Monday 30 August 2010

A bit of maintenance

I recently noticed that a bumpy spot on a cycle path and a rough path on a road nearby had both been marked for repair. Both marks appeared on the same day, and were in the same style, so presumably they were to be addressed at the same time.

On the left is the road and on the right is the cycle path. Minor damage which might not have been noted in other countries, or may have been left to grow into a pothole, is marked for repair.

A few days later, this is the situation.

And finally here it is after the work has been completed. In both cases, the surface is back to being completely smooth.

Now here's the point of this blog. Cycle paths and roads are treated equivalently. Both are maintained to a high standard, by the same people, with the same equipment. Both repairs come out of the maintenance budget. Cycle path repairs don't come out of the "cycling budget", which is around 30 euros per person per year and spent on new infrastructure, not fixing the old.

This is all a world away from the situation I was used to in the UK, where in fact it's quite likely that this level of damage to the surface would not have been considered to be enough to warrant repair in the first place.

The photo of the machinery and workmen was taken in the same place at the same time as the middle photos were taken.


Frits B said...

There are two Dutch sayings for this:
"het gaat in één moeite door" and
"nou we toch bezig zijn".
Put in English: "well, while we're at it ..."

After all, road is road and wheels are wheels. And having the work crew come back twice costs a lot more.

Severin said...

I try to keep spirits up, and try to stay motivated to make things change in LA, but sometimes this blog makes me just want to move to the Netherlands and truly enjoy cycling. This is my favorite blog, I think. I love reading the older posts too as I am new to your blog. Thanks for saying people elsewhere shouldn't have defeatist attitudes, I try to keep that in mind.

Anonymous said...

This is all I want for bicycle facilities; to be seen as important as car facilities.

On my commute, I ride past a wonderful, smooth six lane freeway which has been finished for the past eight months; the adjacent bikeway is not yet open and is riddled with access covers for the road lighting; the surface bumpy and uneven.

I switched from the car to the bicycle as a choice - and I would never go back, I love it - but the inequity saddens me and the 'business as usual' attitude by those that govern angers me.

Great post, David. Thanks.

Dr Paul Martin
Brisbane, Australia

David Hembrow said...

Actually, Paul, it's not _entirely_ equitable, as you'll see from this photo of the same place taken in winter :-)

townmouse said...

We stopped by some guys mending the road recently and pointed out that the footbridge over the ford had a broken plank (which they duly fixed in fairness). As they pointed out, the roads around here are inspected by car, so anything that can't be seen from the comfort of four wheels simply won't be noticed unless it's reported...

Mark W. said...

What might be interesting to mention in this respect is the following.
Road managers in the Netherlands (the municipality for urban/village streets, the province for provincial roads and the state for state highways) can be held liable for any damage caused by the condition of the streets and roads. Which means that if you sprain your ankle on a footpath due to a loose tile you can make the city responsible for your damage. The same goes for any accidents that were caused by a pot-hole, be it on the road or a cycle path.

Although it is hard to prove the road was really the cause of any accident, road managers are very keen on keeping everything in perfect order to prevent that liability.

James D. Schwartz said...

David, we all know it's great over there, but did you really have to rub it in for Dr. Paul Martin by sending him that follow-up photo? ;)

Great post, thanks for sharing. Keep it up!

James / Toronto

Whiner said...

This is precisely why I do not consider my local cycling facilities not to be such. They are rarely if ever maintained, yet year after year are pointed to (by cycling advocates) as accommodations.
They are not equitable and if they seriously considered them as transportation facilities, they would budget and perform repairs and maintenance. They are not acceptable as such and the roadways are preferable because they are cleared and maintained.

christhebull said...

In the UK those before pictures would be considered a "smooth" road by our standards. While the off road cycle routes here are pathetic in most other respects because they are essentially glorified pavements, they are at least free of gaping potholes.

roved said...

I can't speak for the whole of the uk but in my bit any pothole that I report is fixed in 48 hours.
Netherlands are undoubtably better.

christhebull said...

@roved - While gaping potholes are usually fixed quickly, many roads in Surrey have been patched over so many times that the surface is still very rough, and many seem to have random dips and ruts as well. I wasn't surprised to see that Surrey topped the CTC's "fill that hole" league table.

Daniel Sparing said...

Hm it wasn't clear to me from the original post, that the 30 eur p.p. does not include maintenance.

Although it is great that cycle infra maintenance is part of the general budget, it would still be great to know the amounts - especially for less fortunate cities where there is no money to fix the road potholes either.