One member’s review of the Dynamo AGM:
What did we learn about the prospects for cycling in the district by the time Alasdair Simpson, guest speaker from Lancashire County Council’s Sustainable Transport Division, had finished his power point review at Dynamo’s AGM, last Wednesday, at the Gregson?
County’s cycling officer generated a rather complacent attitude to future developments. He suggested that cycling would flourish in the district simply because of the momentum gained from our CDT status years , when cycling levels did increase, and that future interventions are of little consequence. A sort of ‘benign neglect theory’ you might say, but one for which he offered no evidence.
Members who asked Alasdair to declare his commitment to such projects as cycle lanes on the A6 were to be sadly disappointed. On specific answers to questions about the A6, such as the removal of parking bays installed by the county 10 years ago, to accommodate cycle lanes, his response was that it would upset residents and be politically controversial. There is no legal obligation for County to provide them and at odds with County’s ‘alternatives to the car’ and ‘decarbonising the economy’ strategic aims in its LTP.
Perhaps the most disturbing news to emerge out of the question and answer slot though, was the way the County Council
operates against the aims of the cycling lobby.
From the floor, one County councillor told us that in her 3plus years at County she had not received a single
briefing on cycling matters, from Alasdair Simpson or any other county officer. Alasdair, our cycling officer, did not see this as part of his remit.
On the question of elected councillors ignorance levels on sustainable matters, she also revealed that at a recent briefing on wind power by officers only five out of 80 politicos turned up.
As Dynamo has suspected for a long time County’s Highways division is run by officers who serve their own, largely car accommodation, agenda and promote road
schemes, and that basically, is it. Its 10 years of stubborn, irrational resistance to 20mph speed limits is a case in point. Then along comes Tim Ashton and hey presto…. .
So. The power of this self-serving bureaucracy of officers is enabled by a largely ignorant, and happy-to-be-so group of councillors.
Consequently, Dynamo and other authority cycling lobby groups are somewhat stymied by this malfunctioning idiocracy.
However, to end positively, following up our recent ‘A6 road danger’ approach, based on Dr Hugh Tuffen’s despatches from the A6 war zone, Dynamo intends to table a question about the chasmic disconnect between policy and practice over the A6, at the December Highways meeting.