Tuesday, 1 March 2011
Hove Bike Lanes - Again
It gets worse. Last Friday’s Argus had another story quoting Mary Mears. She is reported to have said "Good quality parking space is vital to the continued growth of the local economy, attracting visitors and shoppers to the city to spend their money." What on earth is “good quality parking space”? Whatever it may be, it was not mentioned anywhere in the documentation which proposed removing the bike lanes. And in an era when policy is supposed to be evidence-based, where are the facts to support any of these increasingly spurious claims, particularly those relating to attracting visitors and shoppers to the city to spend their money? In 2009 I carried out some quick research on the subject of cars and shops for an article I wrote for the Argus. Some of the facts I uncovered: one study found that retailers overestimated the importance of car-borne trade by almost 100% (Councillors weren’t mentioned!); another found that, in London (similar to Brighton, I reckon) shopping and personal business is the largest journey purpose category for walk trips, accounting for 74% of all walk trips; according to another study, the flow of people delivered by different modes of transport on a 3.5m wide road is 12,000 people per hour on a tram, 10,000 people per hour on foot, 6,000 by bike, 5,000 by bus . . . and 1,000 people per hour by car. So I’m looking forward to Cllr Mears taking up the cudgels in support of trams. In Friday’s Argus report, Mary Mears went on to say, "we want to facilitate sensible car use in the city, not try to prevent it for dogmatic ideological reasons." Which raises the question: which forms of “facilitation” does Cllr. Mears support? And which kind of car use is "sensible"? (Obviously, when I use a car, it's “sensible.” Not like when you use one). Exactly how do the Grand Avenue bike lanes not “facilitate” car use, sensible or otherwise? In the general understanding of the word, “evidence” includes everything that is used to determine or demonstrate the truth of an assertion. In which case, the proposal to spend £1 million on removing the Grand Avenue bike lanes is currently an evidence-free zone.