Sunday 19 September 2010

Crap cycling in Norwich

The other Waltham Forest cycling blogger writes:

I should be happy. But I am not.

First off, in Norwich I encountered my first anti-cyclist rage. Sworn at by a motorist because I happened to cross her path – she happened to be indicating to turn left into the ‘no entry’ street we were in and as she appeared to be slowing I figured I should get out of the way. Never quite sure about these motorists and if they will obey the rules. This got me an earful of abuse. Never mind, get to the station onto the London train all would be fine.

the last leg of the journey on the Chingford train up to the ‘stow was utter hell.

I won’t bother disgorging my feelings about the Liverpool Street line, as ‘Alan P’ sums up the situation perfectly adequately. (Basically, you can take a bike on the local train line but there is nowhere to put it.)

I’m more interested in his bad experience in Norwich. The interesting thing about Norwich is that the city has more Green councillors than anywhere else in Britain. You wouldn’t know it, walking or cycling around the city. Norwich is a car sick, car-sodden city, with some perfunctory (and very old) pedestrianisation. Drivers are encouraged to come into the very heart of the city, with huge capacity for car parking everywhere.

The Green councillors in Norwich, like their party at a national and London level, are completely clueless about how to end car dependency and promote cycling. In other words, committed to the failed policy of vehicular cycling.

Norwich’s Cycling Action Plan asserts:

This review should acknowledge the reaffirmed basic principle stated in the DfT’s recent guidance LTN2/08, Cycling Infrastructure Design which states:

“The road network is the most basic (and important) cycling facility available, and the preferred way of providing for cyclists is on the carriageway where cyclists are content to use it, particularly in urban areas.”

Naturally if you pursue a clinically insane policy like this you will get the modal share you deserve. The most recent figure I’ve managed to come across for Norwich is very revealing:

Norwich - All journeys within the Inner Ring Road

Walking 40%

Cycling 2%

Public transport 6%

Car 44%

The compact, easily-cycled area within the Inner Ring Road is exactly where you would expect a modal share for cycling of at least 25 per cent, if the proper infrastructure was in place. Needless to say it isn’t. Norwich is a city which promotes car dependency and suppresses cycling, with the active support of the most powerful local Green group in Britain.

Cycling in Britain – going nowhere for the foreseeable future.