Thursday, May 6, 2010

Back in the UK - Cycling News update - well the Cambridge Guided Busway

P1090411_05_06_07_08_09_10_tonemapped.jpg Just before I went off to the US on business the Cambridge News was reporting that there were "More guided busway delays". Apparently there was a date at which the Contractors were supposed to report back to Cambridgeshire County Council on how the six faults (groups of faults) were going to be rectified and the timetable. The date came and went - apparently. In the industry (Electronics) I work in the customer is supposed to be king. If there are to be delays then the best approach is to keep the customer informed right away. It does not always happen - there is a tendency to believe that a project can be caught up on - but in my experience that rarely happens - however keeping a customer informed can sometimes allow the customer to work around the issues.

This is a different kind or problem - this is not a chip which the customer is designing into a product, however I would guess that there will need to be further trials and so perhaps these could be over-lapped with some of the remedial work. I would imagine also that the bus companies need and deserve to be kept informed of developments as they have made significant investments and any changes will impact their time-tabling of buses .

So I was pleased to see some information regarding the cycle path flooding reported in the Cambridge New on my return: "Flood water set to shrink bus cycle track". I went up the track last week and was pleased to see that the cycle path alongside is now passable except for one stretch which is still flooded. However I was concerned that the cycle path would get relegated and/or traded for some other fix on the Cambridge Guided Busway (CGB). Well it seems I was right - the plan is to "raise the track with minimal costs" by narrowing it "slightly". Where slightly is 3m.


I can't say I am surprised, but am disappointed. This raises the question in my mind on what type of surface can we expect - will this approach mean that we can expect less flooding the originally predicted. It turns out that there was an acceptance that the track would be flooded in parts, depending upon the level of rainfall for some time each year. (I think it was between 5 and 55 days!). Imagine if your route to work was potentially going to be randomly blocked for between one week and nearly two months.

I wonder what quality of surface to expect, will this also be the maintenance track, will it be compacted, what how much higher can we expect the surface to be? It could be a win-win solution, but "Work on the cycle track could be finished once buses are operating" is the statement that appears in the press. So at the moment if they were to fix the cycle way then cyclists could use the concrete tracks as a detour. If buses are running does this mean the cycle way gets closed. It seems that cyclists are once again being treated as second class citizens - even though a work-around is possible.

Unfortunately the BBC News report on the same issue: "Cambridge guided busway's track base to be checked" does not even mention the cycling track problems. Is this because the BBC does not consider that cycling transport is news. Mind you they did report on the shocking story of 5 "British cyclists hurt in Belgium car collision" - although cyclists involved were sporting cyclists so perhaps this was Sporting News. Read the article - it shows just how fragile cyclists are. However perhaps the courts in the UK recognise the problem - "Driver jailed over road rage murder".

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