Notes of Meeting
Tuesday 18 July, 6pm
Committee Room 1, Members’ Suite, Third Floor
Civic Centre, St Peter’s Square, Wolverhampton
Present: Councillor Martin Waite (Chair) Win Sutton, David Wilson, San Worrall, Bob Amer, Mike Jenkins, Chris Terrell, George Reiss, Jon Rice, Tim Philpot
1. Apologies: Julia Brant, Dave Clare, Carol Clare, Win Sutton
2. Minutes of the last meeting (6 April 2017)
These were agreed as accurate
3. Matters Arising not covered elsewhere in agenda
MJ noted with thanks that signage in Railway Drive had now been amended to indicate cyclists were excepted from the road closure.
4. Infrastructure Ongoing
a. City Centre -
TP circulated a plan of proposed amendments to signage on the cycle route from Princess St to Garrick Street. These comprise mainly enhanced warnings for drivers exiting side roads that they are crossing a contraflow cycle lane, signs excepting cyclists from general traffic restrictions, and route continuity signage. The plan will be circulated by email after the meeting.
MJ noted that there appeared to be a slight lip on the marked cycle lane through the pedestrian area, the presence of which had caused his wife bike control problems. He noted this may be difficult to rectify now that it was in place.
TP advised that he had been asked if there was further detail on the Westside Development that members of the Forum could view. He advised that he had not seen anything and understood that discussions were currently at a high level and there was not the detail that was being requested currently. MW suggested there may be some more detailed plans available, TP said he would look into it.
TP advised he had been asked what provision there would be for cycle parking at the new Wolverhampton Market site. The planning application detail includes cycle parking but does not specify details. TP advised it was still a condition of approval and Transportation would work with the developer to arrange it.
TP advised the intention remained to maintain levels of cycle parking through the course of the rail station rebuilding and Metro extension works using temporary parking facilities as necessary and giving notice of changes in location. Also that in the medium-long term the plan was to have a cycle hub in the vicinity of the station providing enhanced facilities for an increased number of cyclists.
b. Science Park-i54. TP advised this scheme was complete with the exception of the section through the new park which was in the hands of the developers, and the signage through the Goodyear estate from the park to Mercury Drive which could not be installed until the road network was completed. The materials for the signage and lighting the route through the park had been acquired and would be installed in due course but this may be 12 months-2 years away. In view of this, the Stafford Road footway from Church Road to Mercury Drive had also been converted to shared use to provide an alternative route straight away.
c. Bradley Arm Canal/Bilston Urban Village TP advised the new length of towpath surfacing was now complete, connecting Deepfields Junction to Bankfield Road. This ties into the Bilston Urban Village cycle routes already in place.
d. 20 mph areas
In response to an enquiry TP advised that City of Wolverhampton Council currently has no programme for general roll-out of 20 mph speed limits. He noted there was an ongoing programme of specific locations where a speed limit reduction was being considered normally as part of a package of speed management measures. Recently Linden Lea had been designated 20mph without traffic calming, Hilton Road (already traffic calmed) and adjacent roads had been designated 20mph, and Tettenhall High Street was in the programme for traffic calming and speed limit reduction.
There was a general discussion about moderating speed of traffic in residential areas. This touched on the value of sign-only 20mph limits, the importance of enforcement by the Police, the pro’s and cons of traffic calming and shared space. It was agreed that action to moderate speed of traffic needed to take account of successful schemes elsewhere.
5. Infrastructure Proposals Under Development
a. A449 Stafford Road “Northern Gateway”– A plan of Phase 1 of this project had been circulated as part of a public consultation exercise. It includes modifications to junctions at Greenfield Lane and Broadlands, and extension of shared use on the footways both sides between Vine Island and M54 junction 2. The primary aim of this is to proof the corridor against increases of traffic associated with expansion of i54 and further occupation of Wolverhampton Business Park. The scheme had received a cautious but positive response from members of the Forum. Subject to a successful bid outcome, the scheme will be implemented starting in October 2017. Further phases will be designed in due course.
b. A454 Willenhall Road “Eastern Gateway”- TP advised a major review of this route is under way. Designs are being developed initially for the segment between the ring road and Hickman Avenue. Further phases will include Neachells Lane junction. Cycle route provision is being designed and tested as part of the package. CoWC is working closely with Walsall MBC with the aim of improving the whole link between the two centres including provision of suitable cycle facilities. TP has made comments on the M6 Junction 10 which is on the direct route regarding suitable provision for cyclists.
c. M54 Junction 2 - TP advised that Highways England was examining severance issues caused by the strategic highway network and carrying out an assessment exercise to identify potential improvements. This is focusing on areas around motorway junctions across the West Midlands, in respect of Wolverhampton this relates to M54 Junction 2. Further information will be presented at a future meeting.
d. A4123 Birmingham New Road – TP advised a scoping meeting had taken place involving representatives from the respective local authorities and the Combined Authority to develop a vision for this route.
e. Wednesfield Road – TP advised there was no further progress on this project, although works to improve the area around Culwell Street and the rail bridge may be included in a funding bid relating to the university’s new Springfield Campus.
6. Promotion of Cycling
a. Smestow Valley Railway Path – TP advised that a group of Local and Combined Authority personnel had ridden this route from Aldersley to Dudley to establish its consistency and suitability. This group agreed the path was an underused resource and there was potential to promote it more, particularly as a leisure ride as far as Bratch Locks in Wombourne, combined with the towpath. The nature of the Railway Path’s surface means it is prone to waterlogging in parts and so unlikely to provide a good all year round commuter route. This may be difficult to address without changing its rural aspect. Later stages of the route in Dudley presented more challenges for novice riders and there would be consideration as to how to overcome these. The meeting discussed some of the opportunities and challenges on this route including the Meccano Bridge, and better access at Castlecroft Road/Windmill Lane and around the former Environmental Centre. GR advised there may be funding available from ERDF for improvement works.
b. Led Rides – TP advised that he had anticipated further information from Sam Henry on a project to establish led rides in Wolverhampton, but had not been able to make contact. However, Wildside Centre has started up a programme of such rides.
c. Collective Branding – TP advised the West Midlands authorities were seeking to establish a collective brand identity for cycle publications and wayfinding, probably based on Birmingham’s “Cycle Revolution” concept.
7. Lea Rd/Retreat Street Junction and Penn Rd Shared Use Route –
Concerns had been raised that a) the arrangement for cyclists to cross Retreat Street posed a risk to cyclists, and b) that the Penn Road shared use route between Retreat Street and the Ring Road needed better signing for cyclists.
The meeting considered the arrangement at Retreat Street but reached the conclusion that it did not give cause for concern. It was agreed that there was no undue risk to cyclists, that the onus was on the cyclist to give way as necessary and proceed only when deemed safe, and that in general the situation was better with this feature than without it.
Regarding Penn Road, it has already been agreed that the signage needs reviewing to ensure both cyclists and pedestrians are clear that it is shared use, and this has been included in the programme of Highways Works. It was noted however that being shared use, no ground marking is applicable.
8. Wolves on Wheels
CT advised it was a busy time for WOW as they were looking at ways of reorganising for better effectiveness. CT was standing down owing to taking up a new job in Scotland, and MJ would be taking over as chair. Written submissions had been made in response to consultations on Stafford Road and Westside. Contact had been made with other cycling campaign groups in the region through the West Midlands Cycle Network
9. Sustrans - No report
10. Canals & Rivers Trust – No report
11. Any Other Business
a. West Midlands Design Guidance – TP advised as part of the West Midlands Cycle Charter a set of common design guidance had been prepared by Birmingham City Council and was to be adopted by the West Midlands region. For ease of progress, the only modifications that will be made at this point will be to ensure they have references and images relating to the wider area. A review of the technical content will take place at a later date.
b. Black Country Cycling Forum – TP advised that consideration was being given to the establishment of a Black Country Cycle Forum. Some concerns were expressed about how this would improve matters given there were already groups operating at local and regional levels. TP advised that there were matters going unmet at the moment and that a Black Country group might be the best way to pick these up. He noted it was an early point in discussions and would keep the Forum informed.
c. Video and Photo Bank – TP advised he was amassing a large bank of video and photograph material on cycle routes. This may be of use to anyone interested in knowing what routes are like. TP also said he would welcome any donations of ideally recent material.
d. Upcoming Forum Meetings – TP advised the Members’ Suite would not be available for the 19 October and 16 January meetings of the Forum, but he would advise of alternative arrangements at a later date.