Category Archives: Cycle Routes

Death in the Afternoon

It is with the greatest sadness that we have to report the death of one cyclist and injuries to two more in the last two days. On Thursday evening a cyclist was hit by a driver on Fratton bridge roundabout and had to be airlifted to hospital in Southampton, where his condition is reported as ‘critical but stable’. Worse was to come on Friday, as two cyclists collided on the Eastern Road cycle path, apparently causing one to fall into the busy traffic where he lost his life and the other to fall into the hedge that narrows the path.

We have long campaigned for improvements to cycle safety in Portsmouth, but sadly our worst fears have come true. The sites of both accidents are well known problem sites and both have been discussed with officers at Portsmouth City Council, but sadly no meaningful action had been taken at either site to prevent the tragic events of the last two days.

The Eastern Road cycle path is one of the most important cycle routes in the city but it has a number of serious safety problems. In some stretches – including the area of Friday’s accident – it is too narrow for two cyclists to pass each other safely. This is compounded by a blind bend next to the entrance to the Harvester pub. This section of the route is shared use meaning it is intended to take both cyclists and pedestrians in both directions, yet it is too narrow in places even for pedestrians to pass each other comfortably. The high hedge on one side and fast traffic on the other mean there is no room for error at all.

There are parallels here with another important route in and out of the city, on Hope Street in the city centre. It is surely only a matter of time before a similar incident takes place there. As with the Eastern Road, the Hope Street path is narrow, carries two way cyclists and pedestrians, has an impenetrable barrier (the dockyard wall in this case) on one side, has fast traffic a kerb-width away on the other side, has a dangerous blind bend and is frequently obstructed by lamp columns and sign-posts.

We have been warning Portsmouth City Council about the state of the Eastern Rd and Hope Street paths since our Strategic Cycle Routes report of 2009. The part of the Eastern Road path where Friday’s tragic accident took place has been discussed with council officers this year, after members of the forum reported head on collisions and near misses with other cyclists there. The site is at the junction of two of the council’s recently launched ‘Quieter Routes’ which are supposed to offer safe routes to less confident cyclists.

The accident on Thursday took place on Fratton bridge roundabout, where the cyclist was hit by a car entering the roundabout. This roundabout has four two-lane entry points, the design creates a high traffic density, with vans and lorries creating multiple blind spots. In such situations drivers looking right for gaps in fast-moving motor traffic then accelerating onto the roundabout find it easy to miss cyclists ahead, the cyclist remaining unseen until impact. On a roundabout like this serious collisions are a certainty, it’s just a question of when and how often.

PCC has worked on Fratton bridge roundabout recently but no change was made to the dangerous layout, which was highlighted by us in 2014. The roundabout lacks safe, attractive alternative routes for cyclists in all directions, meaning that in some cases cyclists are forced to use the main carriageway. This roundabout is also on one of the new ‘Quieter Routes’, although that route uses the toucan crossing that exists on the northern leg of the roundabout.

These two incidents indicate the hazards cyclists can face on the roads of Portsmouth. The weather on both evenings was perfect and all three cyclists caught up in the horrible events should have been able to expect a pleasant and safe journey.

Portsmouth remains the most dangerous place to cycle in England, excepting a few parts of London. This has been the case for the last five years at least but there has been little meaningful action from Portsmouth City Council, in spite of our efforts. There has been almost no investment in safe cycle infrastructure, with the budget the council had being spent on ‘soft measures’ (meaning activities and events to encourage people to cycle) and signage. It is time for that to change. Urgently.

A welcome to 2017

A happy new year to our members and subscribers. So what will 2017 bring the cyclists of Portsmouth?

As a result of winning some Government funding, the new Quiet Routes that PCC have been working on since last summer should soon be released.  PCC hope that by identifying 20mph roads, a network of routes can be created that are quieter and safer for those less confident cyclists to travel around the city.  This is a welcome initiative assuming that the routes are advertised and easy to follow once on your bike.

In conjunction with this work, an audit of all the cycling infrastructure routes and facilities has been undertaken by PCC, identifying the existing lanes, paths and parking that exist in the city.  This information – together with the quiet routes initiative – will form the basis for a new Cycling map for Portsmouth.  We will be studying this in great detail to identify the gaps in provision and work to improve areas that we believe do not serve cyclists to the extent that they should.

To that end, three of our committee members are attending the Cycling UK workshop day in London in late January to learn more about the computerized cycling tools that were demonstrated to us by Roger Geffen at our open meeting in November.  Our intention is to ask our paid-up members at our AGM in March to then identify areas in Portsmouth that can be targeted for future development.

However, most of the traffic congestion is down to the sheer numbers of vehicles on the road. To make a real improvement in congestion, pollution and journey times for everyone, the city needs to get people out of their cars, and reduce the barriers that stop people using a bike to travel around.

We need to identify and push to develop the routes that commuters might like to use.  Ideally, these should be fast, consistent, road-quality cycle lanes that are segregated from both road traffic and pedestrians with priority boxes at junctions and specific phasing on the traffic light system to aid safe resumption of one’s journey. The new lane is Goldsmiths Avenue appears to already have made a difference to traffic flows in the area for both vehicles and bikes.  There’s no reason why having set a precedent there that other roads that have double yellow lining should not also be similarly marked with cycle lanes.

Copnor Road has space at the northern end to install segregated cycle lanes similar to those created recently in Brighton.  With some extra shared path they could link up to the pedestrian bridge across the A27 into the Highbury estate and onto Cosham, encouraging those to the north of the city to cycle to work in the way that the Southampton Road and Langstone Harbour paths do from the west and east.

The perception of cycling in Portsmouth is that it is dangerous, and the official figures only back this up this impression.  For the fourth year in the last five, Portsmouth ranks as the most dangerous city in the UK for cycling casualties. Ours is twice the rate of the London Borough of Waltham Forest, which has a similar population density to Portsmouth. Islington has a population density three times that of Portsmouth, and yet the cycle casualty rate is slightly lower.

The improvements in London with the installation of cycle lanes and mini-Holland schemes, the latest of which recently opened just the other end of the A3 in Portsmouth Road, Kingston-Upon Thames, proves that if the infrastructure is invested in, it is used and improves participation.  A year on from its opening, and Waltham Forest’s much opposed mini-Holland scheme has seen traffic levels in 12 key roads in the “village” area of Walthamstow fall by 56 per cent, or 10,000 fewer vehicles a day.  The most vocal business owner opponent of the scheme, has now opened up a coffee shop in his building.

These improvements are within the scope of Portsmouth City Council.  However, as the cycling community, we need to build the pressure to improve things in our favour.  Imagine Mini-Holland schemes during business hours around Cosham High Street, Albert Road or Palmerston Road – the latterly is effectively already installed – making the areas more pleasant to negotiate whether on foot, public transport or bike.

The re-development of the island’s flood defences over the next decade gives us the opportunity to create a true coastline leisure cycle trail to allow exploration of areas visitors may never discover.

Work on the western side next to Hilsea Lake from the Mounbatten Centre to Portsbridge Roundabout will start this spring, necessitating the closure of the much-used shared coastal path.  Work is due to take three years, and there are plans to install a temporary cycle lane along Northern Parade.  We are asking the council whether they are aware just how well used that path is.  Not everyone will be confident enough to rode on a busy road, and so this appears to be an ideal opportunity to trial a segregated route on what is one of the wider roads on the island. And if it proves to be popular, why should it not remain installed after the work adding to the cycle infrastructure in the city?

With no local elections in the city due in 2017, the pull of the ballot box to appeal to voters has disappeared and some experimental schemes could be trialed, monitored and evaluated to see whether they work. Who knows, perhaps they may even lead to a reduction in the casualty figures?

But we can only do so much as a committee of volunteers.  As much as we lobby, badger, cajole and complain at councilors and officers, we need help to keep the issues at the forefront of their minds in every transport and planning decision they take.

And it is with the creation of that bigger voice where you, the regular cyclist comes in.  We need your support.  We’d like you engaged in the process.

Bring to the attention of the council officers poor road surfaces or junctions that endanger cyclists.  Enlist the support and lobby your ward councilors directly to improve our facilities and infrastructure.

In the event of an accident, ensure it is reported to the police, as official casualty figures are an important way to maintain the pressure on the local politicians to develop space for cycling.

Encourage the next generation getting on their bikes wanting to emulate Mark Cavendish or Lizzie Armitstead to use the roads safely and confidently, to be seen, and to respect other road users and pedestrians.

And please consider supporting or becoming a member of Portsmouth Cycle Forum.

I look forward to seeing you at one, or more, of our 2017 events or out on the road enjoying the freedom cycling can give you.

Tailwinds to all….

 

Ian Saunders

Acting Chair, PCF

January 2017

October 2016 – what a month!

Our interim Chair, Ian Saunders writes: as October comes to a close, it’s been quite a month for the cyclist in Portsmouth.

On the positive side of the equation we had a successful Pedal Portsmouth Glow ride last weekend on the closed roads along the seafront while the Great South Run was using the space. The Petersfield to Queen Elizabeth Country Park cycle track has finally been completed, and Ned Boulting’s one man show ‘Bikeology’ came to the New Theatre Royal to discover his thoughts on cycling culture and cyclists and experiences of the Tour De France over the last 15 years he has worked on it.

There has also been some new infrastructure ‘installed’ along the east bound Havant Road, although depending on who you speak to and their previous experiences, the addition of paint is either a positive or a negative in terms of giving space and creating awareness of cycling. And that’s just the cyclists!

However it is all overshadowed by the release of the cycling casualty figures for the UK, and Portsmouth’s place at the top of table of the worst cities to for cycle safety. Jon Spencer has outlined the salient points on our website here and although the figure of 888 per million of population is down from 2014, it is not coming down fast enough. Therefore we are now writing all PCC councilors and the city’s MPs to get them to commit to halving the accident rate by 2020 as was outlined in our City to Share strategy presented to them two years ago.

Amongst the recent news stories about cycle casualties, traffic congestion, and new infrastructure being planned and installed, we’ve seen comments from the Council Leader and her head of Traffic and transport, but not the cabinet post holder for the department. Six months into his tenure, we are yet to hear publically of Councillor Fleming’s plans on how to combat congestion and pollution in the city, other than increasing the fees for the third parking permit at an address.

A good place to start might be our next Open Meeting on Thursday 17th November, and he would also be able to hear Cycling UK’s Campaigns and Policy Director Roger Geffen MBE talk about the second phase of their national Space for Cycling Campaign which will call on councils to commit to planning high-quality cycle networks, and to finding the funding these will require. Perhaps then we can start to reduce the unnecessary accidents on our roads.

And related to that final point, the clocks go back this weekend (October 29th), so the mornings and evenings will be darker and he days will (probably) be duller and greyer as we arrive in winter. Please ensure that you use your lights while cycling and ensure you are seen.

New ALDI store to narrow Southampton Road Cycle Route

Aldi's new Paulsgrove store

 

Low-cost suopermarket chain, ALDI, received has permission from Portsmouth City Council for a new shop on Southampton Road, Paulsgrove next to Racecourse Lane.

At the planning committee meeting on 3 February, councillors agreed to the construction of an 1800sqm store with 113 car parking spaces.

Both Portsmouth Cycle Forum and Sustrans representatives made deputations to the meeting since the store will affect the cycle paths on both sides of Southampton Road. The north side path will be interrupted by a 15 metre wide vehicle entry and exit whilst that on the southern side, which is part of NCN route 236, will be narrowed to accommodate road widening for a new traffic light controlled junction.

The Cycle Forum has been critical of the access for pedestrians and cyclists onto the site and for the minimal amount of cycle parking. We were unhappy that the plans show little encouragement for staff to cycle to work since there was no evidence of secure cycle parking, showers or changing rooms.

Portsmouth Cycle Forum’s vice-chairman, John Holland said, “We have no problem with Aldi bringing a new store to this location but we do expect the well-designed facilities to encourage people to travel by sustainable means. Shoving a handful of cycle stands in an out the way location and degrading existing cycle paths is not the answer.”

Following the meeting, John Holland and Roger Inkpen met the applicant’s planning consultant, Dan Templeton of Planning Potential and Aldi property director Phillip Warner to discuss the plans. There is room for negotiation on many issues and the final provision for pedestrians, cyclists and others will be agreed with Portsmouth City Council under Section 278 and 106 agreements.

Southsea Seafront Cycle Lane Safety

The seafront cycle lane in Southsea that runs from South Parade along to Henderson Road  has come in for some criticism recently after a pedestrian fell over a kerb which separates the parked cars from the cycle lane.  

Portsmouth Cycle Forum regret this incident and wish Roger Homer a speedy recovery from his injuries. We do feel, however, that his request for the islands to be removed would be an ineffective use of public money that would not utilise the best return for the taxpayer.

We would like to see improvements made in other areas of the city where cycling collisions are much more frequent, these need to be urgently addressed before a fatality occurs. The recent publication of the DfT statistics, showing that the accident rate in Portsmouth has worsened since last year, proves that the city has roads which need drastic improvement.

Crashmap shows that the junction at Albert Road, B2154 and Victoria Road,  B2151, had two serious crashes involving people who cycle last year. Albert Road had 6 bicycle-vehicle collisions with 3 serious and 3 slight injuries last year. St George’s Road at the entrance to Gunwharf Quays had 4 bicycle-vehicle collisions, 2 serious and 2 slight injuries last year.

These, along with other cycle crash hot spots, being altered would be of far more benefit to Portsmouth than of using the money to remove the seafront islands. The cost to the taxpayer of the injuries sustained in these crashes are on average £235,791 for serious injuries and £24,887 for slight injuries (ref). The costs of the incidents described above can be estimated at just over £1.3 million pounds. This would likely have covered the costs of the required junction improvements several times over. 

The function of the “islands” on the seafront cycle route is to protect the people using the cycle lane from opening car doors.  If the islands were removed then it’s likely we would see an increase in cars parking closer to the cycle lane as there would be no physical barrier. Motor vehicle doors opening into the cycle path would cause a huge hazard and lead to increased, not a reduction, in injuries, which nobody wants.

Mile End Road bus lane removal – An alternative solution

Mile End Road approach to Church Street roundaboutAt the Special Traffic and Transportation Decision Meeting on 13 March the Leader of Portsmouth City Council, Councillor Donna Jones, decided that the section of the southbound bus lane on Mile End Road between Haversham Road and Church Street should be removed and the space given to general traffic.

Cllr Jones proposed this as a solution to the problem of peak hour queuing traffic on the M275 which has increased at the location since the opening of the Park and Ride in 2014.

Portsmouth Cycle Forum would like to propose an alternative solution which would ease the problems of merging traffic and which would see the retention of the bus lane.

History

The Mile End Road southbound bus lane extends southwards from Rudmore roundabout and it has been in existence for many years. Archive satellite images from Google Earth show the bus lane to be in place in 1999.

In 2014, extensive changes were made to the road markings on southbound carriageway of the Mile End Road to coincide with the opening of the Park and Ride at Tipner. One of the measures was to force all traffic travelling from Rudmore Roundabout to merge with the inside lane of traffic arriving from the M275. It is this location which is the root of the traffic queues as a traffic lane had been removed. Previously the Rudmore traffic could proceed to the Church Street roundabout without merging.

The reason for the change was the conversion of the inside southbound lane of Commercial Road to a bus lane reducing the number of traffic lanes there from 3 to 2. PCC traffic engineers concluded that the number of traffic lanes for traffic travelling straight ahead at Church Street roundabout should be reduced accordingly on safety grounds.

Current arrangement

The Mile End Road approach to before Church Street roundabout has 4 traffic lanes.

  • Lane 1: (the inside lane) is for traffic turning left onto Church Street
  • Lane 2: is for traffic proceeding to Commercial Road
  • Lane 3: is for traffic proceeding to Commercial Road
  • Lane 4: is for traffic performing a right turn to travel north along Mile End Road.

Note that lane 1 is a continuation of the bus lane which stops short of the roundabout.

Alternative Proposal

The alternative proposal would once again permit traffic from Rudmore Roundabout to reach Church Street roundabout without needed in merge into the lanes arriving from the M275 and would retain the bus lane. It would be achieved as follows:

  • Lane 1: extend the bus and cycle lane right up to traffic lights, with solid white line.
  • Amend the traffic lights so that there is separate phase for lane 1 (the bus lane). When at green the lights on the other lanes would show red thus giving buses priority yet preventing conflict traffic turning left onto Church Street and buses proceeding straight ahead. The bus lane lights would be activated by approaching buses.
  • Lane 2: designate for other traffic turning left into Church Street.
  • Lane 3: designate for straight ahead traffic.
  • Lane 4: designate for straight ahead and right turning traffic

We accept that this solution will be more expensive than the simple but destructive removal of a section of the bus lane as it involves changes to the traffic lights but the advantages are clear. We ask that it or similar arrangement should be implemented.

Mile End Bus Lane Decision

Mile End Bus Lane
Mile End Bus Lane

Today at the Traffic & Transportation Cabinet Meeting Cllr Ken Ellcome decided to marginally shorten the Mile End bus lane. The recommendation from officers was to maintain the lane as is, but there was an alternative proposal to drastically shorten the lane.

Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats asked for the lane to be left as is, and three deputations – one by First Bus, one by Portsmouth Cycle Forum and one by a private citizen – also spoke against shortening the lane. Despite the recent clamour in the letters page of the local press nobody spoke in favour of shortening the lane.

Despite all of this Cllr Ellcome decided to shorten the bus lane by about 15 metres, as he felt that this would make it easier for traffic turning left from Mile End Rd into Church Street. In many ways this is a puzzling decision. It will make little pragmatic difference to traffic flow and will almost certainly not satisfy those who have been complaining about the road layout in so vociferously in the local news.

What it does do is symbolic. A cut is a cut and this reduces, even if only marginally, the sustainable transport infrastructure in the city. It will do nothing to encourage the modal shift away from the private car that the city so desperately needs. This will make matters marginally worse for cyclists by increasing the gap between the bus lane on Mile End Rd and that on the Church Street Roundabout. We predict it will have no net effect on the traffic congestion.

It is disappointing that Cllr Ellcome decided to over-rule the professional advice of his officers, the wishes of all three deputees and the opinions of the parties who between them represented a majority of councillors. The change is not positive, but perhaps it is significantly less negative than we’d feared.

The future of Southsea’s coast – consultation

Storm tide in SouthseaA CITY TO SHARE includes accessibility for all to our coast and heritage. The proposed new flood defences for Southsea seafront present a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to complete a missing section of the seafront cycle.

Do you want a cycle route along the seafront between the two piers so that you and your family can cycle without fear of being squeezed or reversed into? The consultation has a question on cycling so it’s important to respond.

See the link for details of the consultation roadshows or study the plans online. Don’t forget to fill in the feedback form to answer that knotty question!

The consultation closes on 29 December 2014.

www.escp.org.uk/…/future-southseas-coast-consultation

Biking is better for you and better for us

Cycle Commuting in Copenhagen
Cycle Commuting in Copenhagen

It’s often said that Portsmouth is the ideal cycling city being flat, compact and temperate. We spend a lot of time tackling the issues that may stop people from getting their bikes out – mainly the fear of traffic and the fear of bicycle theft. It’s worth remembering that despite all this the benefits of cycling far outweigh the hazards.

The BBC is reporting today that researchers fro the University of East Anglia have found that active commuters, like cyclists, felt better able to concentrate and under less strain than when travelling by car. The study took place over ten years and drew on data from 18,000 commuters.

Those who had an active commute were found to have a higher level of wellbeing than those who went by car or public transport. The physical health benefits of cycling are already well known and this study reinforces the idea that there are positive psychological effects too. When researchers analysed the wellbeing of a small group who swapped the car or bus for a bike or going on foot, they found they became happier after the switch.

In Portsmouth there is a huge and growing public health problem. Obesity rates and consequential diseases are on the rise. Long term health problems from air pollution are growing – and research from King’s College, London shows that pollution levels are highest inside vehicles.

So come on Pompey. It’s time to get on your bikes to beat the bulge and beat the blues. Cycling will make you healthier and happier and the whole city cleaner and and better to live in. What’s to stop you?

Portsmouth still has worst Cyclist Casualty Rate outside of London

Cyclist & HGV collision Hilsea May 2011
Cyclist & HGV collision Hilsea May 2011

For the second year running Portsmouth is the most dangerous place in England outside of London. Government statistics show that Portsmouth suffered 832 cyclist casualties per million population in 2012.

This is despite a very welcome improvement from the terrible figure of 983 per million, in 2011.

On Portsmouth’s roads, over the last 5 years, 157 cyclists have been killed or severely injured. When you include pedestrian road casualties, 318 vulnerable road users (VRU) were killed or severely injured, with a total 1,408 casualties.

And 316 of these were children under 16 – making up nearly a quarter of VRU casualties in Portsmouth.

PCC’s own surveys in schools and workplaces, said:

‘ the main barriers to cycling are concerns about the volume and speed of traffic, personal safety, lack of continuous cycle lanes or safe cycle routes, …’

and:

‘there is an issue around volume of traffic and the behaviour of a proportion of drivers in the city, and this can often make people feel vulnerable and lacking in the confidence to ride on the roads.’

and:

‘It is mainly women who say that lack of confidence on the roads is a major reason why they don’t cycle/cycle more’.

One example of this was Lynne Stagg, Lord Mayor and formerly Cabinet Member for Traffic and Transportation, who said in 2010: “I don’t cycle any more. The roads aren’t safe.”

Graph of total cycling casualties by year in Portsmouth
Total cycling casualties by year in Portsmouth

In Portsmouth, with the worst cycling casualty figures outside London and a widespread fear of cycling for safety reasons, fewer than 5% cycle to work – unchanged for a decade.

In Copenhagen, which prioritises works to make cyclists safe, 36% commuted by bike, including children travelling to school.

Where do accidents happen?

DfT’s figures show that cyclists are four times more likely to be casualties on Urban A roads than on Urban Other roads.

This is due to the lethal effect of the higher speed on A roads, creating a toxic mix of two-way motor traffic, cyclists and pedestrians – including, of course, children and the elderly.

Then add in parked cars, bus stops, multiple side roads, major junctions, rush hours and the dropping off and picking up of children at school – all on Portsmouth’s narrow and congested streets.

Portsmouth’s road accident figures show this is a recipe for mayhem and it’s the vulnerable road users who are paying the price – with terrible consequences for families, friends and colleagues – years after the initial accident.

What can be done?

Last year, when the 2011 figures came out, a PCC spokesperson said:

‘…we are the most densely-populated area outside central London. As cyclists are more likely to have accidents on busy urban streets, this might also have an impact on our figures.’

Portsmouth Cycle Forum says this is no excuse. For safety, the Department for Transport (DfT) recommends applying a user hierarchy to the road design process with pedestrians at the top.

Clearly, vulnerable road users need protection from the lethal speed and weight of cars, vans, buses and lorries, often passing them just a hair’s breadth away.

One distraction; an unexpected event, and a cyclist or pedestrian is put at risk – we’ve all seen it happen, day after day.

When they are protected – as Copenhagen shows – many more people choose to walk and cycle and accident rates plummet.

The bottom line is that sections of Portsmouth’s A road network are just too narrow to safely accommodate the volume and mix of today’s traffic. A change must be made if we are to stop these casualties.

In A Cycling Strategy for Portsmouth: Draft for Consultation, in 2009, PCC endorsed the DfT road user hierarchy approach, giving priority to pedestrians and cyclists.

Isn’t it about time this was put into practice on Portsmouth’s Urban A roads – to stop us having the worst casualty rate outside London for another year?

City Centre Road Development

View of Hope Street - Flathouse Road

Portsmouth City Council is planning changes to the city centre roads and a planning application will be submitted in early 2014. The area concerned is bounded by Marketway, Hope Street and Commercial Road. The purpose of the scheme is to ensure that the road network will cope efficiently with the future development and growth of the locality and the city. The city centre cycle route network and pedestrian crossing points will be significantly affected by the changes – it’s up to us to make sure that those changes are for the better.

There is a leaflet which explains the proposals and at the time of writing this was not available on the PCC Web site so we’ve made it available for you to download.

There will be a public exhibition in a Portakabin on the Marketway car park at the following times:

  • Thursday 24 October 9am – 8pm
  • Friday 25 October 9am – 4pm
  • Saturday 26 October 9am – 4pm

Portsmouth Cycle Forum has already had two meetings with the Portsmouth City Council team behind these plans.  They have been extremely proactive in engaging with us – an approach which we have found very refreshing. However, our conclusion on the current plans is that they are still very much centred on the private motor car.  Cycling, and indeed other sustainable transport modes, come out very much second best. You can read our initial response to the design here – note that this is limited to the specific concerns and issues discussed in the meeting.   PCF will submit a full response to the consultation.

Don’t miss this opportunity to understand and comment on the proposals. Once implemented, this road system will be in place for 30 years or more, and it will be exceedingly difficult to change. It’s vital that officers and politicians hear as many voices asking for better cycling provision as possible. If you can’t make it to the consultation sessions then you can respond by email, by post or by phone. Details are in the pamphlet linked above.

Get Britain Cycling

Get Britain Cycling Summary & Recommendations
Get Britain Cycling Summary & Recommendations

The All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) released their Get Britain Cycling report today.  The report follows a six-week long inquiry hosted by the APPCG at the Palace of Westminster earlier this year calls for 10% of all journeys in Britain to be made by bike by 2025.  Some of the headline recommendations made to enable this goal include:

  • More of the transport budget should be spent on supporting cycling, at a rate initially set to at least £10 per person per year, and increasing as cycling levels increase
  • Cycling should be considered at an earlier stage in all planning decisions, whether transport schemes or new houses or businesses
  • More use should be made of segregated cycle lanes, learning from the Dutch experience
  • Urban speed limits should generally be reduced to 20 mph
  • Just as children learn to swim at school they should learn to ride a bike
  • The Government should produce a detailed cross-departmental Cycling Action Plan, with annual progress reports.

The summary and recommendations of the report can be read here: Get Britain Cycling Summary & Recommendations.

If you’d like to see the recommendations of this report implemented then a good first step would be to fill in the e-petition on the Number 10 website:

Promote cycling by implementing the recommendations in the ‘Get Britain Cycling’ report.

A short journey

Former world and Olympic champion and Tour de France maillot jaune Chris Boardman has produced a short film for British Cycling that poses the question, Who Are Cycle Lanes For? The film has been released ahead of his appearance on Wednesday before the ‘Get Britain Cycling’ Parliamentary Inquiry, the fourth of six sessions and focusing in part on how to turn Britain’s sporting success into getting more people riding bikes (with thanks to road.cc).

http://vimeo.com/59477119

The video makes a great job of showing the inadequate and poorly thought out infrastructure cyclists are presented with.  Now we need to get some of the decision makers to watch …

Shipwright’s Way Walking and Cycling Route Consultation

Map of the proposed route for the Shipwright's Way in SouthseaThe Shipwright’s Way is a new 60-mile leisure path starting at Alice Holt Forest near Farnham and ending at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, home of the Mary Rose, HMS Warrior and HMS Victory. The name reflects the journey of oak grown at Alice Holt to dockyards such as Portsmouth for medieval shipbuilding.

The route enters the City of Portsmouth via the Ferry from Hayling Island at Eastney. From there it follows the Ferry Road, Fort Cumberland Road and Melville Road to the seafront cycle route, ending at South Parade Pier.

Portsmouth City Council is consulting on the  section of the route linking South Parade Pier with Pembroke Road in Old Portsmouth; most of this is already in place as a walking/cycling route.

Portsmouth Cycle Forum welcomes this initiative and supports the proposals although it is with regret that the designers have not been able to route  it along Clarence Esplanade, the seafront road.

Please take a look at the plans which are available to view at the PCC Web Site. There will be a drop-in meeting the Civic Offices, Guildhall Square, PO1 2NE on Thursday 2 August between 2pm and 7pm (Meeting room A on the second floor). The consultation runs until 7 September.

For information about the complete route see the Hampshire County Council web site.

 

 

Butser Cutting Cycle Route

The unused old A3
The unused old A3

In the early 1990s the A3 road north from the A3(M) was replaced by a dual carriageway that, for the vast majority of cyclists, does not offer an acceptable safety level. The Highways Agency built cycle tracks alongside the A3, south from Queen Elizabeth Country Park to North Horndean and from Petersfield to Liphook.

The critical section for cyclists, through the Butser Cutting, was left without cycle provision with the loss of the primary cycling route across Hampshire’s South Downs. Over 10 years of campaigning by a large number of cyclists has so far failed to get this unacceptable road design rectified.

However, At a recent meeting with Hampshire County Council staff the Highways Agency agreed to reconsider their objection to a cycle track alongside the dual carriageway, in the Butser Cutting, between the south end of the unused Old A3 and the QE Park entrance. This link would allow the reinstatement of a primary north south cycling route through the South Downs using the now unused Old A3.

The Highway Agency’s more relaxed interpretation of the technical criteria suggests that this is the right time to increase pressure for the reinstatement of the cycle route. The initial action is for a cyclists’ petition that you are invited to support.

Please take the time to support this petition which aims to:

  • Maximise the number of cyclists who can cycle across the Hampshire Downs;
  • Enable cycle commuting between the Waterlooville/ Horndean area and Petersfield;
  • Enable cycle access from south of the Downs to Petersfield Railway Station;
  • Improve cycling access from the north onto Butser Hill and into the Queen Elizabeth Forest and the wider South Downs National Park;
  • Improve the safety of those who already cycle along the A3 route;
  • Increase the level of cycling by making additional cycle routes accessible.

Support the petition online here.

Support for two-way cycling in Charlotte Street

No Entry Except CyclesCabinet member for Traffic and Transportation, Cllr Jason Fazackarley, gave his support of two-way cycling in Charlotte Street, Landport at his decision meeting on 19 January.

The comment was made in response to a deputation from Portsmouth Cycle Forum where the experimental traffic regulation order changing the direction of traffic on this one-way street was made permanent.

Senior Traffic Engineer, Barry Rawlings, advised that a study should be carried out to ensure that two-way cycling would be safe. He said that the road is narrower than most roads in the city where two-way cycling is currently permitted.

Cycle Forum Chairman, John Holland said, “We welcome the decision to consider two-way cycling in Charlotte Street. The road could form part of a vital east-west link for cyclists linking the city centre with Unicorn Gate and routes to Gunwharf Quays. Whilst we acknowledge that the road is narrow, parking is not permitted anywhere along its length. The available carriageway width is no different from most other one-way streets in Portsmouth with two-way cycling where vehicles are parked on both sides of the road.”

Cllr Fazackarley invited members of the Forum to participate in the study which will include a site meeting.

It is the City Council’s policy that two-way cycling should be established on one-way streets where it is safe and sensible to do so. Several one-way roads within the city now have two-way cycling and all have 20mph speed limits in force. A recent Government decision has relaxed the rules on signage for permitting two-way cycling.

 

James Callaghan Drive – we’ve invited Councillors and MPs to take a look on 25th November

view west along james callaghan driveYou would be forgiven for not immediately recognising the name of James Callaghan Drive, but many of you may have tried to walk or ride along Portsdown Hill Road. As you travel west the hill road changes into James Callaghan Drive and it is one of the scariest roads to ride along in Portsmouth. On the south side you have a Site of Special Scientific Interest and on the north side, old forts and farmer’s fields. Its almost in the countryside – birds are singing – grass, wildlife, trees and flowers are all around you.  Sounds like a lovely place to take the family for a picnic?

Wrong, it is used as an alternative route by people in rapid and often large vehicles that wish to get between Havant and Fareham but would rather not use the Southampton Road or the motorway. The speed limit is 40mph but often people are doing more than that! A vehicle passing you at 40mph is really very frightening especially on an extremely narrow road with no footway at all when you are on a bike, walking or riding a pony or horse. This is especially true if the road is less that 5 m wide for two-way traffic and has bends and undulations that mean the vehicle approaching at speed from the rear cannot see what is coming towards it on the other side.portsdown hill road

The result is that if you are trying to use the road and you aren’t in a vehicle you may have a hair raising time of it with lorries cutting you up, cars swerving towards you to avoid a collision with an on coming vehicle or simply a very impatient person behind you just waiting to take a chance with your life to get passed.

So just imagine you have a disability of any kind and then imagine you want to enjoy the gorgeous countryside on Portsdown Hill and look out over the fabulous views along the hill road, you would not have any opportunity to do so.  Just imagine you have a family and you and an elderly relative want to go out to the countryside and have a nice walk or ride along the hill.  Or maybe you work on the hill and don’t want to take a car or you want to visit some of the interesting places on the hill like the Peter Ashley Centre, the Equestrian Centre or the forts. You’ll have negotiate the busy road first, then make your way along the narrow and lumpy verge, if there is one, trying not to trip into the road. This is not for the faint hearted!

However, all of this could be changed and the area opened up to many more visitors and families if a simple amendment was made….. create a multi-user hard wearing path on the northern side of the road that bikes, walkers, the disabled and horses can all use easily, like the billy trail, made of compacted gravel maybe. There must be a material that would be suitable for all to use?

portsdown hillThen we can promote this as somewhere that visitors and residents can go to have a family day out, portsdown hillenjoy the view, walk or ride along the hill looking out over Portsmouth or the fields and the downs in the distance the other way. This simple solution is better value for money and more beneficial to all types of road users, especially the vulnerable ones, than the majority of the projects funded last year by the council.

second view of JCD

We are inviting all ward Councillors and MPs to come and meet us there on 25th November at 8.30 am  (although the traffic is fairly non-stop all day) to judge for themselves and formulate their own opinions on what it is like along this road if you aren’t ‘protected’ by a metal casing. Come along too and support us, or just express you point of view. If you can’t make it write a quick email to your councillor and MP

 

NYC Bike Lanes

A video posted to YouTube by a New York City cyclist fined for not riding in the bike lane provide some laughs as he uses slapstick humour to reinforce the point he made to the NYPD officer ticketing him that the bike lane isn’t always the safest place to be.  Not that the officer was having any of it – he went ahead and issued the summons, telling the cyclist, Casey Neistat, that he faced a fine of anywhere between $10 and $130, despite the rider pointing out that the driver of a nearby vehicle parked in a bus lane wasn’t being given similar treatment.

As it turned out, he was fined $50 despite the minor detail that not riding in a bike lane isn’t actually against the law in the first place. You can see why there’s often tension between New York’s finest and the city’s cyclists.

With thanks to Road.cc.

Velo-City 2011

Commuting in Seville
Commuting in Seville


Novel Toucan in Seville
Novel Toucan in Seville

I was lucky enough to attend the recent Velo-City conference in Seville. Velo-City the major international cycling planning conference series in the world and seeks to encourage cycling as a part of daily transport and recreation. It is organised by the European Cycling Federation but is attended by delegates from all continents. The conference is hosted by a different city each year, with the host city decided by a highly competitive bidding process. As a little englander attending velo-city brings a shock of realisation at just how seriously cycling is taken in Europe. The conference is not held in a dingy Travelodge equivalent but in the best conference centre in the city and heavily subsidised by the host city. The hosts consider the long-term benefits of creating such a focus on their use of the bicycle to far outweigh the costs.

This year’s host, Seville, has undergone a remarkable change in recent years. Only 5 years ago Seville was gridlocked and the car was the preeminent form of transport for Sevillans – the modal share for cycling was only 0.2%. Since then a transformational set of transport policies has changed this – cycling now has a modal share of 6.6%. Now about 70,000 people commute by bike each day, which is double the number that use the city’s metro system at only one twentieth of the cost. Many experts would consider 20 years to be a reasonable timescale for such change – Seville has proved that much more ambitious schemes are possible.

To do this Seville has built an extensive – although not yet perfect – network of cycle lanes and a bike hire scheme with 2000 bicycles at 250 locations. The cycle infrastructure follows the main transport desire lines of the city rather than just being put into odd places where there is leftover space anyway. Seville has eschewed the easy options and created a really good cycle network in a very short time.

One interesting feature of the road network in Seville was their equivalent to our Toucan crossings. These crossings give a countdown to cyclists and pedestrians to let you know how long there is to wait and then countdown on green, so you know how long you have to live. These junctions didn’t need a button to be pressed, they assume there will be cycle and pedestrian traffic just as the presence of motor traffic is automatically assumed. I observed that at least one of these junctions gives exactly the same allocation of time to cyclists and pedestrians as it does to motorists – turns of about 50 seconds each. Now wouldn’t that be a great thing to include in a review of the traffic light controlled junctions in Portsmouth?

I was attending the Velo-City conference as an exhibitor which means I didn’t get to attend any presentations but I did still pick up a wealth of useful information. I will be writing it all up in a series of articles here on Pompeybug over the next few weeks. Stay tuned.

More information on Velo-City is at:

http://www.velo-city2011.com/eng/inicio.php

and

http://www.ecf.com/3597_1