Wolverhampton Cycle Forum
Thursday 10 January 2013, 6pm
Room G35, Aldersley High School, Barnhurst Lane, Wolverhampton
Julia Brant (JB) Wolves on Wheels (WOW)
San Worrall (SW) Cyclist
C’llor Martin Waite (MW) Wolverhampton Council, Penn Ward
Tim Philpot (TP) Wolverhampton City Council, Transportation
Jennifer Cromie (JC) Chair
David Holman (DH) Wolves on Wheels/ CTC
John Harris (JH) Canals & Rivers Trust (CRT)
David Wilson (DW) Wolves on Wheels
Steve Young (SY) Sustrans
Marcus Asbury (MA) WCC
Ian Hipkiss (IH) WCC, Transportation
Chris Hopkins (CH) Wolverhampton City Council, Cycle Instructor
Sam Henry (SH) Skyride
Sarah Shepherd (SS) WCC, Transportation
1. City Centre Proposals (WCC)
Ian Hipkiss (IH) was introduced to the group. IH works for WCC Transportation as Section Leader New Works and has been closely involved in developing the proposals for improvement of the City Centre public realm.
A key concern raised to date by cyclists is the restriction to one way travel proposed for all traffic in Queen Square/Lichfield St and Victoria St. IH showed a modified plan which included a contraflow lane for cyclists in Queen Square. The space exists to implement this option. Members of the Forum generally concurred that maintaining 2-way cycling round the inner circuit of roads was desirable.
DH asked why space for cycling not available in Victoria St. This frontage is very crowded and has to accommodate buses and taxis so contraflow cycling in Victoria St could not be accommodated within the proposed new arrangements. Improvements to the alternative route of School St/Darlington St were being considered. Removal of buses to bus station was suggested, however it is understood this is where shoppers want to board/alight. It was questioned whether bus companies were taking account of the preferences of users?
IH explained that the contraflow cycle lanes had been designed with position and direction of vehicle movement in mind. JB recommended cycle lanes should be adjacent to main vehicle carriageway to simplify road crossing task. The demarcation of cycle lanes in a manner that visually impaired pedestrians could detect was discussed. DW suggested pedestrians often disregard cycle lane markings and wondered whether shared space would be better. Apparently in Cheltenham this appears to work – is this a matter of local culture accepting cycling?
IH explained that bus, taxi, disabled, and a range of other interest groups were all involved in the consultation and their sometimes conflicting needs had to be balanced. Ultimately the decision would be made by the Councillors after considering the outcomes of the consultation.
Proposal for cyclist priority traffic signals at Lichfield St/Princess Sq. junction were welcomed.
Alternative cycling routes for Queen Sq and Victoria St in the event of the original proposal going ahead were considered to be unsuitable, and SY expressed displeasure about any disruption to Sustrans Rt 81.
DW advised that the proposals needed to link to Ring Rd access points, and expressed that alterations to the Penn Road Roundabout had been to the detriment of cyclists. JB advised that cycle commuters want reliable journey times, not to have to wait for traffic lights.
Given the underlying purpose of the proposals is to improve public realm and stimulate commerce, it should be remembered that many cyclists have money and are worth attracting to the City Centre. To this end, bike parking should ideally be covered by cctv.
People can find out more and have their say by viewing the plans and completing a questionnaire available at www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/publicrealm or from City Direct on 01902 551155. The closing date for comments is Friday January 25, 2013.
3. Matters Arising from Minutes of the last meeting (18 October 2012)
It was noted that the regular Wolves On Wheels Report, formerly a standing item on the Forum Agenda, had not been on the last two occasions. TP agreed to ensure it was included in future
DH to liaise with Gerwyn Owen on proposals for development of a Wolverhampton to Bilston cycle route.
Cycle Champion post was now discontinued, some of the work set up by BM was still continuing, e.g. adult cyclist training, Short Breaks. Most adapted bikes at Aldersley School have been removed for CTC usage elsewhere. Questions were asked about remaining adapted bikes at Aldersley Leisure Village and West Park Hospital. BM has found employment with Centro as a Walking and Cycling Officer, and may be a useful contact in future. The Forum expressed their thanks to Beccy and wished her well.
4. Bike North Birmingham (SY)
A 4.1million scheme in Sutton Coldfield and Erdington, encouraging more people to cycle, with the aim of reducing congestion. This involved developing the cycling network including Sustrans Route 518, Cole Valley Route. As well as infrastructure the project included promotion activities, cyclist training, and rewarding cycling. Roadshows,and led rides were held, and bike hire hubs established. DW asked where more information could be gained about it. This is available at http://bikenorth.birmingham.gov.uk/
A related report about cycling in Birmingham will also be circulated with the minutes.
5. Local Sustainable Transport Fund (WCC)
TP reminded the group that this was a grant of £33 million made to the West Mids for improving sustainable travel particularly with the aim of economic stimulation. The bid was based around travel corridors and so in Wolverhampton would be focused on the A41 Wolverhampton – Sandwell and the A4123. The grant will provide infrastructure improvements including the Bilston cycle route previously mentioned. It will also fund “soft” activities such as promotion and training; Centro is recruiting co-ordinators for this activity and it is expected they will work to complement existing provision.
Disapproval was expressed for works recently carried out on the Wellington Road which were not considered ideal for cyclists TP asked that, if this was to be a subject for discussion at the Forum, specific questions should be asked about the scheme.
6. Strategic Group - Priorities for Cycling in Wolverhampton
The Forum’s Strategic Group has not made any progress since the last Forum meeting. Wolves On Wheels are continuing with development of their own Cycling Strategy. This will be submitted to the Council following opportunity for WOW membership and the Forum to comment.
The Times Manifesto is still important, the Strategic Group should continue to discuss along with infrastructure vision.
7. Infrastructure (WCC)
Suggestions are invited for schemes to improve cycling for the Transportation Capital Programme, 2013-14
It was agreed that a priority for the next meeting should be feedback on City Centre decisions and discussion on Infrastructure development.
A request was made to refresh road markings at the Temple St Worcester St junction.
8. Sustrans Liaison
SY advised that Sustrans had made a reply to the on-going City Centre consultation.
He also advised that Sustrans was looking to develop a cycle route between Wolverhampton and Walsall.
9. Marketing/ Promotions (WCC)
TP advised that the Mercia Group of Local Authority road safety teams was preparing a regional publicity campaign aimed to address growth in cyclist casualties. This campaign was derived from latest casualty data suggesting that adult male commuter cyclists were over-represented in injury statistics, and needed to address both the cyclists and the drivers involved in collisions.
SY asked for details of the campaign brief to forward to a colleague.
10. Training Report (WCC - SS)
SS report to be circulated
11. Any Other Business
JH advised that the Canals & Rivers Trust had nearly completed its work to improve a stretch of towpath from Tettenhall Rd to Blaydon Rd
The presence and operation of a cycle counter on Tettenhall Road was questioned.
Requests were made to hold Forum meetings in a location nearer to the City Centre. TP advised it was important to find a venue that was a) free of charge, b) consistently available and c) able to accommodate up to 20 people. TP said he would check options including the Civic Centre members’ Suite. JB said she would explore options with the University.