They're back. Those ugly, obstructive and largely pointless concrete kerb barriers at each end of Prince Street Bridge that were mercifully taken out at the end of last week, leading me to speculate that we might be about to get something sensible, something that doesn't funnel cyclists into narrow gaps where they are in conflict with each other and pedestrians, something that doesn't force cyclists to cycle the wrong way along narrow cycle lanes.
How silly of me to think that the Cycling City team might have been making some sensible modifications. It turns out that the concrete barriers were only removed for Sunday's 10 km run and were to be reinstalled. The south side barrier went back in on Monday and the north side barrier yesterday, despite a plea made here for at least the north side barrier to be left out, since at the time this had not been done and could easily have been stopped. The north side barrier in particular serves no useful purpose since traffic coming from Prince Street would not normally drive on the right hand side of the road anyway.
We know that the matter was brought to the attention of senior officers in the Cycling City team since Jon Rogers, the Executive Member, reported back with their comments on my blog post on Monday afternoon. There was plenty of time for a simple phone call to ask the contractors not to reinstate the north side barriers. No costs involved, no work to organise, just a simple phone call. But no, it seems such common sense has no place in Cycling City. As one wag observed ....
No doubt the Council will manage to organise the removal of the above comment at some public expense, even though most of us agree with the sentiment expressed. That involves spending our money on something pointless so that's OK, whereas a simple phone call to achieve a significant benefit at no public cost whatsoever is, it seems, out of the question.
To me this minor matter says it all about what is wrong with Cycling City and government in general. We pay a fortune for Executive Members, Chief Executives, Strategic Directors, Project Managers and Senior Engineers, yet none of them seem to be able to make even the simplest decisions without reference to expensive consultants, time-consuming consultations and endless meetings.
We pay through the nose for a top heavy administration that results in sensible powers being sucked away from the individual officers actually dealing with issues at a practical level in order to amass power around the top of the hierarchy as they try desperately to justify their grossly inflated salaries and pensions. There are elections in three weeks, a chance to show what we think about the councillors whose votes underpin this useless, self-serving system.