in which we stand and deliver for the Highways men

Just clipping this comment for the scrapbook. Not really news, but some good detail to look up later. The point of Cycling England was to have expert oversight of the spending, rather than just giving the money to local authorities to launder into their general budgets. It's why scrapping the very efficient and just-starting-to-achieve-something Cycling England in favour of the LSTF was a false economy. And so we have the government funding new roads, marketed as sustainable transport schemes, of course, because buses can be driven on new roads. Unless there's a traffic jam.

Paul M says:??????
June 27, 2012 at 12:40 pm??????

Sounds about right. When we looked at how the City of London deployed money from the LCN budget provided by TfL, we found that you could broadly divide it into thirds. One third was spent on consultants??? reports commissioned from independent, private sector consulting firms. A second third was spent on the road surface itself, in paint, tarmac, concrete etc and the labourers who lay it. The third third vanised into the City???s own coffers, as a subvention towards the City???s own staff costs ??? for the highways engineers department, planning etc.

This has always struck me as daylight robbery and I don???t know how TfL let the City get away with it ??? remember that the Ciy is the wealthiest local authority in the land, possibly the world. Its LIP (transport plan) budget is around ??115m, which is several times the size of Lambeth???s.and most of it comes from its own sources including the parking account, the Bridges Fund, and rates.

We also found that rather a lot of what actually got spent on tarmac and concrete could hardly be described as of real cycling benefit. Quite a lot was siphoned off in dribs and drabs to fund ???street scene??? projects ??? prettification of the built environment largely using granite setts. Somehow, the scheme to build raised tables of granite setts at road junctions along Fleet Street and elsewhere would grab ??20k here and ??30k there on the spurious basis that these stone patios somehow improved things for cyclists, though I have seen no rational explanation of how.

The cheekiest though in my mind was the work on Southwark Bridge. An entire year???s LCN grant of circa ??200k was hoovered up to pay for the concrete barriers along the roadsides on the bridge, behind which a cycle lane now nestles on either side, but the way these apparent cycle facilities simply vanish the instant you reach dry land either side gives the game away. The real reason for them was to prevent coaches parking on the bridge, which was considered not strong enough to support the extra weight.

Also, although no LCN money was involved here, the massive narrowing of the carriageways on Cheapside, and removal of the old cycle lanes, was justified as ???providing a benefit to cyclists, who account for [25%] of all traffic in peak periods??? according to the report by City Officers to the Planning & Transportation and Streets & Walkways Committees. Quite what this benefit was to be was never expanded upon in the reports.

So, I would be less than totally gobsmacked if I were to discover that, for example, the budget for a superhighway had paid for conversion of a light controlled pedestrian crossing to an uncontrolled crossing, or to countdown timers etc, on some fanciful argument that this somehow benefited cyclists. Indeed, I should imagine that these are about the most innocuous explanations we might find.

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