On when Boardman’s team met… Rochdale Council

Great things are happening in Greater Manchester and it really shows how far behind the West Of England Combined Authority is.

One criticism I would have is the use of the term “Cycle Super Highway” which is causing issues around public perception. “Cycle Track” is an internationally recognised type of cycle infrastructure https://nacto.org/publication/urban-bikeway-design-guide/cycle-tracks/ and I see no reason not to adopt a UK National CT designation similar to the Motorway or even A road designation. Anyone coming to a city or town would know that CT218 is a route with high quality segregated cycle infrastructure their kids could ride on.

It also solves the political compromises that a CSH (Cycle Super Highway) designation has that it does not define a minimum level of infrastructure and allows Local Authorities to get away with delivering sub-par infrastructure that no parent would let their kids cycle on.

I know Sustrans are reviewing the National Cycle Network at the moment and it might be good to consider reclassifying the NCN4 designation into NCN4 and CT4 identifying high quality segregated sections of the route.

Cycle Tracks cannot be politically compromised due to the very clear definition, not only by NACTO, but also by Public Highways England http://www.standardsforhighways.co.uk/ha/standards/ians/pdfs/ian195.pdf

It is key that we recognise that within the way we communicate these schemes with the public. A Cycle Track scheme is great for kids enabling them to cycle to school. A Cycle Super Highway evokes MAMILs racing along at high speed with far greater public opposition. CSH needs to die. It’s a REALLY bad term with no minimum design requirement unlike CT.

Banging on about bikes

Opening remarks

This is the second in an occasional series chronicling the meetings being held by Chris Boardman’s team and the ten boroughs of Greater Manchester as a preliminary stage in the process of planning a comprehensive walking and cycling network across the region. The first post, mainly about the Bury meeting but with a note on the Tameside session, has had considerably more traction than I expected: imagining it might only have been of interest to a handful of infrastructure geeks, in fact it spread far and wide, predominantly through the medium of Twitter, and to date has had over 3,000 views. It has illustrated the phenomenal appetite of many people across Greater Manchester and beyond to be involved in cycling and walking network planning from this stage onwards, and I am told the piece has even attracted the attention of Transport Minister Jesse Norman, whose portfolio covers…

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Cycle Bath AGM (Tonight)

I do realise this is short notice but realised the only place where I had not put this was on here.

Tonight 7pm to 8pm Cycle Bath AGM at the New Inn, Monmouth Place.

Two big issues:

  1. We need a secretary. Meetings have been ad-hoc and our planned paid membership scheme will need managing.
  2. We need to work out who will begin badgering the council about the lack of mowing of verges along all paths. This person will begin emailing the council around June and will hopefully get something done by mid-August, all while the council keeps telling this person that they are part of normal maintenance and are planned to be cut in September, once everybody goes back to school.

Stop being an idler…

There are many things people are doing to fight air pollution within the city. Getting on your bike is one of them. Today there is an opportunity to become part of an army of people directly tackling vehicle idling within the city. This is one of a series of events being held. If you want to get involved you can find out more here https://www.idlingactionbath.org/events2

First Bath Clean Air Champions Idling Training and Action Afternoon 26th March 2:15-4:15pm

Our first Idling Action event will taking place at the YMCA on 26th March from 2.15pm.

There will be a training session lasting about 45 minutes. Pairs of volunteers will then be sent on to the streets in Abbey and Walcot encouraging drivers who are idling their engine to switch off. After about an hour we will meet up for refreshments and a debrief.

We are currently recruiting a team of enthusiastic volunteers who want to be part of this innovative education and behaviour change campaign to reduce localised air pollution and improve air quality in their residential and workplace community.

 

21 March 2018 / West of England Combined Authority Overview and Scrutiny Committee

My talk to the WECA Overview and Scrutiny Committee to be presented at the Guildhall, tomorrow, the 21st of March at 10:30am.

Just for reference this is how the Joint Spatial Transport Plan intended to allocate funding:

screen-shot-2016-12-18-at-11-22-01

Think about it. 61% of all car commuters in Bath and Bristol live within a 20 minute easy electric bike ride of work yet only 5% of the planned budget is to be spent on walking AND cycling.

Enjoy 😉

============

I am speaking on behalf of Cycle Bath and Bristol Cycling Campaign both of which actively campaign for better cycling infrastructure. As a software engineer and data scientist I have been able to leverage my skills to analyse the Census 2011 WU03EW “Location of usual residence and place of work by method of travel to work” data set. I can tell you that of the 153,623(125,908+27,715) Bristol and Bath car commuters, 18.9% [28,989 (24,396+4,593)] live within a 20 minute walk of work, 42.1% [64,678(56,277+8,401)] live within a 20 minute cycle of work, and 61.7% [94,800(83072+11728)] live within a 20 minute electric bike ride of work.

I have already had a meeting last year with Mayor Tim Bowles to emphasise these statistics, highlighting the work Transport For London are doing around Strategic Cycling Analysis (http://content.tfl.gov.uk/strategic-cycling-analysis.pdf) as well as presenting the www.pct.bike and www.cyipt.bike tools, both of which have been funded by the DfT.

Transport For London recently stated that cycle lanes move 5 times as many people per square metre as car lanes. A single bi-directional protected cycle lane is the equivalent of installing a 5 lane motorway through a city. The investment in gold standard cycle infrastructure in the City of London has resulted in the majority of traffic on the roads now being people cycling.

On top of this we have estimates that congestion is costing Bath and Bristol businesses £55 million per year and costing individuals residents upwards of £1,500 per year in time and costs. We’re talking congestion costs reaching almost £300 million per year across Bath and Bristol, and god knows what costs the NHS are incurring due to air pollution and obesity.

Yet WECA transport policy seems to be simply about junction 18A of the M4, buses, and trains. There is no recognition that walking and cycling play any role in tackling congestion. Unlike other regional mayors, there is no dedicated cycling commissioner. Funding for cycling has been bundled with walking, and combined, is only 5% of the budget, or a paltry £400m. The Greater Manchester Mayor has committed to invest £1.5 BILLION in cycling alone. If WECA did the same per head of population it would be £500M on cycling alone.

Cycling as a form of transport offers significant benefits to tackling congestion and improving public health. The Mayor can tackle congestion cheaply by simply identifying all Key Road Network routes where significant numbers are travelling to work by car that could travel to work by bicycle in under 20 minutes and prioritise the building of good separate protected space for walking, cycling, and driving along these routes over the provision of on-street parking.

When will WECA get serious about tackling congestion and improving the health of the population? Where is WECA’s cycling vision? Where is our Cycling Commissioner? Where is our Chris Boardman? Where is the commitment from WECA to deliver healthy streets? Why does the mayor seem obsessed with cars, buses and trains, when 60% of workers live within an easy electric bike ride of work? And while we’re at it, where’s the identification of key cycle routes to schools with upwards of 30% of rush hour traffic being the school run? Why is WECA’s transport policies not answerable to Public Health? Why is there nobody from the NHS invited to be involved in defining transport policy?

We are almost one year into Mayor Tim Bowles term in office and cycling simply does not seem to register on his radar as a solution for tackling congestion and improving the health of the population. I can only compare his progress to that of other Mayors and currently it feels glacial and very timid when looking at what other Mayors are achieving.

Your chance to voice your opinion.

If you have an interest in transport, this might be very good to attend.

BATH NEWSEUM

Buses, the environmental impact of new build developments and clean and affordable energy.

These are some of the main topics coming up for discussions when The West of England Combined Authority’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee meets at the Bath Guildhall  on Wednesday, March 21, at 10.30am.

guildhall The Bath Guildhall

Members will hear about, and contribute to, plans for a for clean and affordable energy system. WECA received £50,000 from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in March 2017 to develop this work across the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership area (Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol and North Somerset and South Gloucestershire).

Over 70 people from local organisations attended a workshop in Keynsham in February, organised by Centre for Sustainable Energy on behalf of the LEP, to start discussing priority areas, including low and zero carbon electricity; decarbonisation of heat; electric vehicles and ensuring new build…

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On when Boardman’s team met Bury Council

I suspect that Local Cycling Walking Infrastructure Plans that some councils are producing are not going to this level of community engagement. I *really* like the way that Brian Deegan threw out any preconceived ideas of defining the new network based on the existing leisure routes. Something Bath & North East Somerset can definitely learn from. BaNES are currently working with Bristol to develop LCWIPs. There has been no community engagement as yet. This is a bit worrying. Good to see Greater Manchester tackling this correctly when councils are prepared to engage.

Banging on about bikes

Background

In early February I received an intriguing e-mail from the officer responsible for cycling at Bury Council. Headed “GM Walking and cycling network planning – Bury inception meeting”, the message read:

“Might you be available for a meeting at 10 on the 27th? It’s not a Forum or open meeting but we want one or two local cyclists who know the Borough fairly well to be involved.”

Reading further down the thread of what was in fact a forwarded e-mail, it turned out that my name had been suggested by a fellow cycling/sustainable travel advocate and Bury resident, and that the meeting was with representatives of Chris Boardman, the newly appointed Walking and Cycling Commissioner for Greater Manchester. A meeting between Bury Council and Boardman’s people? With Bury Council reaching out to cyclists at the planning and inception stage? What a tantalising prospect!

28168626_10213678687234093_8802906461876553305_n Heading off to the…

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Cycle Ambition Failure 3

There’s a theory that sequels get worse and the third series of Cycle Ambition Fund feels like the end of the line. CAF1 was good(ish), giving councils a heads-up and allowing them to put together proposals. CAF2 (£114M) was sprung on councils so quickly, and only thanks to our local Cllr Nigel Roberts working with Cycle Bath, were we prepared enough to put in a £3.8M bid. However lots of councils didn’t and £21M of the allocated money was returned to the DfT.

CAF3, just announced, has an even shorter bid window, and with only a paltry pot of £6.5M to be shared across 8 cities, it will simply be hoovered up in council officer time and might result in a bit of paint.

There are only two things that should be done with this money, and two things only.

We need shovel ready proposals

Delivery of a detailed costed designs to create a city wide cycle network in consultation with the public and use of TfL’s Strategic Cycling Analysis (pdf) methodology.

Use of  https://www.cyipt.bike/ & http://pct.bike/ should definitely be part of the process. CyIPT should also be funded and supported fully by the DfT. It will save councils so much money and time during the proposal development process.

Mini-Holland Schemes

Given the success of the Walthamstow Mini-Holland Scheme, which boils down to 14 road closures using modal filters, cities should only be allowed to bid IF they are going to use Experimental Traffic Regulation Orders (or even regular TROs), planters, and painted concrete blocks to close roads to through traffic and create a quiet street network connecting communities to schools, shops, and places of employment.

Eden-Sq-planter

For £200k you could buy one ETRO and 50 planters, and a bunch of dead end signs and create 10-20 through traffic free roads. You could have a serious impact on rat running in these 8 cities for very little money.

Share equally and dictate

I would split the money evenly between cities and require them to deliver a fully costed LCWIP defined cycle network and a “mini-holland” scheme using ETROs and planters to close rat runs to cars and create a quiet street network.

We need money and TIME

Council’s need money and time to be able to develop schemes to the point where they are shovel ready. CAF3 could have been an admission that there isn’t the money, but to enable those cities to deliver a vision of what cycling could be if they had the money.

THREE weeks is ridiculous

This is a real failure of Jesse Norman MP (our cycling minister) not to recognise how he is failing to deliver on his brief. He could have been a lot cleverer here and made a real difference down the line.

A Waste of Space

As Easy As Riding A Bike

In London yesterday evening, I approached Parliament Square along the cycleway at Great George Street.

Good job TfL.

In front of me was perhaps the classic stereotypical scene shared by taxi drivers, and other people hostile to new cycling infrastructure in London (and other British towns and cities). A large expanse of empty tarmac loomed in front of me, contrasting starkly with the clogged road on the right. You might say the cycleway is ‘causing’ congestion and pollution, if you were so inclined.

In the distance – on the ’empty’ tarmac – two cyclists (maybe three? who cares, really) are waiting at a red signal. On the right, frustrated drivers are needlessly spewing out fumes, and doubtless fuming themselves, at the waste of space on their left. Valuable space that – if it were used properly for important motor traffic, not for some silly hobby – would have sped them to…

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Working, Living, Cycling, and campaigning for better cycle infrastructure in Bath, UK