Wolverhampton Cycle Forum Thursday 17 October 2013, 6pm
Members’ Suite, Committee Room 2, 3rd Floor Wolverhampton Civic Centre
Bob Amer, Mike Jenkins, Jess Railton, Chris Hopkins, Dave Clare, Julia Brant, Steve Young, Win Sutton, Councillor Martin Waite
1. Apologies: David Wilson, Renee VanBar, Henry Harbord, John Harris, Phil Turner, George Reiss
2. Minutes of the last meeting (18 July 2013)
3. Matters Arising (not covered elsewhere)
a. JB requested minutes of Cycle Forum meetings be issued more promptly. TP accepted this should happen and agreed to try to issue them within 2 weeks of meetings in future. SY asked that they continue to be posted on the Council’s website for reference
b. Smestow Valley pathway. It was noted that the material forming the surface of the path was now packing down, which was an improvement; however the path was not draining as had been intended. TP agreed to raise the matter again with the relevant officer.
c. Cycle storage. It was requested the bike rack at the Members’ Car Park entrance to the Civic Centre be fixed in place, ensuring that it was a reasonable distance from the wall of the Civic Centre. It was requested that cycle storage also be introduced in St Peter’s Square. Additional comments noted the value of cctv coverage of cycle storage locations.
d. JR noted that BikeRight are now running adult cyclist training from the Retreat Street Fire Station, and still operating at East Park
4. Metro Extension - Mike Ogden, Centro
Mike Ogden and Vikash Patel from Centro were welcomed to the meeting. MO gave a presentation on the planned Metro line extension to connect the existing service to the Rail Station/Transport Interchange. This was followed by a discussion of the plans.
MO’s presentation and notes on cycling-related issues raised in the discussion are attached separately. A second consultation is to be held on these plans beginning in November. MO agreed to forward dates of consultation events and advised that the views of Forum members would be welcomed.
5. Council Report
a. City Centre Public Realm Improvements
TP advised that the first phase of the Public Realm Improvements was about to begin, following the posting of Traffic Regulation Order notices. A plan of this was shown at the meeting; a copy of which is attached. The first phase will see the works in Cleveland Street and Queen Street completed.
There was much discussion of the plan. Dissatisfaction was expressed that key junctions do not appear to cater for cyclist movements. It was noted that certain junctions are not clearly identified as part of any particular phase but fall between markings on the plan. It was questioned whether the designs met the latest DfT design standards for cycle facilities. Forum members identified that what cyclists wanted particularly when commuting was fast and reliable routing which enabled them to make maximum benefit of their mode of transport. It was questioned whether any modelling of cyclist journey times had taken place. The offer was made for the scheme designers to take a cycling tour of the City Centre in the company of Forum Members.
TP advised that some of the questions being asked were the domain of specialist officers and he could not answer them. TP also advised that some of the phases of work had yet to be drawn up in fine detail and there may be latitude for minor variations. To this end it would be beneficial to engage with Forum Members over the fine detail yet to be finalised.
TP agreed to seek an arrangement for specialist officers to engage with Forum members to explain the intentions for cyclists at the points of contention, to clarify the constraints which applied to them and for discussions to take place about any scope for improvement in the fine detail which would be preferable to cyclists.
At this point in the meeting time was almost exhausted. Forum members were given a brief opportunity to raise matters of pressing importance, which were as follows:
Wolverhampton Council Website. SY queried why all information relating to cyclist training and other cycling related matters had been removed from the Council website. TP advised that the entire website was under reconstruction and all content had been reviewed. It was understood that many of the pages did not attract visitors and so there as a need to consider what information needed to be provided and by what route it should be best accessed. TP also advised that the website was not a significant contributor to the cyclist training programme as most of the contacts were generated by officers and instructors. SY commented that in the event of a funding bid, potential funders would look for evidence of a strong cycling culture in the Council’s website. TP acknowledged it was important that under the new website arrangements cycling was given the profile it deserved.
Scrutiny Review of Cycling. Councillor Waite advised that the Enterprise and Business Scrutiny panel had requested a review of the Council’s cycling strategy at its January meeting. He suggested Forum members may wish to forward to the Transportation Service their suggestion regarding key issues to be tackled and improved. This was agreed by the Forum.
At this point TP agreed to provide a short summary on each of the points remaining on the agenda.
b. Local Sustainable Transport Fund (WCC)
The Transportation service continues to develop off-road/quite road cycle routes in the City Centre-Bilston corridor. Additional bids have been made to enhance the canal towpath from the City Centre to Horsley Fields and to install a toucan crossing on Wolverhampton Road East at the Parkfield Hub Site.
c. Miscellaneous Infrastructure Items
Construction of a cycling facility has been approved on Wobaston Road as part of the i54 development. The facility will be a shared use cycle and foot path following the north side of Wobaston Road, which will connect to crossing facilities.
d. Public Health Transformational Fund
Bids have been invited from Council Departments to this fund. They require working in partnership with an outside body on projects to improve health according to adopted priorities. Consideration is being given to projects which may support cycling.
e. Council Cycling Strategy/Network Development
Transportation Service Officers have begun to review the existing Cycling Strategy with a view to updating or replacing it.
f. Council Sustainability Strategy and Implementation Plan
This has now been published and is available to view.
g. Cycle City Ambition Grant Bid/Black Country Strategy
Transportation Service Officers are continuing to engage with colleagues in the other Black Country Authorities over a shared strategy for development of cycling. As a consequence of this work low carbon/sustainable transport proposals including the use of the canal network have been included in the Black Country EU LEP Investment Strategy Submission
h. West Midlands Cycle Charter
Centro have developed a cycle charter for the West Midlands in consultation with the Local Authority officers. They are now consulting on this with a view ultimately to getting it adopted by the whole region
i. Cyclist Training
Over Summer Holidays 73 children trained to Bikeability 2, 9 to Bikeability 3, and 108 took part in leisure rides.
Since September over 300 children trained to level 2, training to level 1 in six primary schools
j. Youth Zone
TP has engaged with the Youth Zone development progress over a) scope for users to cycle to the site and b) scope for the site to delier road safety/sustainable travel initiatives.
k. Scrutiny Review - as mentioned above
6. Sustrans Report
7. Wolves On Wheels Report
8. Canals & Rivers Trust Report
Issue raised about blind approaches on towpaths passing under canal bridges. John Harris advises warning signs are considered to be ineffective in these situations. He is seeking advice from colleagues in Lancashire, cited as using speed reduction measures. Each location treated on own merits, please can it be specified exactly where the locations of concern are.
John is having discussions with Staffs CC regarding walking and cycling improvements between the i54 site and the Coven area.
9. Any Other Business
a) Future meetings
Proposed dates for 2014:
Venue: Civic Centre Members’ Suite until further notice
b) Wolverhampton Council Website
As mentioned above
c) Neighbourhood Plans
Tettenhall and Heath Park Neighbourhood Plans are now at advanced stages of development. Both contain aspirations regarding cycling improvements. There is no specific funding attached to the development of these plans which will deliver these aspirations but they have been noted for consideration.
d) Budget cuts
All services are under review and no definite indication can be given regarding any likely effect of budget cuts on Cycling and related services at this stage.