Success! Merseyrail have finally acknowledged that an important proportion of their customer base want to use bicycles in combination with the trains. We will have a way to cross the Mersey during the track renewal that is not just relying on the ferry service. Please refer to the bike bus timetable here.
This is great news for everybody in Merseyside who wants to continue using their bicycle during the track renewal and a great testimony for all campaigners, from individuals to organisations as ours as well as the local groups of CyclingUK (formerly CTC).
While it is highly unlikely that you can change planning decisions around a massive road resurfacing and improvement scheme while standing on a traffic island in the middle of the junction of St Anne Street and Islington, it is good to meet a representative of the council and of the construction company involved to help make some improvements and comments on the design that will inevitably proceed, for the most part, in its original form.
To this end Don, Ian and Stella from the Merseyside Cycling Campaign met Karen Stevens, Liverpool City Council’s Cycling and Walking Officer and Spencer Pritchard from Amey to look at the plans for the junction and how cycling would fit in. Don was also representing Cycling UK and Stella was giving input for the Liverpool Pedestrians Association.
Google Map of the Area
The plan is to put in shared footway provision from Byrom Street up to Soho Street on New Islington, to improve pedestrian and cycle crossings at the junction and to provide a link to the new LCCCS provision on Dale Street.
Karen agreed that this should be seen as a first step leading to better, segregated, provision in the future and that increased usage would hopefully strengthen the case for further improvement. Spencer said he would take several of our concerns to his management including:-
- Improving the dangerous exit from the provision onto St Anne Street Northbound by extending the shared space.
- Future-proofing some of the Puffin crossings by providing drop kerbs large enough for Toucan crossings to be provided in the future.
- The danger of running provision across the large radius turn into Soho Street which encourages vehicles to turn in at high speeds.
- The need for short response times at the Toucan and Puffin Crossings. Widening the inside lane from St Anne Street to Norton Street to accommodate cyclists who wished to stay on the road.
- Widening the footway at narrow points on Hunter Street to avoid conflicts.
It was pleasing that Karen and Spencer were willing to join in with discussion of matters that were not part of the scheme. For instance, using Christian Street and an existing path to provide an alternative route to the very unpleasant Byrom Street/Hunter Street as well as giving a direct link to the Leeds Street provision. The idea of shared footway on Norton Street to give safe access to the much quieter Kempston Street was also mooted and there was plenty to say about the dire nature of Islington; a 30mph road of near motorway proportions and near motorway speeds at times.
The nature of the meeting was very positive with Karen outlining several plans for the area and the city in general, that will improve cycling provision and uptake in the future.
All in all it was a good meeting that left us feeling that things are moving forward in the city, not as fast or as well as we would like, but forward nevertheless.
Skyride was a great event, as always, with thousands of people riding around the city showing how popular cycling would be if it was safe. The MCC stall in Sefton Park, staffed by Lawrence, Don and Ian, was there to inform visitors about our campaign and cycling issues in general as well as to attract new members.
Everyone we saw was thoroughly in favour of the aims and the work of the MCC and enjoyed talking to like minded folk. Many left with new ideas about places to cycle in the surrounding area and how to build rail travel into accessing them. Lots of tales of near misses, potholes that need filling, wasted opportunities for cycle provision and cycleways that need maintaining were swapped as well as stories of long distance journeys in foreign lands, cycle camping, country pubs and just the general brilliant nature of cycling.
During the day forty two new members were signed up adding to the strength of our collective voice. The sun didn’t shine much but it didn’t rain and as ever it was a happy and rewarding day at this event.
A brilliant documentary on BBC2 about the production of this incredible machine. The programme is part of the Inside the Factory series and, like all the other episodes, is made with a good humoured outlook, high production values and covers a wide range of related topics.
Apart from manufacturing the bike the programme looks at the history of the folding bicycle, improving HGV safety, advice from Team GB on improving utility cycling efficiency, the role of the bicycle in promoting equality for women, a visit to the Brooks saddle factory and new cycle designs.
Definitely worth a look.
We are organising a hack day for 23rd of January. This is targeted at hackers with an interest in mapping, as well as planners and of course cycle campaigners. The idea to this event developed after Dr Robin Lovelace’s talk on the CycleNation Conference we hosted in October. Please find more details over on eventbrite, where you can also book a free ticket. A brief summary below:
The National Propensity To Cycle Tool comes to Liverpool. We will work with the main developer Dr Robin Lovelace to make this tool available to planners and cycle advocates in Liverpool, for Liverpool.
The event will be of equal interest to open source hackers with an interest in GIS, mapping, open data and statistics; highway engineers and decision makers involved in the planning of cycle infrastructure; people who move through the city by bike and who want to see more and better cycle provisions on the routes they use.as well as businesses with a reliance on good cycle provisions throughout their operational area (couriers, cycle hire, cycle training, tour operators) .
The aim for the day is to have the propensity tool working for our city and be able to visualise where people are cycling now, and where they want to cycle, for various scenarios with an increase in the number of trips made by bicycle. We will be able to see in form of heatmaps where cycle infrastructure would be most needed. Planners and cycle advocates will be able to understand the inputs and how to use the tool.
The AGM this year will be on 28th November, see the events calendar. Details about speakers etc. will be announced soon.
In a recent council meeting (1st October 2015) of the Regeneration, Housing & Sustainability Select Committee Andrew Barr, a council officer who is the Divisional Manager (Highways & Transportation) gave a statement on the cycle strategy of Liverpool. The minutes of that meeting can be found here.
Our member Ian Downing gave this as his opinion to Andrew Barr’s statement.
“Just some random observations. As ever I don’t really know who all these people are and what Andy Barr’s agenda is but looking at the minutes it was odd to see that he reminded us of the targets behind the cycling agenda (10% of journeys, 45,000 people cycling regularly by this December) but didn’t see the meeting as a suitable venue for informing others of progress towards them (I couldn’t find the RAG analysis in the minutes).”
The RAG (That is Red-Amber-Green Analysis) can be found here. Ian goes on to say:
“I felt that the traffic light detection of cyclists to give them a head start at traffic lights related solely to on road provision which is acceptable (just) for cyclists but the targets relate to encouraging people of all ages and abilities to become bicycle users; that 10 second head start will not be very encouraging for parents deciding whether to allow their ten year old to cycle to school. Perhaps they need to unravel their Cycling Strategy priorities as well as the transport modes.
It was nice to hear about the improvements at the Princes Park Roundabout but as I cycle around it, on the road, I just think of it as a roundabout with wide pavements. I don’t recall a champagne buffet at the Baltic Fleet to celebrate its introduction or even being involved in any consultation (it may have been before my time). The description of it as having “clear benefits for cyclists and road users” says a lot. Andy seems to see the two groups as separate but then specifies very little infrastructure that keeps them that way. It was probably a Freudian omission of the word “other” but it may be that he accepts that cyclists use the road but are somehow different from “road users.”
The last point was a complete mess; “there was a questioning of striking the most appropriate balance between differing road users”; were people questioning if striking a balance was the right thing to do or whether we just spend it all on motorists? If the word intended was “question”, great stuff, but why no description of the balance that had been struck? It then goes on to say “Some locations and key arterial routes by their nature were unsuitable for on-street cycling provision and for which works were being undertaken to parallel routes frequented by cyclists to further enhance these and promote further increases in cycling.” Which translates to “We don’t want to detract from Liverpool being an anachronistic example of a city in which one can drive with relative freedom by narrowing or removing traffic lanes, instead we are going to put signs up on quietways that are of little use or interest to anybody because they don’t take them where they want to go”. Remember Liverpool feels that there is no room for segregated provision on a 17m wide single carriageway (Netherfield Road).
Tom Crones questions were useful and sought to shed some light on the realities of the situation.
I found Tim Beaumont’s comments to be apologist but perhaps they represented his concerns as a cyclist rather than as a councillor trying to institute policies that would encourage people to become bicycle users. In fact I couldn’t see why he felt he needed to disclose his interest as a cyclist in the Declaration of Interests when nobody else had declared themselves as motorists, or perhaps they had all walked there. (is he a motorist as well? if so would that imply that he sees motoring as akin to walking, something everyone does?) He, and others, could perhaps do to understand that supporting policies that would encourage the 95% of the population who do not engage in regular functional bicycling to become regular bicycle users would be to everyone’s advantage, even cyclists! It would be interesting to see how well the make up of the council reflects Liverpool’s car ownership demographic (53%); perhaps councillors should make such declarations whenever transport is discussed.
The preparations for the autumn conference of CTC and Cycle Nation, and hosted by Merseyside Cycling Campaign are finished, with the finalization of the agenda and speaker list confirmed.
All the information for the conference including the agenda and talk presentations can be found on the conference page.
We are having a table at the “Share The Road” event held at the University today. If you come and decide to join our campaign, there might be a little present in it for you, who knows.
Details from the organisers:
Share the Road Event – Thursday 1 October 11.30-2pm
Bring yourself and your bike along to the Guild Walk, University of Liverpool (between Peach Street car park and Mountford Hall)
- Get on an Arriva bus and see things from the driver’s perspective
- Have a free bike health check from our Dr Bikes
- Find out about citybike and our current student discount offers
- Pick up lots of freebies and information on road safety, bike security and cycling in Liverpool