Monday, 30 March 2015

POP Aberdeen *****Update****** - 25th April 2015


Hi All,

A couple of extra points before Saturday kicks off:

  1. If you're planning on getting to Hazelhead Park (the meeting is near the running track) volunteers Matt, Dave, Henri, Gavin and Ruth will be there to help co-ordinate the ride.
    • There will be two sets of lines per wave (depending on the numbers that show up).  One will be for those comfortable going round round-a-bouts the other will be for those more comfortable using the pedestrian crossings. 
    • The route will be available for a looksee, and answer any questions you may have. 
  2. If you can't make it to Hazelhead Park, Jyll - another volunteer - will be waiting at Albyn Place at 12.15 near the fountain for those who want to join from there.  
  3. Feel free to cycle from anywhere in the city at all - riders from Hazelhead should start to arrive at Marischal College from 12.30 onwards so if you'd rather come from elsewhere it's not a bother, you can still be where the action is if you'd rather come from another part of town.
  4. Don't have a bike? Not able to take part in the ride?  Feel free to be at Marischal College from 12.30 to cheer the arriving cyclists.  It'll be a great place to find out a bit more about the organisations that campaign for fresher air and safer roads.
As to why you should be interested in non-motorised modes of transport, see under this update!



Things you've got to know:

There have been 86 deaths (that's eighty-six caskets with bodies in them) directly attributed to the poor air quality in Aberdeen City alone. Air Pollution - even low levels - reduces the birth weight of babies by as much as 18% .   This is caused by you, me, and our neighbours getting into our cars, and on our buses and going about our motorised days, creating what the World Health Organisation calls a Carcinogenic fug*.   

In Cities with a high cycling population , every journey taken by bike instead of motorised vehicles, saves a yearly average of £1,610,000 (One Million, Six Hundred and ten thousand pounds) of road damage. If we relate this figure - which comes from a city with 700K inhabitants - to Aberdeen's population of 200K and if the same percentage of people cycled, we find a year on year saving of £466K (four hundred and sixty six thousand pounds, per year - plus all that time not looking at road works, and going to unnecessary funerals and all those babies being born hale and healthy).

The Communities, Housing and Infrastructures Department, in charge of the Cycling, Walking, Safer Streets budget -  is taking part of the £570K budget, which is the budget designated from Transport Scotland to Aberdeen City Council specifically for cycling,  on 'No Parking' signage in industrial areas.   Transport Scotland have been informed of this and they don't care.  There is a separate £20 million budget in Aberdeen 'to improve our roads', but obviously not the industrial bit where 'No Parking' Signs are needed. 

Why are Aberdeen City Council waiting two years to plant cycle rack when they have been provided (through the ACF) a comprehensive list of places that not only pin point opportune places but also request more where the current provision is not enough? 

To be fair these last two instances are pretty small cuts - I don't know exactly how much of the Safer Streets budget is being spent on No Parking, though I would wager a couple of thousand pounds at least, nor do I know exactly why cycle racks are waiting to be put out - planning permission? They just keep asking the same question over and over again.    But there are other small cuts like refusing to salt major cycle roads, unticketed parking in mandatory cycle lanes, 'advisory cycle lanes', the odd arsey driver, and a thousand other little stings that nip the little bud that is cycling in Aberdeen.  Don't get me wrong, Aberdeen is a pretty great place to live in.  I know, I live here.  Indeed I didn't begin to cycle properly until I began living here. But it can be better and cycling does that, and not just for the cyclist. 

So what can we do?  Well, the Aberdeen Cycle Forum are taking a leaf out of the original Pedal on Parliament and have organised a route to be cycled on the 25th of April 2015. 

Starting at Hazelhead Park at 12pm, next to the running track, it's intended (depending on the amount of participants) that this peaceful protest will finish 12.30pm at Marishal College where Aberdeen City Councillors will be available to answer questions (like, 'So, how much of the Safer Streets budget have you allocated to industrial areas? And what is the deal with the not salting the cycleways? What's wrong with the list of places ACF have given you for the cycle racks you supposedly have sitting waiting?  What is the point of 'Advisory Cycle Lanes?  Why aren't you making it much easier to cycle when the option of not doing so kills people and damages unborn children? And... How did you get here?)

This event will be run by volunteers so if it is busy a little patience at Hazelhead will be required, though you could join at any point on the route. Also whilst this is a formal protest, it is not a serviced event (neither food nor drink will be provided) and feel free to get off your bike and use pedestrian crossings if doing round-a-bouts aren't your thing.  You can of course, equally as useful,  cycle your way to Marishal College by any route and any side of the city to partake in end event. 

I shall update this when I find out more information, but if you have anything to add please don't hesitate to leave a comment as I'll reply to all that are left.


**I paraphrase, the WHO would never stoop so low as to use the word 'fug.'

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Once you've seen something... can't unsee it.  Can you?

He looks as surprised as I am. 


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