Sunday 9 January 2011

Infrastructure: what Waltham Forest can teach Bristol

This A.A. driving school instructor is able to provide that all important first lesson that any novice needs: how to drive on the footway and how to park there.

This is another tribute to the most progressive council in London, which quite sensibly recognises that the best way to get around London – driving – requires ever more street space. Sadly in places like Bristol they are still living in the dark ages, and driving instructors who park on the pavement in that city have to suffer unnecessary sarcasm and harassment from bloggers (as previously blogged about here).

By a stroke of good fortune a passing cyclist demonstrates the necessity of ‘vehicular cycling’ on this Walthamstow road (aptly named ‘The Drive’) where plainly re-arranging the infrastructure to provide segregated cycling on the Dutch model would be impossible. As you can see at a glance, this road is simply too narrow.

Meanwhile here is the London Borough of Waltham Forest’s very latest example of the re-allocation of street space (where the cycling-friendly southbound B160 meets the fabulous A104).

In this instance a wide footway has sensibly been converted into free parking bays. This narrows the available space for pedestrians to one metre or less, but that should cause no problems for anyone who is a fit, slim, able-bodied and useful member of The Big Society.

Throwing open your car door here may well ‘clip’ a passing cyclist, but that will usefully teach them the folly of ignoring one of the fundamental principles of cyclecraft. Next time they’ll learn to ‘take the road’ and discover what car horns were made for.