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Bonkers Blog September 2009

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25 September - Email from Andrew Bashford, Team Leader (Traffic Projects) regarding Abbey Road

Apparently “most of” what I have said about Abbey Road is wrong. Mr. Bashford did not, he says, “deliberately withhold the consultation from the people most affected” and the scheme is not to “solely provide a small benefit to cyclists”. He doesn’t like my reference to accident statistics and says that the road redesign is not “politically correct” in the way it favours cyclists.

Perhaps he should read his own files again. Street notices to keep pedestrians informed were rejected because “As there are no such changes (of law) required as part of the Abbey Road scheme, no street notices were required.”

Mr.  Bashford’s final submission to The Cabinet Member for Transport says that the scheme is “part of a cycle route condition study which identified safety issues and the scheme reduces speeds by decreasing road widths. This is achieved by widening footpaths on both sides and relocating the existing cycle lanes to the widened footway.” Apart from a reference to the London Cycle Plus Network that’s it. Abbey Road was virtually destroyed by seven lines of typescript. If the scheme is not “solely to benefit cyclists” it was certainly the driving force and the possible by-product of speed reduction is not supported by the experts at The Transport Research Laboratory (T.R.L.) or the Vice-Chairman of Bexley’s Traffic Scrutiny Sub-Committee.

On the subject of speed Mr. Bashford said “this road was not identified as one of the priority roads, based upon its collision history assessment”. Is that not an indication that accident levels have been low? Now that we have accidents occurring he seems to want to rewrite history to make the contrast as favourable as possible.

Andrew Bashford makes many references to his contact with the London Cycle Network Plus Team (LCN+) and how they have approved the changes in Abbey Road. LCN+ is The London Cycling Campaign, a Registered Charity. It’s a pressure group. Their stated mission is to “influence decision making”. Mr. Bashford may not like me calling his motives politically correct but rewarding pressure groups with £400,000 of taxpayers money is certainly a political issue. But let’s look on the bright side. My criticism of his “naive mathematics” about the car door risks goes unchallenged. The same for my claim that he did not follow the T.R.L. and Department for Transport guidelines and that based on their advice the failure to do so could lead to head-on collisions. Neither was there any rebuff for my suggestion that the restriction at Florence Road was “malicious” and that the failure to paint the cycle track there for eight years was a mistake.

Why a scheme the councillor did not believe in was allowed to go ahead remains a mystery. Maybe we should vote for someone with teeth next time.


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