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Letter: Build It and the Locals Will Come Out and Cycle

Published on: 26 Jul, 2023
Updated on: 26 Jul, 2023

From: Sam Neatrour

In response to: New Walking and Cycle Routes Might Not Be the Hoped-for Panacea

There is so much wrong with the sentiments expressed in this letter.

I know of two children nearly killed on Boxgrove roundabout in the past year. It’s a death trap and needs taming asap. There is plenty of room on the roads of Guildford for wider pavements, cycle tracks and a 20 mph carriageway. Businesses can still flourish as do the local communities.

Having lived through the implementation of one of Mayor Johnson’s active ‘Mini-Holland’ travel schemes, I witnessed some transformational changes in both the physical infrastructure as well as attitudinal changes in the particular London borough. I saw happy Volvo drivers swapping their car for bucket bikes for local errands and school runs.

Over the course of five years, we went from a loud but minority cohort of naysayers (much like we have here) to a huge swath of the local population who really benefited from the schemes. The area is now recognised as the coolest area in the country. Local businesses thrive, pubs and restaurants and shops opened and house prices surged.

It’s not an easy journey and while one small scheme such as this is a start, it needs to be a journey that the whole town goes on; bike lanes, LTNs [Low Traffic Neighbourhoods], renewed, wider pavements, Copenhagen crossings, safe (paid for?) bike parking, lower car speeds, local delivery bike schemes for shopping, housing planning, I could go on.

Only the perception of being safe will encourage most people to look at changing transport modes. Build it and the locals will come out and cycle and be pleased to “get on their bikes”. If enough do so then the local traffic will lessen and we’ll all be better off.

It takes time though.

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Responses to Letter: Build It and the Locals Will Come Out and Cycle

  1. Norah Morden Reply

    July 26, 2023 at 12:03 pm

    Why not put the cycle track through Burpham Nature Park?

    • Simon M Reply

      July 27, 2023 at 2:59 pm

      Because women and parents riding with kids and folks on trikes and cargo bikes etc. don’t tend to want to ride through parks to get from home to shops or train station etc. Particularly in winter and/or after dark.

      You have confused ‘leisure cycling’ which for a small number of people involves riding in a prk, with ‘cycling as a transport mode for everyday use’ which rarely involves riding through or in a park.

  2. Jeremy Holt Reply

    July 26, 2023 at 4:07 pm

    Could Sam Neatrour tell us in which London borough this scheme was implemented and whether the majority of residents shared his view?

    • Simon M Reply

      July 27, 2023 at 3:01 pm

      Most likely Waltham Forest. About 18 months after the first scheme went in, residents were surveyed randomly and about 2% wanted it all removed. Way over 50% liked the new schemes. Every scheme was subject to consultation and if I remember right every one that went in had more support than opposition. So I guess the question to ask is what makes you sure the majority of Guildford shares your view?

  3. S Callanan Reply

    July 26, 2023 at 6:42 pm

    Sam Neatrour says that one of the positive effects of a cycling society is that “house prices surged”. That’s a good thing?

  4. Jim Allen Reply

    July 26, 2023 at 6:51 pm

    I think we should consider all users when schemes are proposed!
    Not just target individual demographics.

    Wounderfull Shangri-la like Weyside, a village designed as low car and you will be penalised should you dare want one!or have a visitor with one. You will cycle and walk no matter your physical ability or weather. You won’t need (be allowed)to leave the area because you will work from your cell sorry bedroom come living room. Call for a taxi and points will be docked from you social credit score.
    Road safety will cease to be of concern because you simply won’t be permitted to travel.

    There is a right place and timing for any project. Like the year 2010 for a new sewage treatment plant! Now as predicted 10% over loaded!

    This cycle lane project in London Road could be excellent, after a tunnel to remove 50% of traffic on the A3 a four way at Potters lane for Gosden Hill to remove currect and predicted traffic from Burpham roads!

    Build the foundations first! Then the walls and finally paint the interior …

    Painting the interior when the foundations have already failed. Is providing the emperors new clothes to the town!

  5. Malcolm Stanier Reply

    July 27, 2023 at 12:51 am

    Sam Neatrour seems to think that around 400 people attending the George Abbot school meeting to object to the London Road, Burpham cycle lane scheme are a “minority cohort of naysayers”. Where are his “plenty of room on the roads of Guildford for wider pavements, cycle tracks”?

    • Roger Carnegie Reply

      July 27, 2023 at 10:44 am

      The attendees at the meeting did not all object to scheme.

      – Some supported the scheme
      – Some objected to the scheme
      – Many objected to the road closure

      Even the London Road Action Group chair, Terry Newman has stated many a time that he supports the introduction of cycle lanes in Guildford.

      I was there and have since spoken to many who attended and are in support the scheme, but were intimidated by the small number of angry people that tried to disrupt the meeting.

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