Decision / Recommendation
The Cabinet Team is asked to:
(I) endorse the draft review of the Cycling Strategy for public consultation
(II) approve the following action as part of the rolling programme of cycle initiatives across the city:
- A consultation exercise to determine the need for the provision of cycling and walking facilities in the Compton Park area
- Consultation with local residents and the advertisement of Cycle Orders for a cycle route along Walsall Road to Middle Cross and Bilston St Island as detailed in 3.8 d) of the report and Plan C attached. If there are no unresolved objections from the consultation Members are asked to approve implementation of the scheme on a date to be agreed between the Coordinating Directors for Regeneration and Transportation and Law and Resources.
- A rolling programme for cycle counts and monitoring.
- A rolling programme for the provision of secure cycle parking and associated cycle facilities in the City centre and town and local centres.
I. Purpose of Report
To seek Cabinet Team’s endorsement of the draft review of the cycling strategy for public consultation and to seek approval of the rolling programme of cycle initiatives for 2000/01 and 2001/02.
2. Report Background
2.1 Draft Review of the Wolverhampton Cycle Strategy.
The current Cycle Strategy was approved by Members in 1995 and has informed the rolling programme of cycle initiatives and cycle route development since that date. A review of the strategy is now required to reflect the increased emphasis on cycling as an environmentally sustainable and healthy mode of transport and the increased resources available through the Local Transport Plan for cycle initiatives. A draft review of the cycle strategy is attached as Appendix A to this report for Members’ comments and approval. This first draft has been written in collaboration with local and regional representatives of the CTC (Cycle Touring Club) and the Wolverhampton Cycle Users Group. With Members endorsement,this document will be used as the basis for a public consultation exercise and the comments received used to inform the form and content of the final strategy and to define the future cycle infrastructure programme.
2.2 Progress on Cycle Initiatives.
This report sets out the progress made on developing a cycle route network and other cycle initiatives and seeks Members’ approval of the programme for this year and the forthcoming year.
3. Report Detail
3.1 Draft Review of the Cycle Strategy.
The Government published its National Cycling Strategy in July 1996. This provides a useful framework and National targets that have informed this review of the Wolverhampton Cycle Strategy. The
West Midlands Local Transport Plan 2000 is another key document that informs the Cycle Strategy. The Strategy for Cycling in Wolverhampton seeks to address the infrastructure and engineering issues, promotional and educational aspects, and enforcement needed to create a safe, direct, attractive and convenient cycle network. It has as its first priority to promote cycle trips to school, work, shopping, hospitals and other health facilities, as well as links with the bus, rail and Metro.
The second priority is to extend and improve the cycle network to provide for leisure trips – access to the countryside, promotion of tourism and heritage, and access to public open space. The overall objective is to increase cycle use.
The final Strategy will need to identify key targets and outputs that reflect the National Strategy, the Local Transport Plan for the West Midlands and local priorities. These will be defined in the light of the public consultation exercise on the draft strategy. It is likely that they will relate to the number of cycling trips, the journey to school, and reductions in accidents involving cyclists and cyclist casualties. Targets will also need to relate to the provision of cycle facilities within workplaces and schools, cycle proficiency training, education and promotion. The Cycling Strategy and Programme to be followed will need to directly relate to these targets and directly contribute to their achievement. The programme to develop the cycle route network over the next five years will also be reviewed as part of the consultation on the strategy.
Public consultation undertaken as part of the Local Transport Plan process shows that the main reasons why people do not cycle are personal safety, theft of cycles, lack of awareness of the benefits of cycling, lack of facilities, and the need for a more comprehensive network of safer cycle routes.
The draft Strategy suggests a number of policies and statements of intent to define the approach the Council will take. Policies C1, C2 and C3 outline how the Council will provide a comprehensive, city-wide network of cycle routes. There are policies on the expansion of cycle parking and other cycle facilities at key sites within the city centre and other centres etc. Other policies highlight the need for access by cycle to be considered within new development, new highway schemes and alterations and highway maintenance. Education, promotion and the importance of a partnership approach to achieving the objectives of the Strategy is also included.
The draft strategy has been written with the help of members of the Council’s Cycle User Group and local members of the CTC (Cycle Touring Club).
Members’ comments on the draft strategy are welcomed and, subject to the consideration and incorporation of the comments, approval is sought for the publication of the draft strategy for public consultation. Consultation will be undertaken with LA21 groups, local cycle groups, and the general public and local business community. Copies of the consultation document will be advertised in the local press, on the Council Website, and made available in offices open to the public, libraries etc.
The outcome of the public consultation and the revised strategy will be reported for Members consideration in due course.
3.7 Progress on Cycle Initiatives.
At a meeting in July 1999 funding of £75,000 was approved for the financial year 1999/00 for cycle routes from the City Centre to Valley Park and a route linking Deans Road and Neachells Lane, as part of the ongoing programme. The June 2000 meeting of the Cabinet Team allocated £44,000 from the 2000/01 programme for a revised footpath link and the addition of street lighting on the City Centre to Valley Park route and along Deans Road to Neachells Lane.
City Centre to Valley Park Route: Members will be pleased to note that the footway/cycle link designed to minimise the potential conflict between cyclists and school children at Merridale Primary School has been completed and lighting has been installed. Following the completion of this work, cycle lane markings and direction signing will now be introduced on Great Brickiln Street and Aspen Way.
A refuge and realignment of the kerb at the junction of Merridale Road / Jeffcock Road is to be constructed by the end of March 2001 as part of the Local Safety Scheme Programme. Members approved this work on 20th November 2000. The refuge will help to provide a logical continuation of the Valley Park cycle route, linking the footpath from Aspen Way to Finchfield Road West and improve road safety at this point of the busy Merridale Road.
Members have already given approval for the route through to Valley Park and further work is being done in collaboration with Leisure Services, to design the link from Merridale Road to Valley Park. Members’ approval to a detailed scheme to complete the route will be sought in due course.
Deans Road and Neachells Lane Link: Work to install lighting on this link will be completed in January 2001.
3.8 Proposed Programme.
Members approved a review of options to improve the cycle network and further feasibility work on a number of other cycle schemes at the June 2000 meeting. These schemes are shown on Plan A attached and are detailed below.
Promotion of these schemes will make a valuable contribution to the cycle network. Further work on the network will be undertaken in accordance with the Cycle Strategy and subject to the confirmation of resources made available through the Local Transport Plan settlement.
a) A4123 Birmingham New Road/Thompson Avenue.
Investigations to improve facilities for cyclists along this route is being undertaken by term consultants as approved at the June 2000 meeting and as part of wider traffic management considerations. This work will complement the provision for cyclists already included within the Local Safety Scheme for Thompson Avenue, to the north of the Birmingham New Road, which was approved on 20 November 2000. The alignment for a cycle route on the Birmingham New Road, from the City Boundary to the junction of Parkfields Road is indicated on Plan B attached for information and detailed on a further plan to be displayed at the meeting. Work on the design of the scheme is ongoing and the detailed scheme will be reported to a future meeting of the Cabinet Team for approval for public consultation etc. It is proposed to undertake the work within the 2001/02 programme.
b) Goldthorn Hill Route.
Options to enhance and extend this route will be considered as part of the 2001/02 Local Safety Scheme programme. Members’ approval will then be sought on the preferred scheme for public consultation. The Goldthorn Hill route is an important route to the City Centre and will enhance the cycle route network. The work and funding through “New Deal for Communities” will provide further opportunities to improve cycling facilities in this area.
c) Links from Valley Park to Compton Park.
The Compton Park area contains a number of schools and Wolverhampton College and has great potential for increased cycle use including new links with the Valley Park Greenway. The catchment area for each of the educational establishments is likely to be very different and further work is proposed to determine the best approach for Safer Routes to School, cycle routes and cycle facilities needed. Members are therefore asked to approve a consultation exercise to determine the need and approach to providing facilities for people walking and cycling to the site.
d) Lower Walsall Street.
Completion of the Deans Road – Neachells link and also the work undertaken along the Willenhall Road will provide an important route from the east towards the City Centre. The Cabinet Team has already approved the installation of traffic signals at the junction of Willenhall Road/Lower Walsall Street. This will improve safety for cyclists particularly for those turning into and from Lower Walsall Street.
Cyclists could also be encouraged to use Lower Walsall Street through the provision of a cycle lane along an existing footway between Walsall Street to Middle Cross through to the underpasses at Bilston Street Island into the city centre. Cycle Orders are required to allow cyclists to use the footway and underpasses. Cabinet Team is therefore asked to endorse this scheme for consultation with local residents and the advertisement of Cycle Orders.
If there are no unresolved objections Members are asked to approve the implementation of the scheme on a date to be agreed between the Co-ordinating Directors for Regeneration and Transportation and Law and Resources. The details of the route is shown on Plan C attached and requires the following work:
• Marking and colouring of on-street cycle lanes and appropriate signs along Walsall Street.
• Improved facilities for cyclists at the Walsall St / Commercial Rd junction.
• Widen and improve the footpath at Walsall St / Middle Cross for use by cyclists and pedestrians.
• Provide a shared pedestrian/cycle route from Middle Cross to Pipers Row, using the Bilston Street Island underpass. This will be subject to consultation and the advertisement of Cycle Orders under section 66 and section 65(1) of the Highways Act 1980, as detailed above and listed in appendix B.
e) Cycle Monitoring.
Members are asked to approve a rolling programme of cycle counts. Currently only the annual city centre cordon survey specifically counts cyclists, and some information on cycle usage is obtained from general traffic counts. However cycle use within residential areas will help to identify future cycle routes and is important to monitor increases cycle trips as the City’s cycle network expands. The use of the Citizens Panel to assist with monitoring will also be investigated. Members are therefore asked to approve an allocation of £5,000 from the Cycle Programme for cycle surveys.
f) Cycle Parking:
Members are asked to approve £10,000 for a rolling programme for the installation of secure cycle parking facilities and associated facilities in the city centre and other town and local centres. Sites will be selected to serve key buildings, sites and uses, to complement the developing network and strategy and in response to requests from the public. Expenditure will be controlled within the approved budget.
4.0 Financial Implications
The works identified in this report will be part-funded from within the Safer Routes to School and Cycling Programme for 2000/01 of £115,000. The remaining expenditure to be funded out of the allocation for cycle provision in the 2001/02 programme and will be controlled within the approved budget.
• £35,000 for a cycle route at Walsall Street detailed in paragraph 3.8 d).
• £10,000 for secure cycle parking and related facilities in the city centre and the town and local centres.
• £5,000 for a cycle monitoring programme
5.0 Equal Opportunities
Cycling is a healthy and low cost mode of transport and improved provision for cyclists will make this form of transport a realistic option for more journeys and more people.
6.0 Environmental Implications
Encouraging cycling for more journeys, particularly for short urban trips, has a positive environmental benefit by providing an acceptable, emission-free and cost effective alternative to the motor car.
7.0 Background Information
7.1 Report to Regenerating Wolverhampton Cabinet Team - Cycling Initiatives 2000/01, 26 June 2000.
7.2 Cycling Strategy 1995
nb, see PDF download for full report.