Monthly Archives: February 2011

Garish in colour, high in functionality

Yesterday, I cooked-up a fancy spreadsheet in Google Docs (which, by the way, is pretty good; haters gonna hate) to track the progress of … it tracks the progress of the progress of me writing my Main Document, a term for my seriously-OTT notes portfolio.

I should probably explain this. Rather than actually doing coursework, it’s been observed by some that I seem to spend more time organising the doing of coursework. This spreadsheet (link might be dead) is an example of just that.

Cells containing the number 100 (coloured baby-vomit green, at the time of writing) relate to “100% written” sections of my Main Document, and cells containing the number 0 are empty sections; the other numbers are (similarly) percentages of written-up-ing-ness. “Check” is a simply flag to say “Kevin: evaluate this section’s completeness”; “N/A” is self-explanatory. The Main Document sections which need my most urgent attention are low figures between Christmas (possibly rows 16–17) and this week (half-term; possibly row 25, full of N/As).

The objective of the spreadsheet—that’s if I stick with the whole spreadsheet idea—is that all cells that are meant to be coloured baby-vomit green will be coloured baby-vomit green. To give you an idea of the scale of the task: you see all the complete lack (bar one cell, N15) in the pretentious photograph up there… all those incomplete sections and 0-marked sections total 27,302 words.


Harston Surgery’s laughable lack of cycle parking

Before I begin, I’ve put this under the ‘Cambridge’ category even though Harston is a few kilometers outside even the city limit, and I’ve put it under the ‘Cycleways’ category—which I might change to ‘Cycle infrastructure’ or something similar in the future.

Harston Surgery, which is a small, half-a-dozen-doctors doctors’ surgery in Harston, Cambridgeshire. It has zero cycle parking spaces … no stands, not even wheelbenders; nothing. Here’s a picture of where I have to park my bike (most certainly not my Challenge Hurricane as the insurers wouldn’t pay out if it was nicked or damaged; nothing to lock it to you see) on the odd occasion when I have to visit the surgery. I say “odd occasion”; I haven’t been ill-ill for years (perhaps because I cycle a lot) and when it’s something physiological I have to go in for, I usually get a lift.

By the way, they’re just propped-up against the wall of the building and locked to themselves.

I’m not sure why there’s no cycle parking. If dear ol’ David Hembrow finds this post, I wonder if he could tell me how many stands are available at his local surgery in the Netherlands. Maybe it’s a matter of cost; I don’t think it’s a matter of where to put them as I know (and a high-resolution aerial photograph will prove me right) there are plenty of gravel-filled-in-with square plots of a few metres by a few metres at the rear of the building overlooking the approximately twenty-space car park. Car parking is such a problem that the Queens Head PH ’round the corner has offered patients the use of their car park free of charge.

While Harston Surgery has no spaces, but I believe Arbury Road Surgery (on the corner of Arbury and Campkin Roads) in the city has a full twelve spaces—six Sheffield stands, fitting two bikes to a stand.


Gresham Road and the coming 20 mph limit

According to this article from the Cambridge News, “a £200,000 scheme to improve safety on Mill Road” has been given the go-ahead by the City Council. This includes a 20 mph speed limit stretching the length of Mill Road west of the railway bridge and on “many of the neighbouring streets too”—a list of roads to be reduced in speed can be found here, accessed 2011-02-13. The list states that a 20 mph limit will be coming to Gresham Road and I have a feeling that Cambridgeshire Highways (or whoever will be procuring and installing the signage) will make a mistake at the Parker’s Piece end of Gresham Road, where the road turns into a short 15–20 m-long cycleway before crossing Gonville Place. I have a feeling the Council will sign the 20/30 mph transition even though no motor vehicles are permitted through there. [1] The only people who use that ‘entrance’ to Gresham Road are pedal cycles and pedestrians: both groups will be unaffected by the speed limit. [2] While there aren’t any “no flying motorcycles” signs at the end of Gresham Road in question (unlike, let’s say, the cut-through between Highworth Avenue and Leys Road; cf. this pretty-old image), I doubt motor vehicles (narrow enough to fit through the bollards, the clearance being about 1.25 m perhaps) are permitted to travel through said cut-through between Gresham Road and Gonville Place. (That’s why I’ve put in an FOI request.) If motorcycles, et al. are permitted, there would be justification to procure and install such signs—unlike this hilarious signage on Sidney Street. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not not supporting the introduction of the 20 mph limit; it’s just that councils have been known to put signs up with no justification for doing so, wasting time and taxpayers’ money in the process. I’m not a huge fan of that.

Update: Cambridgeshire County Council sent me a 306-page document regarding [1], cf. [3]. On page 212, the document states that “Gresham Road [… at] its junction with Gonville Place” and v.v. is a “[point] in [a road] beyond which no motor vehicles are permitted in any direction”. Since the document also says “Gonville Place [at] its junction with Gresham Road”, does this mean that the toucan crossing over Gonville Place at the ‘junction’ with Gresham Road is one such point, beyond which no motor vehicle can proceed in any direction … including up and down A603/Gonville Place?

[1]: I’ve put in an FOI request to Cambridgeshire Highways to ask “are motor vehicles permitted to drive through said cut-through?”; the request can be found at [3] and I’ll post an update when I get a reply.
[2]: Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 section 84 makes reference to “motor vehicles” on three occasions and “vehicles” on zero occasions; pedal cycles are, quite clearly, not motor vehicles (but they are still vehicles). All legally enforceable speed limit orders therefore refer only to motor vehicles and pedal cycles do not have to adhere to speed limits.
[3] The original FOI request sent to Cambridgeshire County Council, along with the 2011-02-28 reply, can be found using this link.

Box junction antics

On the morning of 2nd February, I made the mistake of ‘shortcutting’ up Castle Street, Cambridge—which ends at the junction of Mount Pleasant, Victoria Road, Histon Road and Huntingdon Road; locally known as ‘Murkett’s Corner’. At said junction, possibly owing to the morning’s closure of the A14, the signal phases couldn’t take the volume of traffic and thus the box junction on the junction was being misused. I wasn’t going to be a part of this misuse and I waited like anyone else should. As I got to the junction, a coach (reg no. AK02 LPX) had already crossed over both the stop line and the ASL stop line [1] and I was prevented from going anywhere for perhaps four or five green lights. When the coach finally moved off, I assumed my position at the head of the ASL and waited again. The lights turn green, my exit was blocked and the lights went red again—this happened three more times. On the seventh green light, I still couldn’t go anywhere without committing a box junction offence; the male in the vehicle (LL04 GYA) behind me was clearly extremely angry that I was obeying the law that he undertook me and queued across the box junction in front of me.

In the frame above, LL04 GYA with a rather grubby registration plate: the driver who overtook me because I was obeying the law (TSRGD, regulation 29 and TSRGD, part II of schedule 19Road Traffic Act 1988 section 36). He subsequently blocked the box junction. Note also my right foot and KV04 KEN.

I finally was able to squeeze down the offside of a few vehicles …but only on the eighth green light.