Wolverhampton City Cycle Forum
Infrastructure sub-group meeting
on 7 February at Aldersley Leisure centre.
Present from WCC – Road safety – John Partridge and Peter Rollings
Urban Traffic Control – Bob Willis
Wolves on Wheels – the Davids – Holman, Nicholson and Wilson
Public – Mike Blackstone
Special guest – David Dansky of Cycle Training UK.
Cycling in London.
David Dansky spoke about the key changes in London cycling and how these had come about. Peter confirmed that his recent ride in London was much more pleasant than he had expected. The congestion charge and fears from terrorist attacks have helped boost cycling with a >50% increase since the Mayor started his terms of office. The Mayor of London is in charge of Transport for London (TfL) . TfL worked with the experts – the 5000 members of the London Cycle Campaign to map all the routes riders actually use. The real cyclists mapped their routes along the many quieter streets that run parallel to the busy ones and how they thread there way through traffic-calmed areas. This survey was used to create the free London Cycle Maps and to influence where TfL did engineering. Routes are more important than infrastructure as far as TfL is concerned. So all traffic light junctions on a route will have received Advanced Stop Lines (ASL’s) but some cycle lanes may have been removed because they made the route worse for riders.
TfL is also promoting cycling with widespread huge poster and billboard campaigns.
Cycle Training UK, London School of Cycling and the local authorities are part of the picture because hundreds of people are taking cycle training each year. More Bikeability training means more able riders leading to TfL engineers designing for vehicular cycling. Lots of lessons here for Wolverhampton and ideas for the Black Country Core Strategy.
For more information on cycling in London see - http://www.tfl.gov.uk/cycles/projects/lcn.shtml
London Cycling Campaign – Campaigns http://www.lcc.org.uk/index.asp?PageID=15
London Cycle Design Standards http://www.tfl.gov.uk/cycles/company/standards.shtml Junctions including ASLs are in chapter 5
John Partridge introduced Bob Willis head of Urban Traffic Control (UTC) at WCC. Bob is responsible for the hundreds of traffic lights and pedestrian / cyclist crossings in Wolverhampton (plus some in Dudley) and their automatic control.
Victoria Street lights. These lights beside Beatties are well known among local riders for not changing for cyclists. Bob said they are ‘actuated on demand’ 24-7. Peter Rollings is to take part in a witnessed test with a member of UTC staff. Bob is willing to repair or fine tune the signals. Action PR and UTC staff
Mike Blackstone said that the Sun Street / Wednesfield Road right turn signals appeared to change for riders – a good thing considering all the postal deliveries by bike. Bob said that these had been fine tuned.
Wednesfield Road bus gate was discussed.
DH presented a Wolves on Wheels report on the bus gate and suggestions for changing it such that the traffic signals change for cyclists. The report is at :-
The cyclists’ push button on a right turn bus lane in Kettering found favour with theÂ meeting. Bob said that this could be incorporated in 4 to 8 weeks after the meeting.
Reference was made to the forest of guard railing for pedestrians in relation the recommendations in the draft Manual for Streets section 10.27.
Goodrich lights at A449 / Springfield junction. DH said these were not changing for cyclists leaving Goodrich who then had to wait for a car to arrive at the Springfield Lane lights opposite to trigger the junction. Bob said he would investigate.
Bob asked that cyclists report any traffic light problems to him. Detectors of any sort age, drift out of calibration and sometimes fail. So any observations are welcomed.
Debate on Advanced Stop Lines (ASL’s)
See Cycle Friendly Infrastructure, Lancashire the Cyclists’ County page 120 and TAL 8/93 http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roads/tpm/tal/cyclefacilities/advancedstoplines for definitions.
John Partridge asked when are ASL’s a good idea. The cyclists replied - almost always a good idea. They are a small number of them dotted round Wolverhampton but insufficient in number for motorists to take notice, bearing in mind how infrequently the general population reads newer editions of the Highway Code. Bob Willis said that there can be capacity and clearance times issues arising from adding an ASL to each arm of a junction. The debate moved onto the design of Filter Lanes. These allow a rider access to the ASL and a passage over the first stop line and into the reservoir of the ASL. Some older ASL’s don’t have a filter lane, others have a nearside lane on the left of queuing traffic and the better designs at multi-lane junctions use a filter lane between lanes. The latter gets the rider into a better position for a safer turning manoeuvre. Filter Lanes are a DfT requirement. David Dansky said Transport for London are doing without filter lanes and being creative instead e.g. using a dotted line where cyclists are expected the motor vehicle stop line into the ASL reservoir. DH noted that the idea of an ASL comes from the Netherlands where the cyclists have their own signals and get a green a few seconds ahead of the cars.
JP asked WoWcc and WCC highways to conceive a cycle route along a secondary road (with spare capacity at junctions) where all the traffic light junctions would get ASL’s. Deadline end of February. Action Wolves on Wheels and Highway engineers
Scrutiny Panel into Cycling – Programme of Works.
The plugged street programme is in work with the term consultants. 4 out of 5 road plugs in the programme have a through-cycling design.
Cycle route in Finchfield. The desire for a route connecting schools with Bantock Park does not lead to any obvious route alignments. A survey ride is needed in the presence of the consultant. Action PR to organise ride
5 schools received cycle parking in 2006. There will be more in 2007 where the school has a School Travel Plan.
Peter Rollings is organising the installation of cycle parking in front of the main entrance to the civic centre. This is a long and protracted process with many committees having a say. Prestige location. Important message to everyone about cycling in W’ton.
More traffic calmed streets to be converted to 20 mph in 2007 including Nine Elms Lane which is linked to Fowler’s Park (through road for cycling). The remainder of traffic calmed streets are to change to 20mph in 2008.
Home Zones. Poets Corner in Fordhouses is a successful Home Zone. In truth JP said the £1.5 million pound budget stretched to do a third of the project that WCC had hoped to do. The residents wanted new front walls to their properties and this used up a lot of the money. No matter because the results are excellent – from sink estate to waiting list for tenancies. The next possible Home Zones are all no-through road streets off the A459 Dudley Road in Blakenhall (e.g. Arthur Street, Elm Farm Road) because of the grants available in the ABCD area.
Wooden ramp at Wildside Activity Centre.
The ramp forms a part of National Cycle Network route 81 cross-city braid. In wet conditions the surface becomes really slippery. DH said that the wood preservative in the ramp surface and water combine to make it like a skating rink. JP handed round a report from his colleague Lawrence Key. Mr Key thought the problem was due to mud being brought onto the surface (?!) and an annual application of anti-slip decking treatment would solve the problem. In any event, as the council will not accept liability for the ramp they built when WAC was part of the council and had not asked to put the NCN route over it, the board of directors of WAC are going to fit padlocked gates to the ramp. The Davids pressed JP and PR to sign an alternative route. The Cross City Route is closed before it has opened! What a muddle!
Red Route on Stafford Road is being marked out and consultation on parking enforcement is about to kick off.
Date of the next cycle forum is 18 April 2007