Poynton the way ahead?

The glamour of cycle camping and the practicality of a continuous-flow, low speed environment.

Two short promotional films made me feel more optimistic than usual this week.
An idealised TV advertisment showing the glamour of cycle camping.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2ZsrmHjdCU?feature=player_detailpage]

Note the laid-up Recreational Vehicle at 15 seconds. It’s the only motor in the movie. The RV is not aspirational, it’s not in use, it’s ‘for sale’.

The second, longer and more gritty, deals with highway design, social-psychology and getting rid of traffic lights, an attempt to introduce the ‘Tehran system’ into a commuter town in Cheshire…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vzDDMzq7d0?feature=player_detailpage]

…moving away from a culture of compliance towards one of consideration.

If nothing else the Poynton film has introduced me to some new terminology. From now on I shall be calling the ‘Tehran system’ a “continuous-flow, low speed environment”.

Of course the ‘Samsung’ film is an irrelevant fantasy – models pretending to have fun on bikes while wearing rucksacks – and it’s much too early to judge the new streetscape at Poynton. No useful evaluation of any highway scheme can be made until the novelty has worn off. The fountain in the middle of the crossroads isn’t even working yet.

Both films are entirely partisan. The first in favour of a brand of battery operated electronic device the second against the ideology of road-safety.

Everybody knows no normal person would go cycle-touring, let alone cycle-camping. Everyone knows that guardrails, traffic signals, obedience make people safe and let traffic flow. But ‘normal’ is defined partly in relation to the outer limits of possibility, and these are always moving.

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