Local Transport Plan Consultation
The final draft long term transport strategy and implementation plan for Leicestershire is now available for comment. The strategy looks at the challenges that Leicestershire may face to 2026 and how transport policy could help to address these.
The Plan consists of a long-term strategy and shorter-term implementation plan. The County Council would like as much feedback as possible and you have until 26 November to lodge your comments. A summary of the proposed plan can be viewed at: www.leics.gov.uk/current_LTP3_consultation
While cycling features, much is made of the concerns of the public about safety. Perhaps this is one area where the County could devote some resource to overcoming the false perception that cycling is particularly dangerous.
Also there appears to be no mention of working with the NHS with whom they should have a symbiotic relationship in that more cycling improves health and reduces the number of cars on the road, the need for new roads (plus wear and tear on existing ones) and atmospheric pollution together with CO2 emissions.
East Midlands Cyclists' Forum meeting
At the most recent meeting, hosted in Nottingham on Saturday 2nd October by Pedals, it was decided that the EMCF should continue through the current local government turmoil, both to share ideas and experience, and to make sure that we are all fully briefed so as to know how best to take advantage of the various opportunities afforded when new agencies (transport, health, etc.) do emerge, even if they have much more limited budgets for cycling. Some, such as the new business-led Local Enterprise Partnerships will only deal with parts of the present region, covering new boundaries that include some areas outside the present East Midlands.
There were 26 at the meeting and just over half stayed on for the afternoon ride, on The Big Track route, in lovely autumn sunshine, with plenty of refreshment and opportunities for further informal networking. Photos and the slides from the two main presentations can be found on the Pedals website. A third, shorter, presentation, was given by Joanna Ward, Project Director for Sustrans / Cycling England about the 'UCycle' Higher Education Project in Nottingham.
Andy Salkeld, Cycling Co-ordinator for Leicester City Council, has offered to host the next meeting in Leicester with a provisional date of Saturday 12 March 2011.
East Midland to set limit of 2 bicycles per train
It is reported (but not yet confirmed) that East Midlands Trains are planning on making it compulsory for cyclists to reserve their place on the train, ban bikes from the vestibule and (strictly) allow only two cycles per train.
Dave Holladay of Transport Management Solutions (who works with CTC on public transport issues) reacted with these comments:
How the apparent idea that bikes cannot be placed in any other location than the van space suggests that those making this proposal have failed to actually observe how the service has to operate at Loughborough, Long Eaton and I think a few other places.
In my book, bike spaces are like sleeper berths as a special facility - if a sleeper berth is available at the time of departure the train staff are aware that it is available for the remaining part of the route (no booking), and you can get a place on a first come first served basis. The same should apply to bike spaces.
For Mr Souter's other rail operation he sees the clear economic and self-interest gain in getting passengers with cycles using the trains. By converting both peak hour commuters and off-peak travellers to cyclists he overcomes a major problem and potentially massive costs, and revenue loss to the company, for the provision of car parks. On his other rail operation the fact that car parks were being filled by 07.30 meant that fewer people were coming in to use off-peak services and fill the empty seats because there is no parking.
Patrick Lingwood's review of Bedford Station is telling in this respect - just 19% of the passengers are delivered through the car parking facility but this requires a totally disproportionate claim on resources (money and space) to supply and maintain those parking spaces. Weighing up in land terms alone the picture emerged of being able to 'deliver 7 passengers by bike for every one delivered through car parking. With a multi-level parking space costing around £12,000-£15,000 to build and approaching £1000/year in running costs (lighting, CCTV, management) it becomes rather difficult to see how a car park actually manages to make a serious commercial proposition. NB the car parking capital costs are paid for either by the TOC (funded by the subsidy or reduced payments to DfT- ie public money) or Network Rail (public money) or local/national government direct funding (public money) Does anyone actually look at this as a value for (public) money exercise?
A refurbishment of the Meridian trains should :
- clear out the bay with the daft pigeon-holes over the bike space, remove the locked door and bulkhead and install the German-style Gamma securing units, which can be accessed directly through the single outer door, as dedicated and permanent bike space for bikes;
- install a bay of tip-up longitudinal seating in the opposite end to the toilets in each coach, with a wider access to the door vestibule to take the surge of passengers at station stops, store additional bikes/wheelchairs/luggage outside peak commuter times, and provide a bay for the catering service to operate from when the trolley cannot get through the train. This could provide a pilot/demonstration for flexible internal space design for the many routes where a long distance train has to deliver a commuter service at certain times of day.
Editor's note: the current storage system and lack of luggage capacity on trains serving 2 major airports means that passageways and vestibules are often blocked, and these would be the main escape routes in an emergency. Dave's suggestion would address this safety issue.
Sustrans Interactive Cycle Maps
Sustrans’ online mapping service aims to prove the information you need to help you travel on foot or by bicycle. It helps you find walking and cycling routes and information on public transport, as well as local schools, shops, sports facilities and other destinations.
The mapping service can also be used to find all routes of the National Cycle Network.
A report for market researchers Mintel “Bicycles in the UK 2010” reveals that regular cyclists – those who cycle at least once a week – are also disproportionately likely to read broadsheet newspapers, be well educated, have a household income of at least £50,000 per year and shop at Waitrose. They are also twice as likely to be men as women.
Bicycle sales are being driven by 35- to 45-year-old family men. Where this age group might once have treated themselves to a sports car – in an attempt to hang on to their youth – they now invest in a luxury bike instead. Alan Sugar is a case in point, showing off the full-carbon Pinarello machines he has bought for his many residences at a cost of many thousands of pounds each. Halfords has confirmed the trend - premium sales as a whole are up by around 54% in the past two years. However the Association of Cycle Traders says the “cycling boom” is confined to a few places, mainly London.
Just 12% of adults questioned said they cycled regularly, while 65% said they never rode a bike. One in seven (15%) said they were "lapsed cyclists" who had a bicycle which they no longer rode. The main reason given for not cycling was safety, with 39% of respondents saying it is too dangerous to ride a bicycle on the road. Ten percent viewed cyclists as "a nuisance". That increased to 14% among those who regarded cycling as too dangerous.
Roger Geffen for the CTC has pointed out that where cycling is perceived to be safe, as in the Netherlands and Denmark, where far more people cycle, 55% of all bike trips are made by women.
Tea and Cakes at Swithland in 2011
St. Leonard's Church Swithland will be open for "Tea and Cakes" on the second Saturday & Sunday of each month commencing in April 2011 through until September 2011 from 2pm until 4.30pm
Loughborough CTC Mince Pie Run
Loughborough CTC will be holding their traditional Mince Pie Run at Belton Village Hall on Sunday 19th December from 10am to 1pm. All cyclists welcome.