Wolverhampton Cycle Forum
Thursday 25 July, 6pm
Committee Room 5, Civic Centre,
St Peter’s Square, Wolverhampton
Present: Dave Clare (FOE), Win Sutton, Jon Rice (WOW), Councillor Claire Darke, Tony Fox, (Chair of Cannon Hill Peoples’ Park), Sam Henry, (No Limits To Health), Rob Marris, Julia Brant, Tim Philpot (CoWC)
Apologies Cllr Martin Waite, Lissa Evans, Mike Jenkins
No Limits to Health/Heritage Trails
Sam Henry and Tony Fox gave a presentation on proposed Wolverhampton Heritage Trails suitable for cycling. The project aims to promote both physical activity and cultural awareness, and capitalise on the tourism generated by the Commonwealth Games.
The idea springs from a regional Greenways map produced some years ago and still available online, which has been developed in Selly Oak (Birmingham).
The proposal is to establish a base for the project where a fleet of e-bikes can be stored and maintained, and from where rides can depart and return. The project will need to acquire the bikes and a shipping container or some other option for a base.
The project was well received by the group, and the presentation will be circulated for comment. There was discussion about the locations to be visited and the route to be taken. It was suggested that some form of safety assessment of the route would be needed.
There was discussion of how the project would be funded. Various options are available including the National Lottery and Crowdfunding.
Minutes of the last meeting (15 January 2019)
These were accepted as accurate
Matters Arising not covered elsewhere in agenda:-
The question of cycle parking at Sainsbury’s City Centre Store was raised. TP advised plans were in place to install some outside the store on the Ring Road frontage.
RM expressed thanks for action taken to replace and refresh the cycle route markings in Worcester Street
Wolves on Wheels – report and issues raised:-
Mike Jenkins was not able to attend but sent the following report:-
“We are sorry to have to report that our friend, and long time Wolves on Wheels member, David Wilson died unexpectedly at the end of April. As well as being a regular attendee of this forum he was a ranger in the local Sustrans group and worked on NCN route 81. We have been able to help Dave's family place bikes and spares with Wolverhampton Bikeshed and Wildside Activity Centre who will use them to benefit local people.”
“We have publicised widely the consultation for the A4123 improvements and individual members have taken part in it.”
Mike also raised some issues for discussion as follows:-
Edinburgh ruling on Tram Rails
Recently a legal case against Edinburgh City Council was upheld after two cyclists were seriously injured, one fatally, following collisions in which the tram rails were a contributory factor. It is unclear at this point whether the court ruling was on the basis that tram rails are intrinsically dangerous to cyclists, or whether the fault lay in how cyclists were routed and whether safe options existed.
The group discussed the implications of this ruling for the Metro Extension in Wolverhampton. TP advised that the arrangements remained broadly as previously circulated.
There was discussion of problems experienced in previous years in Wolverhampton where the road surface surrounding the rails broke out and left wide and uneven channels next to the rails. JB referred to meeting held with Dave Holladay, a specialist consultant who gave advice on addressing safety issues arising from tram rails. TP advised there now appeared to be a resolution to this problem with the use of a different compound immediately adjacent to the rails.
There was general agreement that safety was of paramount importance and Metro arrangements should reflect that.
Council Declaration of Climate Emergency
There was discussion about what this would entail in practical terms. It was noted that travel by bicycle as an alternative to motor vehicle was a clear climate benefit.
It is understood that certain councillors are to champion the Council’s Climate Emergency action, including Cllr. Barbara McGarrity, Cllr. Beverley Momenabadi and Cllr. Claire Simm.
TP undertook to report back to a future meeting on developments.
Joint Letter from Cycling Ambassadors
It was noted that key leadership figures in Cycling and Walking for major British cities, Scotland and the West Midlands had sent a letter to the Secretary of State for Transport requesting increased funding for cycling infrastructure and improved quality standards.
Better Streets Project
TP advised the group that the deadline for bids to the Better Streets Project was at the end of July. Better Streets offers members of the public the opportunity to propose improvements in their neighbourhood that would create a better environment for active travel. This could be done via the page on Transport for West Midlands’ website. There was a discussion of ideas that might qualify for this fund, including community secure cycle parking, as seen in Waltham Forest in London
Bikeshare Scheme update
TP advised that progress on installing further bikes and docks in Wolverhampton had been slow after a modest but optimistic start in February, and that there were issues needing to be resolved.
Station Cycle Hub
Discussions are ongoing with TfWM and WM Trains over the design and content of a Cycle Hub at Wolverhampton Station. This will need to wait until a suitable point in the station and metro extension works before any construction can take place, and will need to be co-ordinated with other priorities regarding use of space. It is likely that when appropriate a BikeShare dock would be introduced either inside or adjacent to the Cycle Hub
Discussion over this issue led to the suggestion that trains should make better provision for carriage of cycles. It was also noted that in London, Santander had become closely engaged with cycle planning and it was suggested a similar relationship might benefit the West Midlands.
A454 Eastern Gateway Consultation update
The outcome of the consultation exercise previously carried out on four different options was approval for option 4, combining gyratory traffic arrangements with dedicated provision for cycling to proceed to detailed design.
Following a multi-modal study of this route a bid for major scheme funding is being developed to make improvements.
No update available
It appears that now the towpath between the city centre and Aldersley Junction has been surfaced, Sustrans have designated this as NCN81 in preference to the road route. A question remains over whether the road route will remain as part of the NCN or not.
Canals & Rivers Trust
Any Other Business
It was noted that the cycle parking at the Civic Centre had been removed without notice. TP advised this was apparently in response to some recent bike thefts. Strong concern was registered that there was now no cycle parking at surface level for visitors to the Civic Centre
Thanks were extended to Councillor Darke for her interest in the Forum and for taking time away from her mayoral duties to remain for the whole meeting