Has opinion, will express
Join Date: Jun 2003
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 134 Post(s)
Jim's strategy is quite good. The decision-making process ends with the councillors, but more often than not they rely on the information passed on to them by the officers in the form of background information and recommendations.
Meetings are fine, but too often the detail is lost in preconceived ideas and different interpretations of what is being put forward. I have found the only and most effective means is to get the officers to meet you on site and do an inspection. Bring along a camera, and if you are any good at graphics, you can actually import the signs and other furniture you want installed to show what you mean. But the on-site inspections really do help with orientation... and often a sketch plan will be done on the spot for recasting back in the office and inclusion with the recommendations.
I haven't bothered to look at your scheme, simply for the reasons I have detailed in my previous paragraph. The traffic officers generally should be reasonably skilled at identifying problems with your proposal and will likely put up all sorts of philosophical obstacles either because (a) they aren't predisposed to cycling facility development or (b and rarely) they are playing devil's advocate to see if *you* know what you are talking about and have researched your proposal sufficiently.
Be also aware that advocates' gut feeling about traffic flows and car/bike volumes can be blown entirely out of the water by actual surveys, so you will need to conduct your own to substantiate your claims. It means sitting there for a few days and counting cars and bikes... mundane, but despite many advocates' ideas, traffic management does rely to a large extent on formulas and numbers.
In my experience, issues such as this are dealt with at committee level, and that is where you have to do the hardest lobbying work. Identify who the councillors are on the committee. If you have made it through the officer stage without stumbling, and worked with them to draft a suitable, soundly based recommendation, it should be a lot simpler.
There's also a maxim in local politics -- one letter can be ignored, 10 letters make a campaign. Get some supporters of your idea to write some non-emotive letters supporting the concept and putting their reasons why. You can do a certain degree of coaching, but the letters should be sufficiently different to reflect people's personalities. And they should have experience of riding through the area. Some stories of close calls are useful, but they should be expressed matter-of-factly, succinctly and without much emotion. My experience with traffic engineers is that emotion can't be converted into numbers and incorporated into formulas.
Last edited by Rowan; 06-22-05 at 06:40 PM.