The Hunting of the Snark


Cycling: Carbon Neutral?

Filed under: Snarky — Jeremy Irish @ 20:15
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Today at the park and ride, I saw a man struggling for quite some time to secure his bicycle to his car, with the engine idling all the while. I thought that rather undermined his efforts to be environmentally friendly.

– The Snark


The End of Bridge, Part 1

We received notice from the Council around Christmas that a bridge in our part of town was going to be demolished and replaced. It’s called the Cockton Hill Railway Bridge, which is to say it’s a bridge that the cars drive on, not the trains, if you see what I mean.

The Council told us they would try to cause as little inconvenience as possible to residents. Ho ho ho.

For vehicles, this first resulted in single-direction, stoplight-controlled traffic, then later a massive diversion. In the midst of this undertaking, They also decided it was a good idea to reduce the road at the other end of town to single-direction, stoplight-controlled traffic. The purpose of the second project is apparently to move a few parking spaces 100 yards and then otherwise lay out the road in exactly the same configuration as before.

But I don’t own a car, so I didn’t really care about that part so much.

Just come back with me to south Bishop Auckland for a moment, and see what the whole mess meant (and still means) for pedestrians, as illustrated by these perfectly-to-scale diagrams of my walking route to the bus station. Originally we had:

A walking route with 2 turns

Version 1

Then it was more:

A walking route with 14 turns

Version 2

And now it’s sort of:

A walking route with 7 turns

Version 3

Oh, right, the trains had to stop for a couple of weeks, too.

– The Snark



Filed under: Snarky — Jeremy Irish @ 07:32
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‘Buses’ ought to be a four-letter word.

My wife and I frequently find ourselves saying it, by itself, as an expression of disgust… with an expression of disgust. In fact, I think I will defy punctuation and give it honorary four-letter word status: ‘Bus’s!’

Bus’s are a necessary evil for us, having never bought a car since immigrating to the UK. They do on the surface seem to be a practical option, and we have managed to get by, but relying on them is not without many, many shortcomings that I’m sure I will continue to detail.

For now I’ll just start with my favourite incident. I had been travelling on the same route for several weeks and normally boarded at the Durham bus station after leaving work. On one particular evening, though, I had been to the county’s main library to pick up a hard-to-find boxed set of Star Trek: Voyager, and so I thought I’d try catching the bus from the nearest stop. Why not?

At that stop, there are two long bus shelters, and I wasn’t sure which one I needed to stand at. I asked another passenger, who vaguely thought it might be the second one; then I looked for posted schedules without success. I stood at the second shelter and when my bus came along about 20 minutes later, I very clearly put my arm out and waited for the driver to pull over.

He didn’t turn on his indicator. I waved widely and made direct eye contact. He showed no sign of slowing down. With difficulty I resisted the impulse to jump out in front of him, which probably wouldn’t have got me home any quicker as he had to be doing at least 45 mph.

And so he cruised on by.

I stepped out of the shelter to refer to the sign with a code to send a text message for bus status information, and while I was texting, I missed another one.

Another 20 minutes later, I managed to flag a bus down at the first shelter, and when I asked the driver, he told me they can’t stop at the second one because there isn’t enough time to move over two lanes to make a right turn. (Ha.)

Generally, after that, I went back to walking to the bus station no matter where I was when home time came. Bus’s!

– The Snark

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