Lockdown 1 2020
UPDATE. Letter in todays ECHO
IS the lockdown actually over?
It certainly would appear to be where I live which is in Lilliput, Poole.
The stream of cars going down Sandbanks Road today towards the dead end of the peninsula appears now to be constant and certainly not like it was last week when the police were actually stopping people.
In Wiltshire, my mother remains in her house locked down and without being able to see anybody and has remained so for the past five weeks. Next door to me in Poole there at least seven builders working in a single house, which makes a mockery of the sacrifice that other people are making in order to prevent the spread of this terrible disease.
People need to be reminded that they only travel if it is necessary. Vast swathes of residents and car drivers around me appear to have forgotten this. Somebody for goodness sake remind them before we have another peak of deaths.
Alington Road, Poole
This post is an answer to other campaigns that are seeing the times we are in as an opportunity. With all its sadness and loss of life we are united, at the same time there are some of us that work in Cycling long term campaigners that are seeing what is being done in other countries to aid the situation out on the roads. I wrote up the very good campaigns being made by RDRF and others on the new BH Active Travel forum website. This was a follow up to the 07 April New site post. There is some excellent work appearing around the world. In essence there are 3 things that would make streets better in this time where road traffic is much reduced.
Making Footways wider, and claiming road space when there arent any pavements- in order to allow social distancing.
Installing Cycle Lanes, separate from footways and protected by cones or light segregation.
Removing push button pedestrian crossings, making auto or other interventions in order for people to not have to press.
We are waiting today to hear how much longer we will be staying home, my estimate is until May 17th based on the French and Italian dates. Sincerely hope no longer as I’m struggling with the lack of human contact which is my everyday life occupation in coaching and fundraising, anyway back to the point of this post.
So where?? I have been in dialogue with engineers in BCP council, who have some ideas for this, one of which is light segregation on Longfleet road Poole, which is where the Hospital is and where several key workers cycle to and from shifts. This could provide them with space and protection to get to work. How does this fit in with other elements? You will know about the TCF Transforming Cities Fund award made to BCP in March? There are miles and miles of routes that need re-designing for bus and bike priority, with the Longfleet road mentioned above being S5 Poole to Ferndown corridor, all these routes will need to have cycle provision on in some form. Now the moment that we are seeing unfold is a time where many roads of normally 2 lanes are down to a single lane volume of traffic, whats happening elsewhere is that lanes are being repurposed for active travel, bikes, scooters etc. So with experimental traffic orders, made quickly protection could be given and space claimed now could then provide the base for future re -design of routes. Making the best of what many see as an opportunity. We have had some amazing decisions made like closing car parks in Public parks so this isnt completely off the wall here, I just dont think anything will happen in U.K, couple of reasons, the Authorities here are dealing with Coronoavirus with a Corporate Incident Management Team-in effect all normal Council business is suspended, Councillors are out of the loop in decisions where they normally have to vote on changes. So normal channels where even if there is enough support for something to make an action, arent operating and a few individuals are making decisions for the whole BCP. I dont envy these people at all, they are having to react to a situation which was completely unforeseen, and not act to proactively make changes while special circumstances exist. I would be glad to be proved wrong, so I write the below with absolute sincerity.
In 2007 Poole wrote a seafront strategy, which included items on the road that I live on Sandbanks. Runs from Civic Centre Poole to the ferry peninsula and is Sandbanks, Shore, Banks, Panorama Road over its length. There are details within regarding protected cycle lanes, and over its length there is space to redesign with creative ideas. This is also part of the Primary Cycling Network, in LCWIP. Which isnt surprising as its on one of the most attractive pieces of coastline I’ve even seen (and I’m biased) At present there are lots of people riding their daily exercise time around this road, many many more than are usually around- new and returning riders enjoying the best invention ever. I show the road in several places and offer this as a possibility to give the people of Poole a protected route to ride.
This is coming back towards Poole after going around the one way section of panorama road. There is a mandatory cycle lane on that section that is minimum width but could be coned to protect and include the parking outside the premises like Rick Steins presently closed.
The suggestion here is convert the parking space all the way along the road by adding cones or light segregation. (Pictured). There are very few cars needing this space at present and workers visiting homes on the side of the houses have drives and private parking. At the Tesco yesterday saw unique circumstances occurring everyday on roads now, I overtook slower bikes, driver behind me overtakes normally- OK, however there were pedestrians oncoming IN road who are passing other pedestrians on narrow footway
Here you can see the advisory cycle lane, the width of the parking zone is adequate to take people of the road, and give them space. Other side of the road could equally be treated the same way. Worth noting many places have already made this building, where parking is on the outside of cycle lanes
Moving down past Shore road you reach the Junction of Haven road. This has to remain open, there are two lanes to turn up the hill, at present traffic volumes low enough to take one of those away through the junction on the seaside, opposite side would necessarily be left clear for short term interventions.
Moving on back towards Poole Evening hill, here the existing advisory cycle lane disappears and users are unprotected past the point at which parking to admire the view has been retained for decades. The top of the hill is the worst location locally for being close passed as people turn through the corner. Again here the whole uphill could be protected and beyond towards Poole through the entire advisory lane. On the downhill users are generally going quickly enough that drivers leave space, so no addition there.
So theres some ideas, ideas that would affect where I live best. That would be prior to plans for LCWIP and TCF routes being finalised, Be great to see something like this happen. Thanks for reading its easy to blog when all your work is suspended, go well and stay safe.
Update 30 April- Evening hill now has advisory cycle lane blocked by scaffolding work where footway has been taken away. Even more reason to protect those vulnerable road users, the photo below shows level of parking today , minimal.