Wolverhampton Cycle Forum
Tuesday 12 April 2016, 6pm

Committee Room 1, Members’ Suite, Third Floor Civic Centre, St Peter’s Square, Wolverhampton


 
Draft Minutes


Present: Councillor Martin Waite (chair), Chris Terrell (WOW), Dave Clare (FOE), Mike Jenkins (WOW), David Wilson (WOW), San Worrall, George Reiss (Tettenhall Neighbourhood Plan), Tim Philpot (CWC)

1. Apologies

Richard Preston, Andrew Hollies, Richard Welch

2. Minutes of the last meeting (14 January 2016)

These were considered an accurate record.

3. Matters Arising not covered elsewhere in agenda

Bee Lane Cycle Route. MJ has reviewed the route on behalf of WOW. He recognised some of the matters of concern raised previously although he acknowledged there may not be practicable solutions to them. He will provide a feedback note after consulting with other WOW members.

Bus Lane permissions document. TP advised he had circulated this document containing the latest permissions relating to bus lane traffic regulation orders. Some members were not aware of receiving this so TP agreed to recirculate.

Finchfield Road highway scheme. TP advised that he had looked into the performance of this scheme as requested. As neither “before” nor “after” casualty figures suggested a casualty problem it would appear the aim of the scheme was speed reduction. The “before” and “after” speed figures suggested that the scheme had succeeded. TP will circulate details of the speeds.

In connection with this it was noted that currently the Road Safety Manager can only commit resources to schemes that have a clear casualty reduction case.

City Centre contraflow cycle route. MJ noted that he had ridden this a couple of times and found it generally ok. However the frequency of cycle symbols on the green surfaced lane seemed inconsistent and he suggested some parts might benefit from additional symbols. CT noted that where the route crossed Bilston Street it was not particularly obvious what was expected of cyclists. He suggested better markings to direct cyclists to the Toucan crossing.

Compton Park route. MJ said he had visited this location and noted an unusual arrangement where the cycle route crossed the road adjacent to a zebra crossing. Concern was expressed about what this arrangement meant for cyclist/motor vehicle priority and whether users would know what was expected of them. It was suggested it might be a “Tiger” crossing (serving cyclists and pedestrians). All agreed there should be clear information about how to use this facility.

Cycling on Pavements Leaflet. TP noted that, having agreed to collate and forward any comments on this to the leaflet’s producers, he had received some comments from MJ.


4. Infrastructure

City Centre works

TP advised St George’s Parade cycle lane should be nearing completion. This complements the Princess St/Market St/Garrick St route. There would be a concerted attempt to secure the continuation of the route across the former Sainsbury site to create a direct connection across the Ring Road to the Royal Hospital site. MW advised that the Sainsbury site was in council ownership and developers would be sought who would bring intelligent and good quality development to this high-profile site, to complement growth in housing at the Royal Hospital site.

Plans previously circulated to the group showed development of shared use routes using the Ring Road pavements at St Johns/St Georges/St Patricks. TP advised we are close to gaining approval for these works with the aim of delivering them later in 2016. These include a toucan crossing at St Johns between the church and retail park. The widening scheme previously discussed for Ring Road St John is currently in abeyance but the crossing will be proofed against this by the inclusion of supplementary post positions.

In connection with this item the cycle route along Penn Road pavement from Lea Road to the Ring Road was discussed. It had previously been suggested that this stretch lacked markings identifying it as allowing cycling. However TP advisd this is a shared use facility and as such should only have signs, as opposed to a segregated use route, which would have both. It was agreed that the location might benefit from at least one additional sign.

The NCN81 signage improvements are being delivered over the next month.

Springfield Campus scheme. TP advised that the scheme, design for which had been circulated previously, aimed to create a high-quality cycling and pedestrian link between the Transport Interchange and the new University Campus on the site of the Springfield Brewery. Various options had been considered but the scheme being taken forward involved reducing Grimstone Street to 20mph/one-way traffic, providing segregated cycling and pedestrian paths, leading into a traffic free area at the end of Cambridge Street. It was hoped that funding and approvals would shortly be secured for this scheme.

Other Managing Short Trips schemes.

The Birmingham Mainline Canal towpath scheme is under way to provide a consistent surface from Aldersley Junction to Dixon Street.

Elsewhere in the Black Country further stretches of this towpath were also being treated. It is realistic that in the foreseeable future the whole route from Wolverhampton to Birmingham will be done. This was welcomed although concern was expressed over the effect of recent heavy rain on the exposed section where tarmac has not yet been applied. Concerns were expressed over the general state of the area around the towpath between Broad Street and Horsley Fields. CT asked if the makeshift vehicle barrier close to the junction with the Wyrley & Essington canal could be repositioned to be more suitable for cyclists and pedestrians with pushchairs. TP said he would look into it. It was asked whether additional access points to the towpath could be created.

TP advised that a plan had been drawn up for a ramp from Corn Hill, but that with the demolition of the Steam Mill, there was more scope for a better quality access as part of a canal-front development. MW noted that the whole area was being lined up for development including offices, retail and housing. The intention was to create an attractive public realm around the canal and transport interchange. TP advised discussions were ongoing about lighting of the Railway Drive tunnel, which hinged on identifying who would pay for the electricity.

A scheme is in preparation to link i54 to the Science Park with a cycle route feeding off Bee Lane across the playing fields to Three Tuns Lane, thence through a newly-created park on the Goodyear Site, passing through the new residential area and out onto a shared use pathway on Stafford Road at Goodyear Roundabout. TP advised he would circulate a plan showing this more clearly.

5. Active Travel Strategy - implementation

MJ asked how we could get people to assign more importance to active travel. He cited several incidences where people had thoughtlessly impeded efforts to enable active travel. TP advised that there was a balance to be struck between encouragement and coercion, and suggested that it was difficult to target disparate incidents; individual incidents should be reported to those with responsibility but repeat incidents might be dealt with through management structures. MW noted that for an active travel culture to take hold, there needed to be strong leadership from both management and politicians. TP suggested that adopting the principle was the easy part but that the challenge was to give active travel priority over other competing interests. MW noted that the Council now had responsibility for Public Health and this was a strong incentive to engage more with active travel. TP noted that full use was being made of the Council’s communications channels to disseminate information on the matter. It was suggested that when civic events occur active travel to the events should be promoted.

It was asked how the ATS integrated with policy and action regionally. TP advised there was an element of the West Midlands Strategic Transport Plan covering cycling, which contained an aspirational regional cycling network. Also a Walking and Cycling Strategy is in preparation for the Black Country, this is in early stages but TP will report back at a future meeting on this. In addition the West Midlands Cycling Charter action plan was being implemented currently.

6. “Beat the Street” Initiative

There was general approval for the BTS initiative. TP advised that to date 28,000 people had registered to play Beat the Street, and ¾ Million card-swipes had been made. The Forum discussed various aspects of its management including how it was proofed against “multiple swipers” and driving between boxes. It was noted that the project might provide valuable evidence to support actual or latent demand for walking routes, and hence validate bids for improvements. GR asked if the total number of swipes for each box might be made available. TP said he would look into this, and advised the project included “after” surveys later in the year, so he would provide a full update when the evaluation had been completed.

The group agreed it would be a good initiative to run again: TP advised that opportunities for funding were being considered. Suggestions for future phases included targeting selected areas with a higher concentration of Beat Boxes, particularly more boxes per school to accommodate approach from different directions; boxes arranged specifically to promote particular routes.

7. Smart Network Smarter Choices / Transition Fund activities

The Bostin Bikes Commuter scheme was very successful in Wolverhampton with us succeeding in taking 42 out of 100 bikes available across the Black country. Under this scheme applicants working for businesses in the Black Country can buy a well-equipped commuter bike for £50. The offer includes training (which Wolverhampton Council staff can undertake in work time) and also an accompanied commute and these are being undertaken to fit in with the delivery of the bikes. The first bikes will be delivered from 14th April. To date the businesses involved with the takeup are Wolverhampton Council, UTC, Aerospace, JLR, Lloyds Banking Group and Wolverhampton University.

The funding for the training is being rolled over to accommodate the recipients of bikes, however a new bid has been submitted to the Transition Fund to continue to roll out the programme with an emphasis in Wolverhampton during 2016. We will have notification by mid-May if we are successful.

Once the Civic Centre Car Park is complete it is anticipated that there will be more public cycle parking available as the staff cycle parking will have been increased. Opportunities are being sought to improve the offer for staff cycling to and from the Civic Centre. It was suggested that when the car park fully re-opens, there would be a good opportunity to promote the availability of cycling facilities. It was also noted that the cycle rack at the Ceremonial Entrance had finally been fixed down.

National Express have now included Driver training onto their induction courses for bus drivers with Bikeright . This gives bus drivers an insight to the cyclists perspective by getting the drivers out onto a bike .

8. Cyclist Training

Since January 2016 we have trained a further 139 children to level 2 and 74 children to level 3. This gives us a cumulative total of 1479 children trained to level 2, and 264 children trained to level 3 since April 2015. (This is our quietest term for training due to the winter months. Our full summer programme is just about to kick off in the next couple of weeks.)

The DfT have announced £50M of funding over the next 4 years from 2016-17 to 2019-20. We were successful with our bid below of:

1300 level 2 places and 180 level 3 places to take us from 1st April 2016 to 31st August 2016.

Our work with the Youth Offending Team is currently paused whilst the team looks at what funding it has available to continue the project. We have recently completed our work with Westcroft School training students to Open College Network Level 1 in cycle maintenance.

Our Easter holiday courses saw a higher take up this year than we have previously experienced with 44 children taking part altogether

9. Wolves on Wheels

This has been a quiet period. However WOW made a response to the Midland Rail Franchise Consultation. This stated it should be required rather than encouraged for the Train Operating Company to carry bikes and to provide good access to stations by bike, and clear signage within stations and on trains for cyclists. Suggestions to improve capacity such as removing seats and toilets provided some interesting discussion.

10. Sustrans

There are currently no Birmingham or Wolverhampton co-ordinators. Some work has taken place on towpath improvements.

11. Canals & Rivers Trust

Contractors started work on the towpath improvements at Aldersley Junction back in January and are now working between Lower Walsall St and Dixon St on edging boards and subbase.  The section between Broad St and Cornhill has had tarmac laid.  Between Cornhill and Horseley Fields Junction has had the subbase laid and is currently open, but will need to be closed again when the tarmac is laid.  Once the tarmacking is complete and the temperature is constant, the spray and chip top dressing will be added to the entire length.   CRT are trying to keep the towpath open as much as possible, particularly in areas where there is no viable alternative. 

TP was asked to raise with CRT the presence of a large pothole in the towpath of the Shropshire and Worcestershire Canal near to Oxley Moor Road.

12. Any Other Business

GR referred to Tettenhall Neighbourhood Plan cycling policy, which he had discussed recently with Nick Broomhall the Road Safety Manager. Amongst the opportunities under consideration is access to the old railway line at Castlecroft. The Council is putting in a signal crossing on Castlecroft Road at Bhylls Lane, and there is a plan to connect this to ramp down onto the railway path. Amongst other benefits this may provide a pleasant walking route to Castlecroft and Smestow Schools. GR is looking for letters of support from bodies such as WOW/Sustrans/the Cycle Forum for this.

CT welcomed the road surface improvements in Darlington St including the Advanced Stop Line at the Waterloo Rd junction. He asked if there was any scope for improving markings for cyclists at the Chapel Ash roundabout. TP advised some improvements had been considered using Sainsbury Section 106 funding.

CT noted that SW had referred to an increase of staff cycling to New Cross Hospital to avoid the parking charge. He asked about the possibility of progressing previously-discussed improvements on Wednesfield Road. TP advised that he had monopolised the team’s design capability to deliver MST schemes this year and felt he would have to negotiate when the plans for the Wednesfield Road could be progressed further, particularly given the need to determine funding for them. SW asked if it would at least be possible to consider an advanced stop line at the Wednesfield Road/ Tudor Road junction as a quick win. TP said he would look into the possibility.

Next meeting: Wednesday July 20th, Committee Room 2

 


Wolverhampton Cycle Forum Draft Agenda

Tuesday 12 April 2016, 6pm

Committee Room 1, Members’ Suite, Third Floor Civic Centre, St Peter’s Square, Wolverhampton

Access to Civic Centre via entrance nearest Ring Road

1. Apologies
2. Minutes of the last meeting (14 January 2016)
3. Matters Arising not covered elsewhere in agenda

Observations on Beat the Streets (favourable)
Princess St Market St contraflow
Implementation of the ATS within the Council
4. Infrastructure
a. City centre works
b. Springfield Campus scheme
c. Compton Park scheme
d. Managing Short Trips schemes in development
5. Active Travel Strategy - update
6. “Beat the Street” Initiative
7. LSTF activities
8. Cyclist Training
9. Wolves on Wheels
10. Sustrans
11. Canals & Rivers Trust
12. Any Other Business


Papers

Bikeability

Since January 2016 we have trained a further 139 children to level 2 and 74 children to level 3. This gives us a cumulative total of 1479 children trained to level 2, and 264 children trained to level 3 since April 2015. (This is our quietest term for training due to the winter months. Our full summer programme is just about to kick off in the next couple of weeks.)

The DfT have announced £50M of funding over the next 4 years from 2016-17 to 2019-20. We were successful with our bid below of 1300 level 2 places and 180 level 3 places to take us from 1st April 2016 to 31st August 2016.


Our work with the Youth Offending Team is currently paused whilst the team looks at what funding it has available to continue the project. We have recently completed our work with Westcroft School training students to Open College Network Level 1 in cycle maintenance.

Our Easter holiday courses saw a higher take up this year than we have previously experienced with 44 children taking part altogether.


Sustainable Travel Update

 

The Bostin Bikes Commuter was very successful in Wolverhampton with us succeeding in taking 42 out of 100 bikes available across the Black country.

To date the businesses involved with the take up are Wolverhampton Council, UTC ,Aerospace , JLR , Lloyds Banking Group and Wolverhampton University.

The offer combined training and also an accompanied commute and these are being undertaken to fit in with the delivery of the bikes . The first bikes will be delivered from 14th April .

The funding for the training is being rolled over to accommodate the recipients of bikes, however a new bid has been submitted to roll out the programme with an emphasis in Wolverhampton during 2016 . We will have notification by mid-May if we are successful.

Once the Civic Car Park is complete it is anticipated that there will be more public cycle parking available as the staff cycle parking will have been increased .

National Express have now included Driver training onto their induction courses for bus drivers with Bikeright . This gives bus drivers an insight to the cyclists perspective by getting the drivers out onto a bike .


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