Thursday, 21 February 2013

Have Lib Dems Wasted Charity Money?

Cycleway threatened by new development 
Amid all the fuss about the Boorley Green development at Monday's local area committee, committee chair, mayor, and Hedge End Town Councillor Rupert Kyrle announced the completion of the cycle way works along Lower Northam Road.  These have largely been funded with a £0.25 million grant from cycling charity Sustrans with smaller contributions from Hampshire and Eastleigh.

The completed stretch will form part of a cycle way linking Hedge End and Botley centres, which would have been a very good thing when it is finally completed. 

However, due to geographical constraints the cycle way goes west to east and east to west.  The Boorley Green development will generate thousands of car movements a day to the M27.  These will go north to south and south to north and will cross the new cycle way at the Maypole Roundabout.

In fact engineers have said that all the roads at the Maypole Roundabout will need to be widened to let the cars from Boorley Green rush through on their way to the motorway.  This will mean that the recent works at the roundabout will have to be dug up, wasting the charity money that has been used to fund them.

But what is worse, it will make it much more difficult for cyclists and pedestrians to cross safely from west to east (and east to west) as they will be trying to get across two lanes of traffic each time. 

Are we surprised that Lib Dem Eastleigh is bottom of the league table for encouraging cycling amongst nearby councils?
See also Will Dani King Save Lib Dems' Cycle Strategy?


  1. What new cycling infrastructure is planned for the new housing? Links to the local schools and rail stations plus bike parking there?

  2. One of the things which gets "go-Dutch" cycle campaigners particularly annoyed is the propensity of our local authorities to slap down some crap facility and say "there you go, we've done something for cyclists, so stop moaning".

    Trouble is, these facilities almost invariably are crap. In most cases they are just some white paint, but even when they are properly conceived and executed, they then run up against a further failing - they exist where they are, aguably, not needed, and they vanish into thin air precisely where they are needed most.

    What practical use is a cycle route which only goes part of the way from A to B, if the remainder of the route is still too unattractive for people to start using it? How certain ever was the completion of phase 2 of this route? Would the money not have been better spent on a complete facility, for example to connect up a local secondary school?

    I don't know Hedge End well, but I am familiar with Fareham and Gosport as I grew up there, and they are highly contrsating from a cyclist's point of view. Gosport has a combination of cycle-friendly policies, such as relatively good off-road cycle tracks if again not complete, and geographical imperatives such as its isolation as a peninsula and a traditional built environment which doesn't easily accomodate cars, mild dry climate etc and flatness which together make it one of the highest-cycling boroughs in the country. Fareham, right next door, rates near the bottom of the league table. Fareham Borough Council admits in its cycle strategy that while there is potential for more cycling in teheastern part of the borough, the western part, bordering onto areas like Hedge End and Botley, has been permitted in previous decades to develop in a way which is highly hostile to cycling and to compel people to car use. If you look at the Guardian's excellent interactive map of commuter transport modes by borough, you will see that Segensworth and Whitely rate among the very highest incidences of car commuting in the country - if you allow for the percentage responding that they don't work, or work from home, it is nearly 100% of commuters. That is largely a consequence of bad planning decisions in the 70s and 80s, with suburban sprawl and development disconnected from public transport modes.

    It rather sounds like the LibDems in Eastleigh, like the Bourbon kings, having not learned the lessons of history are condemned ot repeat them with their approval of the Boorley Green housing development.

    Accordng to Ross Lydall of the Evening Standard, in a tweet this morning, Eastleigh voters' antipathy to the Lib Dems will have precious little to do with Chris Huhne, and a lot more to do with their local policies and their getting into bed with the tories nationally.