Tuesday, 11 August 2015 23:39

Bus spotters - the pain

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There is a certain breed of bus lovers, the anoraks, different to the geek variety.

Anoraks are the traditional people who sit on the kerb with a little book of numbers, sandwhiches and a thermos flask. Brighton has a regular company of these people. Now, do not get me wrong, i do not mind people attending bus rallies and taking pictures (except where they ask you to turn the bus aroaund to get the better picture), i do mind the people who step out in front of you or distract you to get the money shot.
we have several techniques for the photographers.

You can slightly move the bus to the side to avaoid a pigeon or something.
You can forget that you have placed your hi-viz on the dashboard.

Wave at the photographer, or you can make it very clear you are taking their picture. on one day this week was a very rare occasion where there were 4 standing together and one standing the other side of the fountains,


Saturday, 25 July 2015 23:01

University of Sussex - cant add up

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A recent FOI request asked for some details on the state of the roads at sussex university. mainly, how legal are the road signs, who is responsible for them and what enforcement is carried out (specifically in the bus/cycles only lane areas).

The answer originally came back that the roads even though on private property were subject to the Road Traffic Act. Road signs were legal specification and were the responsibility of the Estate services to maintain (or not ). The final part of the question produced the most shocking revelation and mistake.

There had been numerous fines issued for [parking] offenders.

The original question asked

In areas marked as restricted, eg Bus & cycles only, cycles only, no entry, what is the enforcement level.

3) Enforcement of all traffic and parking regulations comes under the control of the University security team.

In areas where enforcement takes place, how many breaches of rules have resulted in fines or similar.

4) For the period 1 January 2013 - 31 December 2013 1048 penalty notices were issued.

This was obviously unbelievable so it was clarified, in item 4)
= please do not count pay and display parking fines as these werenot requested, but only count the areas requested, eg Bus & cycles only, cycles only, no entry,
Their response.
4) Having taken on board your clarification 'please do not count pay and display parking fines ..[and] only count the areas requested, eg Bus & cycles only, cycles only, no entry', the response is that there has been no enforcement that ended in a Fixed penalty fine being issued for any of the areas that are indicated.

Look closely, they have added a word to the FOI question, (tut tut) and despite them stating the Security team are responsible, NO "fines" or enforcement has been handed out.

Therefore to all you Tesco, Asda, pizza (majority uninsured) and taxi drivers don't worry about parking in a BUS LANE as defined within the road traffic act. Just remember that any accidents that happen on campus property must be reported to security (who will no doubt then enforce the RTA).

Sussex University,
1. you are missing a great revenue stream.
2. Your security team are not fulfilling their role by NOT enforcing your own rules (fining bus lane drivers/preventing uninsured vehicles to enter your property)
http://www.sussex.ac.uk/sef/services/transport/ordinances-and-regulations/traffic (2.3 - if a pizza driver doesn't have insurance for delivering pizza then the entire insurance is invalid!)

Saturday, 25 July 2015 23:01

Lewes Road - ranty response

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I was pointed to this blog and i thought that I would make general comments on it. The original text is in italics bold.

Last weekend was the Annual General Meeting & Gathering of the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain. We went to look at the Lewes Road Transport Scheme which includes several bus stop bypasses

#North bound.

They should have tried doing the

ride between 8 and 10 on a weekday, prime student travel period to experience the thrill of riding en mass

horrible gyratory at Hollingdean Road (known as the "Vogue" gyratory). We paused to hear about some plans for the gyratory which includes a floating bus stop and various cycle lanes. A plan can be viewed here.

# The plans indicate that there is a major collision zone, where the cyclist will leave the safety of the cycle lane and then cross the entrance/exit of sainsbury. For  the bus driver in the new lane, after leaving the bus stop they will be confronted with a car user trying to beat the bus by cutting in front of it to enter sainsbury and then if they are lucky, just missing the cyclist previously hidden by the bus at the stop. Knowing most cyclists on this stretch they will be going at a certain speed to clear the area.

The advisory lane is on the whole quite wide

# yes, except at some crucial points like the bottom of Natal road near Mithras house and at the viaduct bridge (Moulsecoomb Way) where the lanes are either physically or visually narrow. Many a scary moment has been caused by car drivers not seeing through buses and realising the reason the bus is encroaching on the car lane is due to giving the bike clearance.  

At some points, we were riding two-abreast and being a person on the outside felt a little unsafe when buses went past.
# riding two abreast or overtaking without looking (safe shoulders) is scary for bus drivers also as they are pinched between cyclists and motorists.

Some signalised T-junctions had a protected cycle track running through them on the de opposite the side road which meant that unless pedestrians were crossing, cyclists could bypass the signals.

# what this actually means is there are red cycle lights complete with signs telling a cyclist only to go when the green cycle symbol shows (lol) and solid white stop lines (lol) in the cycle lane.

It might have been possible to have pedestrians crossing the cycle track without signals and then using the push button to cross the traffic lanes.

# what about cycles joining from a right hand side road in the main cycle lan?

In some locations, left turn lanes have been created

# it also causes conflict with cars trying to cut across the bus lane and not seeing the cyclist. (beat the bus)

[ Floating bus stops ] Pedestrians continue on the existing footway, but cross the cycle track using a pair of dropped kerbs.

# They 'can' cross using these dropped kerbs but its not compulsory

The crossing points were always on the approach side to the bus stops so pedestrians and cyclists could see each other without being obstructed by the bus shelters

# most bus drivers are trained to stop at the furthest point (yellow line) of aa bus stop unless there isnt a box in which case they stop by the flag to allow for following buses room to access the stop. this causes a lot of pedestrian fatigue where people get off a bus and walk straight across the road and cycle slip onto the pavement. a cyclist at 20 mph is leathal.

the cycle track bypasses just flow back into the lanes and the physicality of the bus stop islands protect riders from oncoming buses.

# oncoming buses? sorry i didn't realise the cycle lanes were contra flow.

What helps greatly is that the layout is consistent and everyone should be able to understand how it all works.

#except for the odd cyclist who will not use the bypass scaring all and sundry on the following bus whose breaking point suddenly changes on approach to the stop.

All of the bus stops are fully compatible with low floor buses which means that the road-side kerb of the bus stop island has been raised to meet the entrance to the bus. Where buses can "kneel" (lower their suspension)

 # technically buses should not need to kneel at raised stops.

the consistent layout of the bus stops mean that you always walk in the same direction (towards oncoming cyclists when one gets off the bus!)

# no, there is the "lazy pedestrian"

One of the floating bus stops is entered after swerving around a loading bay

# this stop actually has bollards on the approach due to vehicles parking and blocking the entrance. supposedly Installed post build after suggestions from bus drivers who were scared by cyclists swerving around the #yplac'ers

There is a bit of "early green" on the route whereby cyclists get a green signal a few seconds before drivers which reduces the possibility of a "left hook" conflict.

There were some Trixi mirrors in evidence which are yet another mirror for the lorry driver to keep an eye on

# apart from there also being a major conflict zone on the junction i believe to be the bottom of coombe road, the blogger may not be aware of the following situations.

At the end of the bus stop is the end of the bus lane where cars may enter to make the left turn. Often a car trying to make the left turn will either beat the bus to get in this lane or finding themselves on the offisde of a bus thats pulling forward from the stop to go through the junction will make a handbrake turn around the front of the bus oblivious to any cyclists on the inside. Regrettably somebus drivers will follow the "12 tons 1 ton" rule aka "you are crossing into my lane, wait for me"

feeling of safety is compromised a bit by buses going past and the left hooks at the signalised junctions are pretty horrible.

# for bus drivers too!

This article was shown to @rantyhighwayman prior to publicartion in the spirit of fair play and discussion
http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/sites/brighton-hove.gov.uk/files/The Vogue Gyratory Improvement Plan v1.pdf

Saturday, 25 July 2015 23:00

North Street Messed again!

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&copy david dixon

The owners of the Hanningtons block are looking to fund a big conversion of the lower end of North Street. One of the busiests routes into town. that less than two years ago had a major makeover.

here is their blurb

"As part of this project we are proposing

Saturday, 25 July 2015 22:59

Chichester Library - fail

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As you can see the library is a lovely modern building with spacious areas and loads of light. BUT

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