Monday 26 March 2012

Victoria Street Closure

I am pretty sure the traffic orders for Victoria Street only close it off for motor vehicles. However, the City Council web site doesn't seem to have the documentation on-line so I can't double check.

Anyway, the situation going north is far from satisfactory. Here the traffic straddles the red traffic light which has been thoughtfully placed in the cycle lane.

Even worse the traffic light has been placed behind the advanced stop line so anyone on a bike cannot see the traffic light! This is very dangerous as you need to get into the ASL as almost all the traffic will swing left without indicating.

Then there is the dreadful "Cyclists Dismount and Use Footway" sign which immediately tells you that things are about to get a lot worse.

If you do head down Victoria Street you will now find that the road now diverts left into the car park,

and you have to get onto the pavement to keep going.

For a brief while there is wide open traffic free road,

before another obstruction forces you back on the pavement.

Finally you have to cross the road with no assistance whatsoever.

Coming back the other way is just as bad.

And again, some thoughtful person has placed the traffic lights where cyclists can't see them!

This scheme could do so much to persuade drivers out of their cars and onto a bicycle. However, the council has made it quite clear that they don't want cyclists round here either.

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Yet another bad sign!

The Victoria Street closure is supposed to be open for cycling. Instead we get this crap!

This sign sums up Manchester Council's attitude to cycling.

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Saturday 24 March 2012

March Manchester Critical Mass

The first Critical Mass of Summer Time.

This Friday, 30 March, 18:00 until 21:00

Meet at 6pm at Central Library M1

Bring bikes, drinks, music, trumpets, cocktails, snacks, lights, tool kit, waterproofs, friends, soundsystems....

Tuesday 20 March 2012

Matt Busby Way - further update


Seems it isn't always free of stupid signs!

See comment from Jonathan - this is his photo.

Looks like Trafford Council may have screwed up yet again!


I have finally got round to riding Matt Busby Way since the road closure works have been completed.

There isn't much to report.

The road going north just ends in a row of bollards,

there is a big open space with no markings,

and then the road resumes.

No silly markings, no stupid signs, just traffic free space.

Friday 16 March 2012

Manchester Cycling Blogs: a case of hiberation or termination?

I tend to delete blogs from my blogroll which have been neglected for many months and have effectively died off.

Amongst the latest candidates for deletion I was somewhat shocked to see Manchester Cycle Chic, with the last post back on Saturday, 19 November 2011 and I started to wonder if something may have gone wrong over the winter. Whilst I've enjoyed cycling to work over the past few months, with only a few days where the tram has taken the strain, others seem to have lost their momentum or have left the area all together.

As a result of a new job, MCRcycling has upped sticks and moved to Chester, and is busy discovering the "delights" of Cycling in Wrexham.

Cycling and other adventures has simply given up, having "seriously fallen out of love with cycling" and "finally given up on cycle advocacy". The author has "given up any pretence of doing any Sustrans Volunteer Rangering ever again." Many of us gave up with Sustrans around 10 years ago when they failed to enforce their own standards. However, more telling perhaps is the comment "So no more talking shop cycle forum meetings where cycle enthusiasts disagree and defend their own on road vs off road agendas and no more Bike Fridays that don’t attract any new riders (sorry Rich)."

Bike Fridays that don't attract any new riders? Personally I am not surprised. I know of no Bike Buddy scheme that has had any significant impact, having watched this type of scheme fail for the past 20 or so years. The last news update on the Love Your Bike web site was posted on November 21, 2011, almost as old as the last Manchester Cycle Chic post.

So, has something gone wrong with cycle blogging in Manchester over the past winter, or do the cycle bloggers of Manchester hibernate, only to reappear refreshed every spring?

Tuesday 13 March 2012

Crap Cycle Lanes of Trafford

Trafford Council hate to see people cycling on the road. They ensure that most of their cycle routes are shoved onto the pavement.

However, just to make sure that anyone who dares to cycle in Trafford gets the message loud and clear they put a few obstructions in the middle of the route.

Let's just say that someone in Trafford council is trying to say,

"get the hell out of here..."

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Sunday 11 March 2012

Fallowfield Loop - closures and openings.

Don't know how long it's been like this but today I found the bike/pedestrian crossing on the Fallowfield Loop at Sainsbury's is currently closed.

I could find no explanation for the closure,

And no alternative route was signposted. Not good.

Also a little further to the east, work has started on repairing the Lattice Bridge at the Loop entrance to Highfield country park.

Unfortunately this means that, even on a Sunday afternoon with no work taking place, the path is being used for vehicle parking.

However, the good news is that this means that two of the dreadful barriers have been opened.

Diversion notice and map from photos by Cos Harnasz.

Friends of the Fallowfield Loop

Monday 5 March 2012

Irwell River Park - good news and not so good news

The good news is that Irwell River Park part 2 is now clear of the scaffolding that was almost blocking the path between the Regent Road Bridge and the Woden Street Footbridge.

Most of the rubble that had fallen onto the path has been cleared up and wider pedal cycles can now get through without difficulty.

Also the gardening works which had caused unnecessary blockages have now finished, and it is all a lot more pleasant for passing cyclists. The only problem has been for the local sparrows who have been displaced a few yards along into the remaining bushes now their original thicket has been removed.

The bad news is that works have started on Part 1 of the Irwell River Park. The link path from Trafford Wharf Road has been shut for no good reason that I can see,

and the fencing for the building site has been pushed out to narrow the path quite badly. This part can get quite busy at times and they could have left a lot more space.

And there have been problems with the lighting along this stretch too.

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Sunday 4 March 2012

87 pages of tokenism called "Cycling Issues in Manchester"

Which of these two cycle facilities is correct?

Answer, neither - both are examples of Manchester City Council's tokenism and bad design for cycling. Both are examples of public money being wasted.

The one on the right is one of the most dangerous cycle facilities in central Manchester, and almost all cyclists ignore it and cycle on the road.

And yet they are featured on page 12 in the latest 87 page document from Manchester City Council, entitled "Cycling Issues in Manchester" which will be discussed at the Manchester City Council Communities and Neighbourhoods Overview and Scrutiny Committee at 2pm on Tuesday 6th March.

Lets just say that the City Council needs to stop wasting money on sports events and start getting real about getting people out of their cars and onto bikes in the city. Discussing ways of forcing bikes onto pavements will just make matters worse.

Hat tip to the LYB email for this one.

Saturday 3 March 2012

BCF, "the voice of cycling" in Manchester, for ten years...

One of the vital pieces of information missing from the version of the Memorandum of Understanding between Manchester City Council and British Cycling released under my FoI request was the length of the agreement.

However, the City Council have now agreed that it isn't a secret after all. You see the information was made public back in September 2010 on the British Cycling Web Site.

The reply from the Council gives the full deleted text:-

I have made further enquiries and found that the deletion of the length of the agreement from the Memorandum of Understanding that I sent with my message of 15 February was a mistake as this information is not commercially sensitive and is already in the public domain.
I apologise for this error.

The relevant paragraph in the document is:

8. Duration
8.1 The duration of this Agreement shall be 10 (ten) years from the date of this Agreement.

This means that Manchester is stuck with having the BCF acting as the "voice of cycling" in Manchester until 28th September 2020!

So what are we going to be landed with as a result of this agreement? Well apart from the £28 motorway cycling tax being tried out in June this year, you might like to take a look at item 7.3 below...

It seems that Manchester City Council will be prioritising issues such as cycle racing on the public highway.

Which leaves me to wonder whether the council spends more money on cycle sport in this city than it does on providing for cycling on the streets. It's time for another FoI enquiry...