Which route for efficient walking and cycling?
Human-powered modes of transport are the greenest and most sustainable!
Planners and designers determine how streets in London look like. They are responsible for keeping all road users safe and turning roads and streets into pleasant places for all.
DIRECTNESS. Cyclists are making a physical effort, just as pedestrians are. Therefore detours such as one-way streets, one-direction junctions and special remote ways, such as quietways and cycle super highways sometimes, are discouraging and don’t make any sense to cyclists.
Being able to go everywhere, just like a pedestrian
How do Dutch urban designers and planners do to encourage people to cycle? They treat cyclists just as pedestrians, pedestrians who temporary use a bike for their journeys – short or longer ones. Just like pedestrians, cyclists need to be able to to go EVERYWHERE, not just to go to work through dedicated paths to use their bike as main mean of transport.
Current London general approach is to push cyclists away from lively places (high streets and parks) and offer them to use quietways and highways.
Directness is key and it benefits all
Imagine if we would use the same London logic for pedestrians and not provide them with sidewalks everywhere. We would build a few dedicated footpaths far from high streets – because these are too busy with traffic – that they would need to reach as quick as possible to be able to walk safely. This looks very similar to mistakes we made in the sixties by removing pedestrians from traditional and busy high streets, total disaster that created both dead and unsafe new pedestrian streets and traditional high streets.
The benefits of having cyclists everywhere
Pushing cyclists aside from high streets, is killing the opportunity to help making our places safer through human presence on the street and, boosting our local economies! There are now plenty of studies that show that giving more space to pedestrians AND cyclists on high streets, make sales figures increase for all local traders.
Why? Because slower modes of transport and ease of stopping can mean potential spontaneous/impulsive shopping. In a car, cab or bus, people can’t just stop whenever they want if they see something nice through a shop window or remember they need to buy something while passing along their favourite a shop. And it is even not possible at all while on the tube or in the train, On a bike, it takes two minutes to stop and park and be inside the shop.
The quality control question
An essential question for designers and planners: Would you, as a pedestrian, like to run on the cycling infrastructure you’re designing?
Yes? > Design is good
No? > Redesign.
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