We should probably have new laws. But there are completely convergent views on what they should be. The laws according to Alison (therefore automatically the right laws) are:
- Signage for road problems should be on the road, not on the pavement unless a minimum pavement space is retained sufficient for a double buggy
- Cyclists dismount signage should be outlawed unless there is also signage suggesting people in cars get out and push those and people on foot take off their shoes.
- A closed cycle path should have a similar diversion put in place to a road diversion
- When a road is resurfaced or has work done, it should be automatic to reinstate adding in a minimum of a painted cycle lane unless there are valid reasoned arguments made as to why this is not possible. Default should be to use this opportunity every time.
- All new roads / road schemes must have a cycling provision (other than motorways)
We need to get with the programme.
- Traffic lighted crossroads which require a person on foot to separately cross 6 different segments are to be outlawed. People should be able at a minimum to cross the entire road at once, with preference being to crossing diagonally and prioritised for that to happen with a minimum of one minute waiting time.
- Traffic lighted press button crossings must work on the basis of getting someone across the road soonest, not waiting for a gap in traffic to react.
- Zebra crossings must have a road hump incorporated
- Where pavements are under 3 foot wide, the adjacent road speed limit must be 20 miles per hour
- All residential streets must have a 20 miles per hour limit
- All playing fields and parks must have a zebra crossing at their entrance if there is a road crossing
- City signposting should be ambitious. Walking signs for journeys of five minutes or under lack ambition. For example, signs for walking from one side to the other of town should be in place. You should be able, in Manchester City Centre to pick up a sign for walking to Manchester Piccadilly Station from anywhere within a one mile radius
- Signage and maps. The GPS signal in the City Centre is bad. You can't use it to navigate. Alternatives, pavement painting, symbols on lamp posts, maps, maybe interactive like you'd find in the Trafford Centre should be part and parcel
- Cycling signage should be continuous through different boroughs. Stockport does signage wonderfully but only to places within Stockport.
- And let's encourage simple walking for walking sake. Have you seen France? Circular routes with timings on and signs that are actually reliable both in terms of actually existing, being unambiguous and accurate in distance / times would be pretty damned awesome. This can work in a city as spectacular as ours.
Spaces off road
We only prioritise looking after the spaces which run next to a convenient road, where policing and care are easy because, hey, motors, eh?
The routes which need looking after are the non vehicle ones. Parts of the canal towpath are no go zones after about 8 in the morning, particularly near the city centres. They are intimidating, with the fear of mugging or being pushed in the water particularly scary. They aren't well populated because one by one people are scared off. I have a test run of using the towpath which goes between Eastlands and Manchester City Centre every six months or so. It's unpleasant for a woman alone, and you are alone because everyone else has been scared off using the damn thing. Last time I tried I ended up on the phone to the 101 number reporting anti social behaviour. I don't think there's been one afternoon walk / ride along there where I haven't come across something intimidating. Admittedly the last time involved shouting, abuse and threats which was a bit of a ramping up of the normal fear laden drug using / drunk people thing.
The entry to the Fallowfield loop is not somewhere to venture alone, either. Litter, glass, needles, discarded detritus of humanity and all this surrounded by walls and fences and trees where nobody can hear you scream. We need to be thinking about lighting and regular patrols of anything, neighbourhood teams, volunteers, anything really, filling the place with people who outnumber the unsavoury element would make a difference but we can't get started little by little because the little people get eaten up quite quickly.
Spaces to leave your bike - Manchester Piccadilly have bike racks, and there aren't enough. The railings either side of these are full of warnings about not chaining your bike to them when the racks are full but there's nothing to suggest to people alternative parking, nothing at all. It's ridiculous. Why, when there's a problem with overflowing bikes are you simply telling them to go away instead of solving the issue?
And other rants
Traffic lights and crossings - let's make a change here so that when a light is red, if it's safe to do so, a cyclist can turn left. Why can't we do this?