The Cheltenham & Tewkesbury Cycling Committee met via Zoom on 16 January. This was a short catchup meeting, and due to unexpected absence was not quorate so formal items were deferred to February.
Cheltenham Cycle Hub and Parking
Cheltenham Borough Council have successfully bid for money to develop a more secure cycle hub in the centre of Cheltenham. A member of the committee had met with the team, and we have highlighted principles and guidance to ensure there is sufficient space, security and access.
We’re also considering any additional thought we can offer to the council on identifying a location that will be most successful, within the financial constraints of the project.
A consultation is now live on how local citizens might want to use the facility, so do respond to this.
Road Safety Policy
We previously responded to Gloucestershire County Council’s Road Safety Policy and Vision Zero declaration. The county cabinet has now published the final strategy which will be taken to council next month.
We were disappointed to see that the public consultation report only included numerical approval data, rather than any insight from text responses provided by organisations and members of the public.
On review, the only change we can identify is a reduction in the number of roads considered for speed limit changes, and additional steps required to implement 20mph zones.
The committee restated its concern that the proposed measures are unlikely to reverse the upward trend in road violence and casualties within Gloucestershire.
Golden Valley consultation
The first part of the new Golden Valley development, being promoted by HBD X Factory, has now been shared for early public consultation. Initial public engagement events are organised, with plans available soon at https://www.goldenvalleyuk.com/.
The proposals include a new north/south cycle route to the west of GCHQ, and we will see what opportunity there is for input on this, as well as the quality of the local streets being proposed.
Construction work continues along the Cheltenham to Gloucester cycle route. The section from Arle Court to the M5 overbridge is now open, although we are hearing mixed feedback on the quality of the green, paint-like surface that has been used on the western end of this section.
Campaign members are in touch with the council about the issues, but do get in touch, particularly if you encounter wheel traction or water pooling issues.
We have not received any engagement following the submission of our feedback and alternative proposal for the Longlevens section.
Many residents will be familiar with the adverse publicity around the roadworks associated with the construction around Bamfurlong Lane, exacerbated by the ongoing Bamfurlong Lane M5 overbridge total closure. Double mini-roundabouts are being used to maintain traffic speed in place of lights, and we are eager to hear how these are impacting cycle users.
Overnight closures are being undertaken, with no publicised alternative provision for local cycle users (the diversion being along the A40 dual carriageway). Please ensure you have signed up to the B4063 newsletter if this is your route so you are notified of closures.
Finally, we are also beginning to hear of cycle users choosing to remain on the carriageway being verbally challenged or subjected to intimidating driving behaviour along this section. We continue to support those cycle users choosing to cycle with the flow of traffic, and would be interested to hear from you if you’ve been affected by this so we can gauge the level of the issue.
Cheltenham Spa Station
Nearly a year has now passed since the campaign agreed a compromise solution with Great Western Railway to restore continuous cycle access to the Honeybourne Line via the station forecourt.
We have also seen no material progress on delivering the link between the Honeybourne Line and the A40 via Shelburne Road.
We understand the delay for both elements is due to no contractor being appointed, and we have again written to GWR and sought information from Network Rail on the cause of the ongoing delay.
Gloucestershire County Council Decarbonisation and Cycle Forum
Gloucestershire County Council is consulting on local priorities for transport decarbonisation.
We would encourage local cycle users to respond to the survey which closes on 28 February 2023.
The information provided at the decarbonising transport forum last year shows the huge emissions gaps, and acknowledges that electric cars cannot close this.
It also shows that trips over 20km within the county contribute around 60% of emissions. Whilst this would seem to contradict the need to prioritise active transport, we believe that enabling effective local active travel journeys would increase connectivity to public transport, remove the intra-urban congestion that most impacts public transport reliability, and provide the necessary local mobility to introduce disincentives to private motor vehicle usage.
We remain convinced that these longer distance cycle routes will struggle to achieve the same value for money as local measures, particularly in an environment when spending on active travel remains scarce.
The campaign was pleased to be invited to the county’s new cycle forum, alongside a range of other local clubs and campaign organisations. We remain committed to using the breadth of our skills and diverse range of voices to support the council in effectively promoting cycling, and are still seeking opportunities to work more closely with officers and elected members between these occasional events.
We are finally able to start regular social meetups, building on the successful one off events we held at Deya last year.
We want these to be informal gatherings to connect with others who want improved local cycle facilities, and as a place to swap ideas, tips and stories, and to help the campaign think through issues and priorities.
Our first event is on 7 February in Montpellier Park.
These events will rotate between an early morning meetup, a daytime meetup and a weekend event, and we are in the process of looking for appropriate venues.
Make sure you’ve signed up to our mailing list so we can send you the dates.
Our membership remains stable, although we encourage all members to keep an eye out for your renewal notice so you can continue to support the work that we do.