker. Not a metal fingerpost, but a fingerpost shaped sticker. In practice, the sticker would probably still be rectangular, but two corners would be anonymous background grey, with the blue part pointing into them. This could be angled in the appropriate direction, with a separate number to put on the red square, and the whole lot attached to whatever metalwork is available in situ. Sorry if that wasn't very clear from my post.

Edit: I see you've already addressed this, just above. Hmm, I can see your doubts about cylindrical poles, but I do think it would be more legible than the current arrows.

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Re: Confusingly signed cycle routes

Postby gaz » 3 Jun 2015, 7:44pm

Sign.jpg
Sign

Fairly standard Sustrans sticker on a fairly standard cylindrical pole. The "use footbridge" wording is roughly equivalent to a place name in size.

Standard sticker width is 96mm. I really don't see how you are going to make a > more visible than an arrow.

If you are having trouble imagining what it might be like, then it would be something like the arrows below the diversion signing shown here.

Image

I came across those on an old routing of NCN1. IMO clear as mud.
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Re: Confusingly signed cycle routes

Postby mjr » 3 Jun 2015, 8:03pm

Those stickers look much better than what's currently used near me. I'll take a photo when I'm next on a stickered bit.
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Re: Confusingly signed cycle routes

Postby gaz » 3 Jun 2015, 8:13pm

Are they more like these?
Image
Sustrans has used a variety over the years. Rangers are supposed to make sure that signing is up to date but we're volunteers and not everyone understands the need. The one illustrated is probably a case of a "^" and a "1" many years ago with someone adding the blue sticker later rather than realising they should have started again from scratch.

One particular problem is that Rangers can become "sign blind". They know the route, they know where all the signs are (and what they mean), how could anyone else get lost?
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Re: Confusingly signed cycle routes

Postby Ron » 3 Jun 2015, 10:20pm

Signing on parts of the NCN is the responsibility of the roads authority, and it can be well nigh impossible to get them to take remedial action when required. I can think of one example where they put up a hanging basket for plants throughout the summer season which completely obscures the cycle route direction sign, but they refuse to acknowledge the fact.

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Re: Confusingly signed cycle routes

Postby gaz » 4 Jun 2015, 12:19am

Here's a pair of ">" type signs. 75mm diameter.
Roundel.jpg
> <

Not part of Sustrans standard set, the landowner insisted upon this style and they were made to order.
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Re: Confusingly signed cycle routes

Postby Bmblbzzz » 4 Jun 2015, 9:40am

gaz wrote:
Sign.jpg

Fairly standard Sustrans sticker on a fairly standard cylindrical pole. The "use footbridge" wording is roughly equivalent to a place name in size.

Is that a current standard Sustrans sticker? I don't think I've seen any quite like that. The ones I've seen are usually much more compact — just a number on a red (or sometimes blue) square with a white arrow below or next to it, all on a blue background.

TBH a lot of the info on that one is redundant. We know it's the National Cycle Network, for instance, and the stick man shapes don't give us any useful information either. All we need is number and/or destination, direction and in this case the info "use footbridge". Get rid of the rest and you could have legibly large place names on there. Of course, that would mean a lot of printing, and budgets...

Having said that, it is quite nice to have local and chronological variations, just as there are in other types of road sign.

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Re: Confusingly signed cycle routes

Postby gaz » 4 Jun 2015, 4:37pm

Bmblbzzz wrote:Is that a current standard Sustrans sticker?
...
TBH a lot of the info on that one is redundant. We know it's the National Cycle Network, for instance, and the stick man shapes don't give us any useful information either.
...

Yes, that's from the current pack. There have been a few sets over the past twenty years, the current set has been in place for at least five years (educated guess) and isn't greatly different from the two that came before it which also used a large blue background sticker.

In terms of info the top is most commonly a bicycle, intended to advertise to all road users that this is a cycle route. Alternatively it can be replaced with either a stick man and bicycle (shared path); or horse and rider, stick man and bicycle (shared path); or double stick man (pedestrian only section), as applies to the footbridge in question.

As I mentioned upthread Sustrans Rangers might understand all of these subtle notations, I'd expect the general public to grasp most of them from the picture but probably not the double stick man.

Whilst you and I know it's the NCN, not everybody will. There are also circumstances where it needs to be differentiated from other cycle routes, the London Cycle Network being an example. The logo is not redundant, at least not in Sustrans view. At one time the strap-line in the footer was www.nationalcyclenetwork.org.uk, that changed a few years ago to www.sustrans.org.uk, providing some subtle branding.
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