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Re: Tooting Common Cycle Paths

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  • Philip Loy
    Well it s all kicking off over Tooting Commons! It s been highlighted in other LCC discussion groups that there is now a petition to stop the planned removal
    Message 1 of 32 , Jul 28 5:37 AM
      Well it's all kicking off over Tooting Commons!

      It's been highlighted in other LCC discussion groups that there is now a petition to stop the planned removal of the white line, as per the LCC website:

      [lcc.org.uk > discussions]

      I don't support this particular petition though I think I understand what the fears are, but there are wider issues which it raises.

      > The problem that I see with removing the segregation, is that it
      > might lead people to believe that cycling has been banned from the
      > park...

      That might be a risk but judicious placing of the shared-use signage might mitigate this?

      > Totally disagree with this. The segregation seems to work on
      > Clapham Common, don't see why it shouldn't work on Tooting.

      It's an interesting aspect of middle class culture that bestows parks and open spaces with some kind of 'holy' status where you can't do anything that might upset the horses. They are wonderful places and should be protected, but is it healthy to have such a sharp distinction between green space treated as hallowed turf, and the wider urban or built space, which includes streets, where all manner of violations are tolerated?

      Why not regard the whole city, green and built-up, as a continuum of public space? Why can't we extend the values we attribute to parkland into the rest of the urban landscape? When the infamous Herne Hill junction proposals were put out to public consultation a couple of years back, the 'spin' on the large island outside the main gate of Brockwell Park was that it was 'extending the park into the street'. Some laughed mockingly at this statement, but actually that idea is great as long as it's genuine. Why stop at the park boundary?

      This is not to take away from those such as Anthony who have dedicated valuable time to protect the legal status of green spaces like the Tooting Commons. My comments are not about legal status, but cultural status.

      In a way, initiatives such as 20mph and home-zones are examples of what I'm talking about, extending what we value about green spaces into the rest of the urban environment. (You might notice on reflection that much of this is about mitigating the negative consequences of mass car ownership and motor traffic.)

      So as a quid-pro-quo, if we can extend the vaues of green space into the wider urban realm, we should be able to extend what is relatively benign, such as cycling, into green spaces. Is adopting 'sanitised' attitudes to green spaces healthy for the urban environment? My fear is that such attitudes, drawing sharp distinctions between 'park' and 'urban' areas generally is detrimental to promoting initiatives such as cycling that can potentially have profound efffects on our quality of life, if only we allowed it.

      > On shared paths like parks you should not ring your bell because
      > they have as much right to be there as you, so they have no duty
      > to get out of your way. Even if it is marked as a cycle path,
      > nobody in a park should have to be watching out for traffic, even
      > if it is only bikes.

      Despite what I just said I agree with this. As a matter of personal policy I never ring my bell and allow people to notice me in their own time (What's the rush? Is it really that urgent? You've gained advantage by being on a bike anyway). I'm using a Brompton a lot at the moment, and I've loosened the bell on the handle bar so that it pings ever so softly and subtly as I ride along, so people walking notice me with the very faintest of a tinkling sound.

      > I find it painful to watch, for example, cyclists going due north
      > from Waterloo bridge up into Covent Garden over the pavement into
      > Wellington St (before Bow Street), furiously belling away and
      > shouldering pedestrians aside as if they were on an emergency
      > call-out. Sharing means giving way to pedestrians.

      I find such incidents painful too. But you'll note something here. For one thing, that cycling crossover into Covent Garden is a compromise design. The real issue is the awful one-way arrangment of Aldwych, and of course the streets in general.

      You'll note something else too. In all our discussions, there is a presumption that all cyclists - all people cycling that is - have to behave unusually well, to be absolutely perfect, an assumption which is not made for anyone else. Pedestrians don't have to be 'perfect', as they are entitled not to be 'eternally vigilant', and rightly so. Drivers are not expected to be perfect either, as our judicial system makes so painfully clear. "Sorry mate I didn't see you", "It could have happened to anyone", "It's unfair to ban them from driving when they depend on it for their living", "It was a momentary lapse from a person with an otherwise impeccable character", and so on.

      Why are cyclists expected to be totally different to anyone else? The environment people are generally expected to use their bicycle in is on the whole poorly facilitated. Pedestrians are allowed to have a 'forgiving' environment and that's right; drivers have a forgiving environment in a physical and legal sense, but creates wider problems. Yet cyclists are expected to behave perfectly, and do so moreover in conditions worse that those provided for others. It's a damned if you do, damned if you don't, situation (i.e. impossible).

      So whilst I may cycle along a Tooting Commons shared path and be a model of courtesy and consideration, it is inevitable that if we are to make cycling accessible to all - to 'mainstream' cycling - not everyone will be like me. It is largely because pedestrians and cyclists are left to fight over the scraps of space like feral dogs, thrown from the high table (high altar, even) of motoring, that we are having this discussion.

      > I am also amazed by cyclists steaming along the cycle path on
      > Clapham Common,

      As I said previously, this may be evidence that the culture of the road, or rather, the fact that cyclists have to adapt to vehicular cycling conditions in mixed traffic, that tends to create this kind of adrenalin-fuelled way of cycling in some people.

      I re-state my question then, being: Is it in fact the conditions of the wider street network that will have a greater effect on the way people cycle in parks and open spaces than any specific treatment in parks themselves, which although may have some superficial effect, are ultimately doomed to compromise, if not failure?

      If so, then the 'Love London, Go Dutch' campaign initiative of the London Cycling Campaign needs even greater support!

      To end, here's a nice little summary of shared-use by a cycle blogger which came out a couple of days ago which has some relevant points so is quite timely:

      [pedestrianiselondon.tumblr.com > shared-use-pavement-dutch-style]

      To quote: "If you are to make cycling an easy choice for people, it needs to be gezellig... This is something we need to learn in the UK. We tend to give ourselves just the two options, roads with pavements in town, roads without in the countryside, and stick the cyclists on the road or the pavement or both. Whereas really we need to not be so narrow with our choices... it all depends on the conditions in question"

    • Andrew Weir
      I just looked on StreetView. In fact it¹s a ³Whippersnappers², not a one o¹clock club, but they cater for under-fives. It¹s in the old Lodge at the park
      Message 32 of 32 , Aug 1, 2013
        Re: [Lambeth_Cyclists] Re: Tooting Common Cycle Paths I just looked on StreetView. In fact it’s  a “Whippersnappers”,  not a one o’clock club, but they cater for under-fives. It’s in the old Lodge at the park entrance by Dulwich Gallery.

        On 01/08/2013 07:25, "Sally Eva" <bobsallyeva@...> wrote:


           It doesn't have a one o'clock club -- I can't think of any other similar facility. It has a good playground. London Recumbents rent out fun bikes which I see they do advertise for the disabled. There was some talk of adapting one of the park houses for special needs so maybe you mean that? I can't find it on the list of facilities and the plans seemed uninspiring when I was looking at them.
         The big fuss about closing the road around the park was made by elderly residents who would no longer be able to drive in and look at it. Most elderly disabled people have those motorised scooter/wheelchair things now. They did a trial to see how much aggro there really was and offered special arrangements for Blue Badge cars etc. The road is still there. The gates were closed (all but one) a long time ago so that it stopped being a through route. oh that the Royal Parks would notice and copy
        On 31/07/2013 22:17, Andrew Weir wrote:
         Re: [Lambeth_Cyclists] Re: Tooting Common Cycle Paths  Bear in mind that Dulwich Park has a one o’clock club, or similar nursery, and a disability cycling facility, so some parking is necessary.  
         On 31/07/2013 13:31, "Vivian McClew" <vmcclew@...> wrote:

         Exactly!!! Nobody needs to drive to a park in London. Whoever does that -
         unless disabled - is just plain lazy. And it seems that cyclists are the
         ones suffering other people's laziness!
         "We learned more from a three minute record than we ever learned in school".
         No Surrender
         -----Original Message-----
         From: Lambeth_Cyclists@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Lambeth_Cyclists%40yahoogroups.com>
         [mailto:Lambeth_Cyclists@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Lambeth_Cyclists%40yahoogroups.com> ] On Behalf Of simonstill
         Sent: 31 July 2013 13:20
         To: Lambeth_Cyclists@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Lambeth_Cyclists%40yahoogroups.com>
         Subject: [Lambeth_Cyclists] Re: Tooting Common Cycle Paths
         "Families need cars as well and people may come quite a way so they need car
         parking too."
         Really? I suspect the catchment area for parks is acually small - look at a
         map and draw a 2km circle from the edge of each and I don't think many
         people are further away from a green area.  That's a completely feasible
         distance for anyone to walk, push a pushchair or, heaven forbid, ride a
         Given that over 50% of Lambeth households don't own a car I don't have much
         truck with the 'we've got kids, we have to drive' argument.


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