Tuesday 31 January 2012

Bedlam 2 on Princes Bridge

Further Update

A look round the Creative England web site reveals that they are indeed responsible for the film units using this bridge as a film unit base site. This means that the bridge is being used in place of a car park or private land.



Complaints to the council were passed on to Creative England who seem to be responsible for this situation. It seems that my initial hypothesis was right and the permits did not allow the obstruction of the highway:-

Jonathan has apologised to me and has already telephoned the security team who are down at the bridge today to get this issue resolved. I have informed him of the National Cycle Network (Route 6) and the need to leave a clear access channel on the road for cyclists to use at all times. With them having the double yellow line dispensation on either side of the road, this access channel will be down the centre. As you know, Princess Bridge is a dead end so no through traffic will be driving on the bridge.

The vehicles are scheduled to remain at the bridge until Friday 3rd Feb and the location manager has instructed the security team to leave this clear access channel for cyclists at all times and to not be forcing them to use the pavement. Jonathan is also aware that they do not have a road closure order for Princess Bridge so I have told him to remove the tape immediately and any associated traffic management equipment that may give this impression.

Just for your info, the parking requests go direct to Manchester Parking as there are payments to be made directly by the production company. Whereas I do include parking information on my filming applications, this is more to do with a productions technical parking at a filming location and not the unit base information, which is what Princess Bridge is being used for. To be honest, unit bases tend to be within private car parks or private sections of land but it appears that Princess Bridge is providing a good option for productions but I do understand the need to keep the National Cycle Network (Route 6) open.

As Graham has stipulated below and I have reiterated to the location manager, vehicles must not be parked in a manner which could obstruct or inconvenience other road users, which on this occasion has been the cyclists. Hopefully now Princess Bridge is operating in a satisfactory manner for the cyclists but please let me know if this changes at any point.

Lets just say that a narrow channel between caravans, crossed by cables carrying mains electricity and crew who don't realise they are crossing a road is far from satisfactory.

This morning a film crew encampment had completely closed the road on Princes Bridge. Not only had the caravans and other crap been parked up both sides of the road, but the road had been closed with tape.

This was pushing cyclists onto the pavement.

A quick check of the vehicles, before the security guard got too close, revealed that the encampment is for a production called "Bedlam 2" and there were no parking permits on any of the vehicles. Bedlam is a Sky (i.e. News International) production, and Sky couldn't give a shit about cycling!

An email has been sent to the local councillor, and if that doesn't reveal whether this is illegal obstruction then a FoI request may follow....

Sunday 22 January 2012

Saturday 21 January 2012

Princes Bridge - more film crew vehicles.

It seems that the council is quite happy to let film crews use Princes Bridge, National Cycle Network Route 6, as a camp site.

This travelling actor's camp is a regular site on this bridge. One can only assume that this is free parking for the ITV studios.

Clearly the council couldn't care less about this being a busy cycle route...

Thursday 19 January 2012

Irwell River Park - path closure

Further Update - by Friday afternoon the rubbish had been cleared.

However, the scafolding still remains further towards central Manchester.



The path reopened on Thursday 26/01/12

There is still some rubbish on the path where the trees have been cleared.


A section of the Irwell River Path is currently closed - this is the map posted on the path.

This is the eastern end of the closure,

and the western end.

Some minor tidying up has been done, and the fallen tree from the first week in January has been removed.

However, the scale of the works doesn't seem to justify closing the path, especially when you consider the dangerous demolition going on further to the east. It seems reasonably safe to ride along the closed section when the workmen are not around as there is no significant work being done to the path surface as far as I could see. Also, there is no traffic regulation order closing the path as far as I could find on the council web site.

View Larger Map


Tuesday 10 January 2012

Pedal Powered Advertising

Out in Market Street last weekend, a trike from The Advertising Bike Company.

Back in October a Brox riding away rapidly along High Street.

And a more modest approach in June outside the GMEX.

Saturday 7 January 2012

This is no ordinary pothole, this is a Manchester pothole...

This example is on Oxford Road, just outside the 8th Day Co-op.

It's around 20cm deep and around 70cm in diameter.

It has been like this since before christmas and the road is also breaking up on both sides of the main hole.

The roads in central Manchester are getting really bad at the moment, and it makes cycling a lot less comfortable, especially if you have a small wheeled bike.

Still this pothole is a pretty small example.

The MEN reported back in December a car getting stuck as a water main collapsed.

Photo from the MEN

This particular hole was soon repaired, but many more bike wheel sized holes are still out there.

Tuesday 3 January 2012

"Memorandum of Understanding with British Cycling"

Is the Memorandum of Understanding between Manchester City Council and British Cycling, signed by the council leader back in September 2010 really a secret?

An email exchange with the officer drafting the council's cycling strategy hasn't provided the contents of the document, so I have submitted an FoI request.

Is the contents of an agreement between our council and British Cycling (funded by Sky and Fiat) so controvertial that we can't see it? We shall see.

From the British Cycling web site:-

British Cycling and Manchester City Council marked the occasion by signing a Memorandum of Understanding, a ten year agreement outlining the city's continued commitment to cycling with the aims of developing a joint strategy for performance, participation, events, facilities and grass-roots projects across all cycling disciplines.

Ian Drake, Chief Executive of British Cycling, said:

"British Cycling and its elite success are a perfect example of what Olympic legacy is all about. Our dominance on the world's performance stage at Olympic level has attracted new public and private sector funding, enabling us to build an organisation that can effectively drive participation in its sport. Since we moved to Manchester in 1994, the city has played a vital part in the transformation of our sport.

"Today's signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Manchester City Council shows our long-term commitment to the city and both the Velodrome and the new Indoor BMX Arena will be the training base for the GB Cycling Team in the build up to London 2012 and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow."

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council said:

"The phenomenal success of the Great Britain Cycling Team demonstrates exactly what can be achieved when you combine the vision, foresight and ambition of a city like Manchester. I am proud to reaffirm the city's commitment to the sport and am confident that it will continue to provide opportunities for many local people and our elite athletes of the future."

Monday 2 January 2012

Is this Manchester's Narrowest Cycle Lane?

This is Mount Street in Central Manchester, heading towards the Town Hall, and this pathetic green strip is supposedly a cycle lane.

Narrower than the double yellow lines it is possibly the narrowest cycle lane in Manchester (Salford has one that is probably narrower) and utterly useless. For a cycle lane to be of any real use it needs to be at least 2 metres wide, this abomination is not much more than 20cm wide. It is the kind of pathetic tokenism that exposes the council's real attitude towards cycling. Somebody in the council designed and built this with our money. Why?

Well, the lane begins at a reasonable width in Windmill Street.

But narrows as it joins the roadway.

It then narrows again as it turns right into Mount Street.

It ends up around 30cm wide at this point and continues this wide to the junction with Peter Street. Notice how wide the road is here.

At the junction a passing rider obligingly demonstrated how wide the cycle lane should be by doing a track stand where the centre of the cycle lane should have been.

The lane continues past the back of the library the same width,

then narrows even more as it passes Central Street,

and ends at the lights by the Town Hall.

The reason this cycle lane is so narrow is that the council has given priority to cars. This one way street is marked out with two lanes. This is a deliberate measure to increase the traffic flow into Albert Square.

If the council is serious about making this place a "World Class Cycling City" then this is the sort of thing that has to go.

This road should be narrowed to a single vehicle lane. This would make room for decent width cycle lanes on both sides of the road, and enable bicycles to use Mount Street in both directions. One of many one way streets that should be opened up to two way cycling.

View Larger Map