Monday, 11 April 2011

Waltham Forest council creating new pinch points

What a lot of bollards… Vernon Road E17. So what’s going on here? I’m a keen reader of the council’s traffic orders and I wasn’t aware of any advance notice of this brand new installation. The Council is apparently embarking on creating a new collection of pinch points like this one on residential roads which run over railway lines. Most of these bridges in the borough have been designated as ‘weak’ but Network Rail claims it’s a local authority responsibility, and the Council says it’s Network Rail’s. So there’s a stalemate. Obviously what is required to speedily resolve this is some kind of major catastrophe – a heavily laden HGV causing a bridge to collapse on a train passing below, say – and then the money will be found. In the meantime the solution is these build-outs, to prevent vehicles from being parked on the bridges.

Naturally no one considered the consequences for cyclists. Pinch points create danger for cyclists because drivers will always try and overtake and squeeze through, cutting up the cyclist at the last moment. If you prevent this by taking the primary position you can expect the angry blowing of a car horn and some screamed obscenities. This pinch point gives priority to anyone travelling north but cyclists might be unwise to assert their legal priority of there’s a minicab driver or a BMW coming in the opposite direction.

The Council could of course have provided a cycling cut-through so that cyclists can by-pass the pinch point. But this Council is indifferent to cycling, doesn’t understand it, doesn’t care that its past targets have catastrophically failed, and is quite content to continue marginalising cycling. Cycling just doesn’t matter in Waltham Forest, and the current modal share is the perfectly appropriate index of that contempt.

Incidentally, note that these crap planners have even left the lighting column stuck in the middle of the footway. They couldn’t even be bothered to move that out of the way of pedestrians. All that matters is cars and motoring.