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Posts Tagged ‘London’

Transport for London (TfL) has set an ambitious goal of raising bike/ped/transit mode share from 63% today to 80%. The pedestrian infrastructure will play a major role in getting an extra million walking trips per day. To achieve this goal, London has developed some interesting ideas as outlined in a new Pedestrian Plan.

Signal timing is being optimized so that pedestrians should not have to wait more than 40 seconds at a crossing. At key intersections, detectors will be used to count the number of people waiting to cross, and adjust the signal timing accordingly.

The most radical proposal, though, is ‘green-man authority’, or what Americans might call the reverse beg-button:

‘Green man’ authority is a technique where the traffic signals show a green signal for pedestrians continuously, until vehicular traffic is detected, at which time the pedestrians are stopped on a red signal, and vehicles are given a green light to proceed. This technique has previously only been used at two locations in London, on bus-only streets in Hounslow and Morden. TfL has identified the next 10 new locations where this approach will be set up, where it would significantly benefit pedestrians, with very little detriment to traffic.

One of the frustrating things as a pedestrian is to be standing around at a corner waiting for a signal to change, even though there are no cars coming. The Green-Man authority eliminates this frustration, by defaulting to green for pedestrians. Since the UK does not have jaywalking laws, the benefit of this technology for Londoners is minor, but it would be a major benefit in the US as a workaround against all the jaywalking enforcement nonsense.

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Healthy Streets Indicators

 

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Hope you’re enjoying your Volkswagens London:

London has already breached annual pollution limits just one week into 2016, and only weeks after the government published its plans to clean up the UK’s air.

At 7am on Friday, Putney High Street in West London breached annual limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a toxic gas produced by diesel vehicles that has been linked to respiratory and heart problems.

Under EU rules, sites are only allowed to breach hourly limits of 200 micrograms of NO2 per cubic metre of air 18 times in a year, but this morning Putney broke that limit for the 19th time. Chelsea and Kensington is expected to do the same later today.

Attention on the harm caused to human health by NO2 came to the fore last year when it was revealed that VW had cheated NO2 emissions tests in the US, with the scandal affecting 1.2m diesel cars in the UK. Next week, VW UK bosses will be quizzed by MPs on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs committee on diesel pollution and what they are doing to make cleaner cars.

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A Bit Of A Sticky Wicket

London’s busy Victoria line is shut down — because a construction team accidentally poured concrete into the signalling equipment room.

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The Guardian reports that that London Bike Share is wildly profitable. Not only is it covering its operating costs, it will even be paying back the capital costs too.

Setting up the bike hire scheme is set to cost £140m over six years. TfL expect it will cover its operating costs within two to three years and will then be able to contribute to its implementation costs. Charlie Lloyd from the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) said, “It is very likely they will make some kind of profit on this, and you have to bear in mind that London Transport makes a loss on every single bus and tube journey. So this is a good value transport investment.

This result is no great surprise. Though often derided by planners and politicians, bicycle transport is incredibly efficient. Imagine the kind of bike network possible if cycling received the same level of monetary and political support as highways or subways.

And, let’s also note that the bike sharing scheme has large ridership too:

Jeroen Weimar from Serco, the operating company, told the committee: “As of this morning there are 94,500 members of the bike hire scheme and between them they have made over 1,068,000 journeys.”

Indeed, one of the questions raised was whether London Bike Share is scalable. At what point do bike sharing stations become overwhelmed?

[David] Brown said the scheme could never deal with commuters from railway hubs like Victoria or Waterloo. “We could never cope with that level of demand. We would need docking stations the size of five football pitches.”

Perhaps Mr. Brown needs to visit central station in Amsterdam or Copenhagen.

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London Bike Plan FAIL

It is good to know that American city planners aren’t the only ones striping really dangerous and dysfunctional bike lanes.

Merely putting blue paint on low quality infrastructure will not result in a boom in cycling. The majority need cycling to both feel safe and be convenient before they will take part.

The entire blog post is well worth reading as many of the problems cited apply to sucky bike plans in the US too.

Extremely substandard width bike lanes, with no buffer from traffic, even though the roadway is plenty wide enough. London planners are preserving existing automobile LOS rather than provide world-class cycle facilities.

Oh my. Bike path routed through bus stop, with bollards in the bike lane.

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