Wolverhampton Cycle Forum

Meeting Notes

Thursday 25 April, 6pm

Committee Room 5, Civic Centre,

St Peter’s Square, Wolverhampton

  1. Apologies

  1. Minutes of the last meeting (15 January 2019)

  1. Matters Arising not covered elsewhere in agenda:-

  • Westside Link – Detailed design to be prepared, phase 1 (School St, Salop St, Skinner St) anticipated to begin implementation within 12 months.

  • No Limits to Health – Sam Henry was not able to attend the meeting, item to be deferred

  • Meccano bridge – The bridge deck has been resurfaced as part of a scheme improving the surface as far as Alpine Way. It is known that the structure needs attention in the near future to secure the bridge.

  • Sainsburys cycle parking – further discussion about arranging cycle parking at street level for the store entrance. Suggested that the Manager of the store should be contacted.

  1. Transforming Cities Fund / LCWIP / Better Streets Project

TP explained CoWC’s strategic approach to cycling. A Local Cycling and Walking Investment Plan (LCWIP) has been prepared for the West Midlands Combined Authority. This identifies a network of cycling routes mirroring existing transport corridors, prioritises these routes and outlines costs of development. In demonstrating a strategic approach the Combined Authority seeks to capitalise on funding opportunities. So far, £23 million has been secured from the Transforming Cities Fund.

Routes in the LCWIP for Wolverhampton include A454 Willenhall to Walsall, A4123 Wolverhampton to Birmingham, and A4124 Wolverhampton to Bloxwich

There was a discussion about local priorities. It was questioned whether the arterial road corridors were the most appropriate routes for promoting cycling. In their favour they are direct and well known, although proximity to traffic and consequent air quality make them less desirable in other ways.

It was asked what evidence there was that people would cycle on the A4123 if it was provided with a suitable cycle way. Latent demand is always a challenge to assess, and data gathering generally is a costly process, however, the Combined Authority is developing a collective approach and reviewing options to determine what will produce the best results.

It was acknowledged that Towpaths can provide good opportunities for cycle routes and some even without a good quality surface are being well-used (e.g. Wyrley & Essington). Minor roads can also provide parallel routes. These may prove more attractive in some respects but may suffer from discontinuity, lack of directness and in the case of towpaths, isolation and absence of lighting.

There was a discussion about Clean Air Zones, the part of Wolverhampton that was identified by DEFRA as having air pollution exceedance is the Ring Road St Davids in the vicinity of the rail station and Bilston Street Roundabout. Current activity in relation to that is focussing on modifications to the bus fleet and optimisation of traffic signal junctions particularly at the Bilston Street Roundabout.

The prioritising of spending across the region was discussed – clearly all areas are looking to make improvements but the prioritising process means that some are more justified than others and so take priority.

It was mentioned that part of Wolverhampton’s problem with motor traffic is that the road network makes people who are just passing through come right into the town

  1. Bikeshare Scheme update

CoWC is working with Nextbike to prepare for the next round of dock installations, with the intention to hold a full scheme launch in July.

  1. Wolves on Wheels – report and update on previously-raised issues

  • Market cycle parking being used to store bin bags on collection day – reported to Markets manager

  • Representation of cycling and cyclists in corporate media – raised at Director level

  • Press release about Air Quality Grant not mentioning cycling – Noted

  1. Route signage and markings – general

There was a discussion about how matters could be improved. This focused on key issues such as

  • Maintenance – faults need to be identified and reported. There is an inspection regime for this but ideally anyone noting a fault should report if straight away for best chance of getting it fixed earlier

  • Markings should be rational, legible and clear, and should be made very obvious to take account of a general ignorance or inattention by road users

  • Some suggestions were made concerning the use of sensors to alert motorists to the nearness of cycle ways

  • It was noted that the new cycle super-highways in Birmingham were painted blue

  • It was suggested that pedestrian and cyclist signal crossings could default to green for peds and cycles and only change when cars approach

  • There was some speculation about the possibility that at some poiont there would be a rapid growth in cyclist numbers and a need to make better accommodation. It was agreed this was being held back by safety fears.

  1. City Centre: Railway Drive/Station/Metro Works/

These are proceeding much as expected, causing regrettable disruption to cyclist movements.

  1. A454 Eastern Gateway Consultation update – Cabinet has approved option D, twin gyratory systems featuring continuous cycling provision. Detailed development now to be undertaken.

  1. A4123 update – Development funding being sought to build on the Multi-Modal study outcomes.

  1. Cyclist training – Bikeability standards will be revised in May to clarify what is essential, what advised, and what optional content. This is to ensure consistency of instruction, instructors will have 2 years to re-qualify.

  1. Sustrans – Have recently completed and published their NCN Audit

  1. Canals & Rivers Trust – No update

  1. Any Other Business

It was suggested Local Authorities put their cycling map information onto Google maps or use online route-finding services such as Cycle Travel.

It was asked what the role of the Combined Authority is in cycling, and suggested that the West Midlands Mayor be invited to attend a future Forum meeting

Date of future meetings to be decided

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