Friday, 12 February 2016

Dependence on walking and transit to decrease car use.

A lot of the time, many people when they say things like shifting away from cars, they usually mean onto transit and encouraging people to walk. This is leaving a huge gap in our system.

Why? Because you've forgotten about bicycles! A lot of the objections people have about transit and walking don't make sense when you have good cycle paths, traffic calmed low volume streets and the subjective and social safety that makes it pleasant to ride. People probably wouldn't lug a bunch of groceries back home by foot, and probably not by bus, but on a bike, they could do that pretty easily. A journey of say 3 km is a bit short for a transit ride, but longer than you'd like to walk. But it often takes 15 minutes or less on a bike.

A lot of the time I see walkable, and transit friendly conditions encouraged, but not cycling. For example: It doesn't talk about making 104 Ave at all friendly towards people riding bikes, despite it being the happening place in the district and the centre of the plan. It has a route on 105 Ave and 102, but even motorists who often have too many routes in this area of the city all too often get to use 104 Ave. It includes bicycle storage, something I asked for when I attended the meetings to formulate that plan, in the homes, and at the stores and other destinations, but I didn't get the actual safe places to ride it on 104 Ave.

This is a good time to make it clear. Cyclists need a far tighter grid of routes than you probably think. In Assen, the network is between 500 and 750 metres apart for primary routes along, often around 200-400 metres for secondary routes. And this doesn't leave any building or destination out, because wherever there isn't a secondary or primary cycle route, there is a traffic calmed 30 km/h (because this is the urban area) road mixed with motor traffic and occasionally pedestrians which you use to get from building to building. Building a primary route on a nearby road does not and cannot relieve you of your obligations to create a safe route on roads where there are destinations and homes on it, unless the road is a service road next to the main road, where a fietsstraat can be used. 104 Ave still has places that someone is likely to want to use, and denying them a safe route is discriminatory.

Transit can only take you so far, and it needs to be like a grid too not only a radial system if it is to be of any use. Putting a bus line on every single roadway would be ridiculous. So having a radial LRT system,  a grid based system of buses on main roads with safe places to cycle independently of transit if you wish to cycle for your entire journey and also a way to connect with the bus and or train if you want to do that makes the transit system effective and makes the cycling network effective.

Don't just ask for walking and transit if you want to make a city really shine and healthy. Cycling is another hugely important component that many people miss. Don't be among those who misses cycling.

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