Tuesday 29 December 2015

The Predictable & Lazy End Of Year Roundup: 2015 Edition

Well, yes. It's the end of 2015 and that must mean my annual roundup of the last 12-months. It is also the end of my 5th year of cycling as a commuter, a mode of transport I came back to in 2011 after last cycling as a kid. So, what happened in 2015?

A zebra crossing from February's post.
The year started with me looking forward to seeing what it held in store, including the outcome of the Mayor of London's consultation on the North-South and East-West Cycle Superhighways. I was also looking forward to the General Election where I thought the chickens would come home to roost. I was wrong, although the flooding in the North of England might change the public's perception on the continued cuts.

Next, I launched into a rant about a GLA member's paper on hospital parking charges, a thing which the press likes to keep coming back to, despite the amount of people who have no access to a car. I then jumped into the subject of potholes and how they are a symptom of our approach to infrastructure investment.

Next, I wrote a letter to the London Evening Standard in response to a story it ran about a yellow box (outside a fire station) which had the usual spin against the poor souls who struggled to see the yellow paint as they stopped their vehicles. Turns out it was published, but I never saw a copy!

A Mancunian tram.
The month ended with me questioning why anyone would want to remain a member of the Licenced Taxi Driver's Association in response to a bizarre article in their trade press and the flak flowing from the LTDA on the Mayor's decision to crack on with the North-South and East-West Cycle Superhighways.

The first post of the month was all about zebra crossings (I think I covered it all, it was a really long post) and then a quick post with me moaning about people parking on the footway for their own convenience. Next up was the blog post equivalent to holiday snaps whereby I showed some of the transport-related things I saw on a trip to Manchester (I am a big fan of the trams).

I then reported on a workshop that I had attended in London which was looking at the tricky subject of tactile paving (a theme I returned to later in the year). 

Pedestrian Neatebox in action.
I returned to one of my pet subjects; barriers which included some navel gazing on a little scheme I was involved with at work - warts and all; this was followed up with me having a little pop back at those who continually snipe at traffic engineers (yes, I'd had a couple of busy weeks).

A slice of traffic signal pie was served later in March following a video posted by Matt Turner of Cycle Sheffield and the Great Gas Beetle of a really confusing (and dangerous) signals layout which still hasn't been dealt with. The month ended with my annual look at the backlog of road maintenance in the UK which rose by £1.5bn to £12bn, despite the Government throwing some money at potholes (clue, it's not about potholes).

Quaxing Lyrical.
Alistair Coleman was the inspiration for the first post of April, well his excellent Angry People In Local Newspapers blog at any rate (plus check out his Scary Duck, its not a duck and not scary). The theme being buses being responsible for congestion, well actually, the newspaper missed the real story about the privatisation of a town centre. Next, a little political swipe at signs making things better.

Speed cameras were the target of my next post with both Labour and the Conservatives trying out out "end-the-war-on-motorists"; the big issue is the cuts to road policing of course. Next up, a report from my trip to the Traffex exhibition where I had the chance to see the wonderful Pedestrian Neatebox system (thanks Gavin and Steve).

Great Yarmouth sea front. Nice.
This month started with a detailed look at how we should be getting vehicle crossings right (where people need to drive over footways and indeed cycle tracks to access property) with a thanks to Brenda Puech for the inspiration. Next, a report on a joint meeting of the Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation and the London Cycling Campaign which looked at inclusive cycling - I hope there will be more tie-ups like this in the future.

I then took a look at parking standards for new developments in London, the Transport for London WebCAT tool and the push to roll our electric vehicles. I then looked at how engineers are seen by the UK public - not very well sadly. The month ended with my take on the incident where a person riding his bike on the footway hit a toddler - the local street layout played as much a role in the collision as did the behaviour of the person on the bike, but yet again, the media don't bother delving below the click-bait headlines.

Leicester City centre.
The summer started with some musing about holidaying on car-free/ low traffic holiday parks and how people don't seem to want this for their own streets when they get home. Speaking of home, my next post looked at my initial experiences using my new cycle trailer (mixed as you would expect, but the trailer is excellent). 

I then subjected my readers (and my long-suffering family) to some extended discussion about my holiday snaps which featured a hidden cycling gem on the front at Great Yarmouth. The end of June was simply lazy and featured a photo of my bike, my trailer and some cricket.

School-run, Deventer style.
This month was dominated (post-wise at least) by the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain's AGM in Leicester during which we saw the best and worst the city has to offer; plus it have me material for two posts here and here

For the rest of the month, I lamented the lack of action on enabling walking, madness given that this is the mode during which people spend the most and then, my disagreement with the London Cycling Campaign's proposed peak lorry ban (together with a little history of lorry control in the Capital). Finally, my first look at Cycle Superhighway 2 which was being (re)built through Whitechapel.

This is who we need to change our streets for.
The month started with a photo blog of the RideLondon FreeCycle event. Sadly, it didn't take in the Embankment, but this was because the East-West Superhighway was under construction. The event showed (yet again) that people love to get out and cycle and that they hate doing so around traffic. A week later, I posted some photos of the construction underway.

I then looked at how the Government's prediction of traffic growth was essentially its policy and that if success was measured by traffic growth, they seemed to be doing well. Finally for August, I reported on a quick trip I made to Deventer in The Netherlands during which I took lots of photos and made a video of a simultaneous green for my You Tube channel, then some thoughts on bypasses after seeing posters in the windows of Glastonbury.

Lots of learning from this little scheme.
The excellent Near Miss Project was launched this month (I attended, thanks for the invite Dr Rachel Aldred). The middle of the month saw the first London Kiddical Mass which had me out on a wonderful Christiania box bike thanks to London Green Cycles and Deborah aka Mama Moose. It was my first ever ride on a box bike and I keeping looking at them longingly; I possibly had more fun than my three kids who got to sit in the box with Ranty Junior taking photos for the blog post. We are looking forward to the next one.

I then spent a few hours on the delights of the M3 getting to Winchester to give a talk at the City Council for CIHT's walking group. Winchester really has the potential to be a great active travel city if only they could take the leap.

Orford Road, Walthamstow.
I started the month by being complimentary about a psychological model (grief) which has parallels for contested schemes. I then returned to my cycle trailer, looking at some dimensions for a "design vehicle"; plus I collected quite a lot of apples for free cider. The next post was a rant about the school walk and how many schools in my area cannot do anything else with "soft" measures.

I return to the subject of tactile paving saw me musing on a consultation for some changes to the current guidance. For Halloween, I wrote a short story about Zombies (they are us, and we are them).

London's North-South Superhighway nearing completion.
I started the month with a friendly riposte to a post by Katja Leyendecker on the subject of language (the words we use to describe infrastructure and the need to be consistent). I then gave some thoughts on how the Disability Discrimination Act had changed how we thought about accessibility and transport in the 20 years since it came into force and then was absorbed into the Equality Act in 2010.

Next was a bit of self-indulgence about a little cycle track I had been working on and what was learnt during and after construction (yes, it passed the trailer test). I then celebrated 3 years of writing this blog

The month started with a report over two posts (here and here) on the first London Cycle Infrastructure Safari (held at the end of November and in association with CEoGB) which took in the sights (and rides) of some of the new stuff being built in London. In fact, we held a second ride and the write up is here (and more being planned for 2016). Finally, a little seasonal bit of silliness with my 12 days of Christmas.

As usual, I must thank my wife and family for putting up with my writings and rantings (the kids surely know what a kerb nerd is). Thanks also to the wonderful people I have met over the last 12 months and the discussions and debates we have had. Finally, thanks to you my readers for making this blog worthwhile. I continue to learn a great deal (and learning is life-long) and I hope you pick up the odd idea too. Raise a glass to 2016!

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