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Discussion in 'Advocacy and Cycling Safety' started by stowie, 24 Jan 2012.

  1. stowie

    stowie Guru

    As a simple cyclist not involved in the politics of cycling, I am always a little mystified by the LCN. I hear it cost a small fortune to implement, that no-one uses it and they are a bit of a white elephant.

    Looking at the website the other day, I cycle along some LCN routes, and up until consulting their (rather difficult to operate) interactive map I had absolutely no idea.

    Which set me wondering. Is LCN being a failure a commonly held view? And if so why? Is it because (in my area at least) signposts lead one on mysterious detours often ending at streets that have been made one way (in the wrong direction) - presumably after designation on the map. Or is there something more fundamental wrong with the concept?

    Would LCN work if the streets were redesigned with cyclists in mind, routes were clearly signposted and continuous? If we could cycle on LCN and quiet routes without having to take massive detours, if we had some accurate signs and if we didn't have to cycle them whilst dodging rat-running speeding cars would we do so - or would we continue on main roads?
  2. Richard Mann

    Richard Mann Well-Known Member

    Oxford has pretty good quiet routes on several corridors. Younger secondary kids use them to get to school, and they get some leisure use. Some of them have reasonable signposting.

    But 80% of the cyclists use the main roads. That may be because our main roads aren't too bad for the middling cyclist, but clearly that's where people want to go. So locally we've stopped worrying about fancy new quiet connections, and are concentrating on making the main roads better. You still need to connect up the back routes (particularly to serve secondary schools), but they aren't worth spending oodles on making them perfect. It won't get lots of new people cycling.
  3. srw

    srw AGM 2008, Dykes medal 2011

    I once followed the LCN to get from Wembley-ish into central London. I found myself haring down a hill at over 20mph along a two-way road with cars parked on both sides and sleeping policemen across the width of the tarmac.

    Coming home I went via the A404, which felt an awful lot safer.
  4. dellzeqq

    dellzeqq pre-talced and mighty

    It's not a commonly held view because most cyclists are completely unaware of LCN+. The spending on LCN+ offers some validation to cycling campaigners (and since I've never scooped £200M from tax funds I'm not entitled to sneer at it) but there are some people in the higher reaches of the LCC who shudder at the cost. As one said to me 'one of these days people are going to ask for their money back'.

    the signposting is a really poor, but I think the difficulty is more profound. Most of us like simplicity and most of us want to get to where we're going in a decent time. Adding 50% to the distance and doubling the number of junctions, while making those same junctions more complex makes for a less congenial ride.

    So.....all in all it's kind of faded awy. Whether the 'Go Dutch' campaign is going to grab the same amount of spending that the LCC attracted to LCN+ I very much doubt. Times are harder, and, frankly, politicians are entitled to say 'you had two hundred million smackers of us last time, and it made naff-all difference'. And, like it or not, the CS routes have made a bigger difference for less money.

    Of course you're right (as you so often are) when you say that if the streets were more congenial to cyclists then there would be a greater take-up, but, with the best will in the world, it's not easy. London is a radial city, with skewed grids between the radial routes. Finding continuous routes in to and out of the centre that aren't A-roads is difficult. One thinks of Larkhall Rise and Cable Street, but even these, pleasant as they might be, don't continue for very long. We have the urban form we have, if you see what I mean. Far, far better for the main routes to emulate those that are successful.
  5. style over speed

    style over speed riding a f**king bike

    Didn't all of the 200 million get wasted spent on consultations? all those CRIPS and CRIMS didnt come cheap, I've seen the figures, and in the end was anything ever built…?
  6. style over speed

    style over speed riding a f**king bike

    Attached Files:

  7. AnotherEye

    AnotherEye Well-Known Member

    North London
    sorry to point out the contradiction!
    I live on one of these routes, I use it going East or West & get more agro from motorists than most other roads. Cars are parked up on both sides so I would like motorists to adjust their speed and position accordingly, to respect my priority, when passing in either direction. Some do & some don't.
  8. dellzeqq

    dellzeqq pre-talced and mighty

    it was more about wayfinding and marking than building, although squillions were wasted on off-road paths that nobody uses
  9. stowie

    stowie Guru

    I kind of inadvertently use part of the LCN network since it happens to run along a main road that I use. I noticed yesterday that there are signs on it directing one to hackney. I don't know if this is LCN or a quiet route something TfL have devised, but whatever it is, the sign directs you to a cross roads where the cyclist is left to guess which exit to take next.

    These quiet routes / LCN on smaller roads are worse to cycle in my opinion than main roads simply because you are on narrow double-parked streets which often act as rat runs. All fairly horrible.
  10. stowie

    stowie Guru

    Which makes spending £100M (is this number really correct?!) on it even more insane. The wayfinding I experience are either panini football sticker sized arrows on lamposts or little blue signs stuck on existing poles (and generally able to be twisted around at will). If I was to have £100M to spend on signs, I would hope to get something of higher quality than this.

    Infrastructure - well I can see where the cost comes from. It appears anything that has to move drainage costs at least ten times the most outrageous number you might think it would. I also am sceptical - especially with offroad paths. If a path is resurfaced then these are usually dual use. Who is to say it wouldn't have been revamped for pedestrians anyway? Maybe the money is taken from cycling to fund stuff that would have been repaired in any event. May sound cynical, but I have it on some authority that a local council in my neck of the woods used some cycling money to "improve" facilities by adding some extra cycle racks... and putting in some car parking spaces.
  11. dellzeqq

    dellzeqq pre-talced and mighty

    I can only agree about the signs. £1.3 million quid was blown on the Wandle Way to make it worse than it was before, but Cable Street cost £0.9 million and all that did was make life more difficult for pedestrians. I think the LCN+ money (as distinct from money expended by boroughs or by developers) was genuinely spent on cycling.

    Part of the reason streetworks are so expensive that the tender process was so complex it inflated prices. Developers would offer to do works mandated under S.106 agreements only to be told that it would let by tender. Cue price doubling.