Wolverhampton Cycle Forum
Tuesday 16 January, 6pm
Conference Room, Council Office,
Victoria Square, Wolverhampton
Present – Councillor Martin Waite (chair), Patrick Bentley, Mike Jenkins, David Wilson, Tim Philpot, Dave Clare
1. The chair welcomed everyone and wished a happy new year. Patrick Bentley was welcomed to the meeting and invited to be included on the Forum mailing list.
2. Apologies Steve Young, Nicholas Squires
3. Minutes of the last meeting (19 October 2017).
These were accepted as accurate. It was requested for page numbers to be included on the minutes in future.
4. Matters Arising not covered elsewhere in agenda.
None was raised
5. Bikeshare scheme
TP advised the tender for the Bikeshare scheme was in progress and due to be completed by March. This was greeted positively and discussion followed about the importance of dock locations for the bikes to capitalise on specific marked segments e.g. Tettenhall Station (now Cupcake Café) as leisure destination. TP advised that a long list of prospective locations was in preparation for discussion with the successful bidder. Questions were raised about the specification of bikes and in particular how suitable their gearing was. TP advised that the bike spec. was one of the detailed questions in the tender process and that bidders had to satisfy the assessors that their bikes were fit for purpose.
6. Active Travel Strategy
MJ raise the question of what had been the impact internally of the Active Travel Strategy in the council? He noted that a lot more planning applications were emerging that needed to have reference to active travel. CMW explained that he sits on health scrutiny panel. There is now a new Director of Public Health who wants PH to be an influencer on other departments, so that the whole council becomes health-promoting. CMW anticipates this will be the way forward and identified air quality as an issue which was ripe for being the next big health focus. He cited conflicting views about how best to serve the health agenda including that in some quarters cycle lanes were considered to be responsible for increased pollution if they restricted space in such a way that impeded motor vehicle flow. Also that pollution round schools and other black spots caused by traffic including the school run was directly discouraging people from active travel. TP advised that some discussion had been initiated regarding making residential zones fitter for walking and cycling and less prone to problems arising from motor traffic. It was noted the West Midlands Mayor had campaigned on cycling during the election. TP advised a mayoral representative came to the Regional Cycle Charter meetings and it was hoped that dialogue between the CA and the Mayor’s office would lead to tangible support for cycling.
7. Infrastructure Ongoing
a. City centre:-
The contraflow route signage improvements previously discussed and agreed are scheduled to be implemented shortly. There will however have to be adaptations to the motor traffic routing along Princess St for the duration of the Metro works closure of Piper’s Row, beginning in March. This will involve the largest vehicles going through the pedestrianised area. Temporary barriers will put in place to protect the cycle lane. The temporary arrangements for all road users will be posted on the Midland Metro Alliance webpage.
The rail station rebuild will begin in earnest in April. It has been agreed that when the existing forecourt cycle parking (not including the brand new parking in the runaround area) is taken out of commission advance notice will be posted and temporary parking will be made available nearby. On the trackside there may need to be some repositioning of the platform parking facilities at least on a temporary basis. Regarding lighting the Railway Drive Tunnel we are still trying to confirm ownership of the structure.
Cycle parking at the new Market location is still under discussion and has not been finalised but is in principle a condition of planning approval. Indicative cycle and pedestrian routing has been included in the Westside planning application.
Improved cycle signage for the Penn Rd shared use path has been agreed and is to be implemented. The question of vehicles turning at speed from Chapel Ash into Raglan Street was raised again. TP advised it had been agreed to place a warning sign on the approach as a pragmatic response.
b. Springfield Campus phase 2.
Funding has been secured to widen the footpath for the length of Cambridge Street so to provide a continued shared use path up to Cannock Road, and an enhanced crossing point at Cannock Road connecting to the Mainline Canal towpath and Fowler’s Park. The scheme also includes enhanced lighting under the Broad Street (Rail over Road) bridge. Further phases of development of the Springfield Campus are awaited.
c. Canal towpaths (Managing Short Trips 2)
Further surfacing work is underway on the Birmingham Mainline Canal towpath between Dixon Street and Deepfields, and on the Wyrley & Essington towpath between Horseley Fields and Bentley Bridge. This is scheduled to be completed in 2018 and, along with works scheduled in other areas, will almost complete a consistent surfaced route connecting Wolverhampton and Birmingham.
d. Stafford Road phase 1
Works are underway to improve the capacity of Stafford Road between M54 J2 and Vine Island, particularly the junction with Broadlands with gives access to Wolverhampton Business Park. The works are to pre-empt congestion likely to arise from increased traffic in particular generated by the expanding i54 site. As part of the works shared use pathways will be provided on both sides of Stafford Road for the whole length from Vine Island to the M54, these link into Wobaston Road/Bee Lane and the new route to the Science Park, as well as the route northwards to Stafford. Project completion is anticipated in early 2019.
8. Infrastructure Proposals Under Development
a. A454 Willenhall Road and Junction 10
Major highway schemes are under consideration for Willenhall Road at i) Ring Road to Walsall St, ii) Old Heath Road and iii) Neachells Lane. Further along the route the design for upgrading M6 Junction 10 is being finalised. This level of focus on the A454 is seen as an opportunity to design and provide a direct, consistent and continuous
(cont’d over page)
cycling route between Wolverhampton and Walsall. Wolverhampton and Walsall are moving towards a combined Strategic Transportation Team and this project is an early example of collaborative working.
b. Birmingham New Road
The multi-modal study of the A4123 Birmingham New Road which traverses Birmingham. Dudley, Sandwell and Wolverhampton highway authorities, continues with option assessment as its current focus. It is the intention to make improvements for all modes of use along this corridor. An update will be provided at the next Forum meeting.
c. Stafford Road phase 2/3
Proposals are being developed for major schemes on Stafford Road, the next in line being at Three Tuns/Oxley Moor junctions. While this is led by need for better motor vehicle flow it is also an opportunity to build in better provision for cyclists. Comments or suggestions are welcomed with this as with all major projects.
9. Promotion of Cycling
a. Velo 2018
The Combined Authority intends to capitalise on the success of this event in 2018, by engaging with communities and interest groups to create a range of activities and involvement around the event. Currently awaiting information around the date and route for the 2018 event.
b. Aldersley – Dudley Railway Path. No further developments on this project.
10. ESIF bid
CoWC are looking to submit a bid for European Funding (ESIF) for “low carbon” initiatives. With respect to cycling, this cannot fund actual cycle routes but may be used for peripherals such as lighting and monitoring. TP is working with the bid to include solar marker lights extensively on the towpath network, and identify strategic monitoring locations.
11. Wolves on Wheels
In last quarter, WOW has provided a response to the Royal Hospital
development planning application. This identified insufficient cycle
parking for the size of development, and no obvious cycle route on Cleveland Road where a boulevard catering for all road users was anticipated. TP advised the intention was still to connect this development through to the St George’s Parade cycle route via the former Sainsbury car park. WOW also gave feedback on the new Market cycle parking proposal which has helped to improve it. The December meeting was a social night.
12. Canals & Rivers Trust towpath
CRT are seeking funding to surface the towpath of the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal from Coven Heath to i54. If successful this will link up to the shared use paths on the A449 to Stafford.
13. Any Other Business
a. Forum Meetings 2018-19
A provisional meeting has been set for 19 April. No room has yet been booked. TP will seek to get accommodation back in the Civic Centre as the Members’ Suite should be available again by then. Further dates will be identified and circulated for meetings later in the year.