Sunday 24 January 2010

Transport for London’s crap contractors

TfL’s indifference to cycling and walking is eloquently expressed by the organisation’s attitude to the maintenance of the Crooked Billet underpass, on the border of Walthamstow and Chingford. This was the situation last June. And it was no different last week (above) with the cycle lane blocked by a mountain of pruned vegetation, and the contractors yet again having driven as close as possible to the site and showing the typical contractor’s indifference to free access for cyclists and walkers.

And that sign in the background is pointing in precisely the wrong direction. No suprise there. Signing for cyclists in the London Borough of Waltham Forest is a total farce, with no one ever bothering to check on them (the Council claims that signs are checked every four weeks but that's a lie of stupefying proportions). Ironically this site is not all that far from where the Councillor most responsible for this dismal state of affairs lives, i.e. Bob Belam. Bob needs to get out more and spend some quality time at his local labyrinth.

The problem with contractors is that they tend to be Sun-reading car dependent males with no awareness of access issues, working for firms who get away with obstructing the footway, or for that matter cycle lanes, simply because no government has ever bothered to introduce appropriate legislation, and complacent organisations like TfL set no standards to which firms have to adhere.

The very next day I spotted this on the corner of Comely Bank Road E17 and Brunswick Street. The problem for a wheelchair user isn't the flytipped TV or the badly-sited telephone pole, it's the contractor's sign left propped against the pole. And it occurs to me that there's a strange law of physics whereby street furniture (including cycle stands) acts as a magnetic attraction for other objects, of the variety which we of the scientific community term crap.