The makings of a successful cycle street

Cycle streets/filtered streets/modal filtering are key to achieving more liveable environments. The counterargument is that you are making people drive further creating more pollution, but the reality, as shown by Walthomstow Mini-Holland scheme which boils down to 14 filtered streets is 10,000 less car journeys a day and a modal shift to walking and cycling.

It’s key to realise that in many cases it really is simply a couple of planters and a Dead End Sign or two. They can also be really quickly and cheaply implemented using Experimental Traffic Regulation Orders and trialed between 1-18months.

More expensive rising bollard systems can also be used where more flexible access is needed, for example commercial vehicle access is needed at certain times of day. The city of Nijmegen in effect created a car free zone in the city centre using ‘cycle streets’

You are simply stating, if you are here in your car, on this street, you are here because this is your destination not just a convenient rat run.

I’m really surprised many of councils are just picking up on this.

As Easy As Riding A Bike

The ‘cycle street’ concept is a familiar one to cycle campaigners – a street where, it is claimed, cycling has priority, and ‘cars are guests’, sometimes with added rules about ‘no overtaking’.

I think it’s easy for British campaigners to get excited about ‘cycle streets’ primarily because the concept corresponds largely to existing cycling behaviour on busy British roads. Wouldn’t it be great – they might think – to cycle along this road without drivers attempting to overtake, and with those drivers knowing that they are ‘guests’ on it.

But the most successful ‘cycle streets’ don’t have any of these kinds of rules. The key ingredient is simply ensuring that the street in question isn’t a through-route for motor traffic. Markings, rules and signs are largely superfluous – indeed unnecessary – when this key condition is met. In fact they often aren’t even ‘cycle streets’ in any formal sense.


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