Home
Peter Murray is charged with changing the cycling landscape of London - and he's starting with 'Mini Hollands'...

One of London’s top urban planners has made a video explaining the benefits of integrating cycling into the urban fabric of the world’s biggest cities.

“For the last half century, we’ve bowed down to the god of the motor car and have destroyed cities across the UK,” says Peter Murray, Chairman of New London Architecture and the London Society.

Murray and his team at New London Architecture have come up with the concept of  “Mini Hollands”, inspired by Dutch cycling infrastructure, which are London’s latest project for bicycle infrastructure.

Murray explains how he and other urban planners rode from Portland, Oregon to New York City, looking at how different urban communities evolved their own plans for cycling.

 

 

“The car should no longer be king on the road, and other users should have priority,” he says.

Late last year we reported how Murray was part of a group of cycling architects who signed up to be involved in the design of all the cycling infrastructure to be built as part of the planned £913 million spend over the next ten years.

Murray, a cyclist himself, said then that the group was “pushing at an open door” when they handed over the report ‘What London can learn from America’s  cycling cities’ to Boris Johnson.

The report is the result of a 4,347 mile ride from Portland Oregon to Portland Place, London that passed through 12 major US cities to experience their cycling facilities. Members of the group spoke with local officials and politicians, advocacy groups and many people who stopped to talk and ride with them.

The report recommends that the UK should adopt ‘Complete Streets’ planning rather than attempting to squeeze bike lanes into existing streetscapes. That means making provision for active transportation a priority in all planning. The report also suggests that low speeds should be enforced on all city roads, and bikes should be able to be carried on more public transport.

Peter Murray said: “This is based on the simple premise that all road users should give way to those more vulnerable than themselves.

“In the USA, we found that motorists were much more considerate to us as cyclists than we ever found in the UK. We realised from this that if we are to have safer cycling and walking we need to change the culture of the way we use our roads. In other European countries it is expected that the stronger road users yield to the more vulnerable.

"We should pursue that policy in the UK.”

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

15 comments

Avatar
bikebot [2118 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Funny reading that after just watching this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXT83ne4fHM

Forty years on.... sigh.

Avatar
CXR94Di2 [1906 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

It is going to take 40 years to turn it around to what it should of been  2

Avatar
IanW1968 [349 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

They've come to different conclusions though..in 1974 the solution was to seperate cyclists and pedestrians which we now know only works when it works and not for the other 99% of roads.
Whilst in 2014 the proposal seems to be to reduce the dominance of motorised traffic on the existing infrastructure which seems to me to be a much more sensible appraoch albeit one requiring political will absent in the present government.

Avatar
jacknorell [995 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Chapeau, Mr Murray!

Avatar
darrenleroy [253 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Just reduce speeds to 20mph, introduce strict liability laws for motor vehicles, increase the congestion charge, introduce cycling awareness adverts at peak times and that should be a start.

Avatar
noether [96 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Well done Mr. Murray, the 4347 miles ride. But did you read the 2008 (!) urban planning report Making Cycling Irresistible (Pucher & Buehler)? And did you spend a week or two in mostly rainy Groningen, covering all your errants by public transport and bicycle (the latter maybe 10 miles/ day), as do most Groningers? These are the experiences that are relevant to us, 95% of the commuters. Please, do not reinvent a smoothly running wheel. What the UK needs is (i) a change of law to presumed liability (almost zero investment) (ii) its proper and lenghty explaining to the motorist population (minor investment) (iii) reshaping of the urban landscape and the public transport interface (modest investment). Preferably all 3 at the same time. Good luck Mr Murray (no pun intended).

Avatar
noether [96 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Well done Mr. Murray, the 4347 miles ride. But did you read the 2008 (!) urban planning report Making Cycling Irresistible (Pucher & Buehler)? And did you spend a week or two in mostly rainy Groningen, covering all your errants by public transport and bicycle (the latter maybe 10 miles/ day), as do most Groningers? These are the experiences that are relevant to us, 95% of the commuters. Please, do not reinvent a smoothly running wheel. What the UK needs is (i) a change of law to presumed liability (almost zero investment) (ii) its proper and lenghty explaining to the motorist population (minor investment) (iii) reshaping of the urban landscape and the public transport interface (modest investment). Preferably all 3 at the same time. Good luck Mr Murray (no pun intended).

Avatar
Paul_C [526 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
darrenleroy wrote:

Just reduce speeds to 20mph, introduce strict liability laws for motor vehicles, increase the congestion charge, introduce cycling awareness adverts at peak times and that should be a start.

Put bollards in on estates to remove rat-runs... making them access only.

Avatar
IanW1968 [349 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

£2 million spent on public information films telling motorised road users that people on bikes have equal rights to use the road, road tax doesnt exist, riding two abreast or taking the lane is recomended etc etc, would do more good than £200 million spent on roundabouts and painted lines or pointless traffic lights that will all get ignored because the perception will always be that owning a car gives you extended rights.

It wont happen because building stuff however pointless makes a little money for someone and it not actually acheiving anything means it doesnt upset the road transport industry and their lobby firms who bank roll political parties.

Avatar
Paul_C [526 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
IanW1968 wrote:

£2 million spent on public information films telling motorised road users that people on bikes have equal rights to use the road, road tax doesnt exist, riding two abreast or taking the lane is recomended etc etc, would do more good than £200 million spent on roundabouts and painted lines or pointless traffic lights that will all get ignored because the perception will always be that owning a car gives you extended rights.

It wont happen because building stuff however pointless makes a little money for someone and it not actually acheiving anything means it doesnt upset the road transport industry and their lobby firms who bank roll political parties.

sadly said public information films will not be seen by the vast majority of motons because they'll be screened when the soaps are on, but on the other channel...

Avatar
levermonkey [681 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Possibly the blackest year for the bicycle in this country was 1963. It was in this year that the Beeching Report (which destroyed all hope of realistic nationwide intermodality) and the Buchannon Report which led to the infamous 'Traffic in Towns' (which came to be regarded as the traffic planners bible) were published. Between them these two reports made the car God.

We are looking at the prospect of having to painstakingly unpick 50 years of car-centric planning and legislation just to get back to where we were.
Scary isn't it!

[Side note: If you can get hold of a copy of Traffic in Towns and manage to read it through your tears of rage and frustration you will find not a single reference to the bicycle or cycling. And this was the 1960's when there were approximately only 5 million cars registered for duty.]

Avatar
horizontal dropout [299 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

"£2 million spent on public information films..."

Here it is!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJHXzt7TC2k
Blaine Walsh of Driving-instructor.tv and Michael Frearson of The Association of Bikeability Schemes share their thoughts why cyclists sometimes ride in the middle of the road, on how "right of way" doesn't exist, and how driving instructors have a vital role to play in teaching the next generation of drivers that everybody has a right to use roads, not just motorists.

Avatar
horizontal dropout [299 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
Quote:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXT83ne4fHM

Stevenage is interesting in that the cycle paths have very low levels of use. Claxton the chief architect says that the roads have been laid out so that the motor vehicle never has to stop for a pedestrian or a cyclist. In other words although there is great provision for cyclists it is too easy to drive, a factor actually in most of Hertfordshire.

ps love the old cars and the proper accents.

Avatar
horizontal dropout [299 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

"What the UK needs is a change of law to presumed liability (almost zero investment) (ii) its proper and lenghty explaining to the motorist population (minor investment) (iii) reshaping of the urban landscape and the public transport interface (modest investment).

Isn't that what he is saying?
i ) "all road users should give way to those more vulnerable than themselves"

iii) "The report recommends that the UK should adopt ‘Complete Streets’ planning rather than attempting to squeeze bike lanes into existing streetscapes. That means making provision for active transportation a priority in all planning. The report also suggests that low speeds should be enforced on all city roads, and bikes should be able to be carried on more public transport."

Avatar
noether [96 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

It is a matter of emphasis. The problem is that half measures will not do. Foremost, and at almost no cost, the law must be changed and motorists informed. This is the top priority, and would show the commitment of society to cycling as a means of transportation, and the "irreversible" nature of its implementation (compare this to the undercurrent demanding that cycling helmets be made compulsory). Secondly, and at almost no cost, public transport interface must be made bike friendly (the simplest: bike parking lots at railway/metro stations and at work). In parallel, start putting in place true bikefriendly (therefore car unfriendly) infrastructure. But start with the law, and invest in explaining it at length.