“What is striking about biking is not that it solves any particular problem but, instead, that it is part of the solution to several.” —

J. Harry Wray

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Well? Does Bath & North East Somerset Council Have a Commitment to Promoting Walking and Cycling or Not?

As a member (or now, apparently, a former member of the now defunct) of the snappily titled "Joint Liaison Group for pedestrians, access, cyclists and equestrians and Cycle Forum" I received the following email from B&NES:

I am writing to you about the future of the above two forums. As you are probably already aware the Council have had to make savings in the environment of a financially challenged period. Several members of the Traffic & Safety Team, including Alison Sherwin and Tom Webster, are due to move to Design and Projects where they will be focus more directly on delivery of improvements schemes. As a consequence, for the time being there will be no resource within Traffic & Safety to arrange or support the meetings in their current form. However you will be aware that with the West of England Partnership we are currently preparing our third Joint Local Transport Plan which will articulate our aspirations and policy for improvements in transport in the future. Your input into this strategic document will be welcomed when it is published later in the year and I will ensure that you are included in consultations at the right time.

Should you require clarification regarding these changes please contact Peter Dawson, Group Manager, Planning Policy & Transport,

In the meantime, Alison, Tom and myself would like to thank you for all your input in the past.


Nick Jeanes
Team Leader Traffic & Safety

As Alison was the council's "Cycling and Pedestrian Officer", we appear now to have no council officer directly responsible for promoting projects to make cycling and walking easier and safer in the Bath area.

This is odd, since the council, albeit somewhat reluctantly, supported the ongoing "Two Tunnels" and "Five Arches" cycle route projects.

But, then again, as far as I can tell, there never has been any serious attempt to promote cycling and walking as viable modes of transport. The Two Tunnels and Five Arches schemes were community initiatives driven from outside the council. If the council had any real initiative then these projects should have come about without outside help.

The only positive outcome of years of my talking and emailing the former Cycling and Pedestrian Officer was that I was accused of giving her a headache.
So, will we notice any difference from these changes?

Without the political will to drive things forward I guess that all we can hope for is to continue to endure many more years of flowery language and inaction. There are no votes in promoting cycling in such a reactionary and backward facing country such as ours.

Another sad indictment of a nation that's lost its way.


Nick said...

"There are no votes in promoting cycling in such a reactionary and backward facing country such as ours."

Oh, but there will be soon, as the price of oil continues to rise and its availability to decline. It'll be interesting to watch (if I'm still around) the politicians change their tunes.

It's just that, for the moment, I'm sorry to say you're a man ahead of your time.

WestfieldWanderer said...

Thanks, Nick.
You flatter me, sir.