After our August break, the committee met online for our September committee meeting. Membership had increased to a total of 138.
Our response to the Gloucestershire Road Safety Plan
We minuted our final response to the county’s road safety consultation, which we have also published on our website. This was supported by a detailed analysis by one of our committee members, John Franklin, also available with our response.
We’ve challenged that the strategy does not contain sufficient action to achieve its ambition of reversing the upward trend in ‘Killed and Seriously Injured’ collisions in Gloucestershire in recent years, reiterating concerns we have already shared about Gloucestershire’s road building increasing volume and why the increases in cycling require action on local streets, and not just single arterial schemes.
Cheltenham to Gloucester route
The latest section from Elbridge Court to Estcourt roundabouts has been published for consultation. Members will be invited to submit comments, and the committee will prepare a detailed response.
Some committee members had had difficulty opening the detailed plans, and the campaign has therefore published a ‘mashup’ and image converted files to assist people in engaging.
Petition regarding A40 rumble strips
The petition has now closed, and had attracted over seventy signatures from our membership and social media presence. It highlighted frustrations not just about this section, but also concerns that a similar approach could be taken for other sections of cycle track works around the county.
The committee hoped that the petition would both see improvements made to the existing section, as well as better solutions being adopted in future schemes.
The petition will be formally submitted to county council later this month. [Post meeting note – due to the death of HRH Queen Elizabeth II, the committee decided to delay the submission of the petition until a later date]
Lower High Street Vehicular Access
In monitoring traffic flows through the town centre, committee members had been concerned to note that signage prohibiting motor vehicle access to the lower High Street appears to have been removed. This clearly introduces additional conflict into an important walking and cycling route.
The committee chair had written to Cllr Morris, but we have not yet received a reply on whether this is an intentional or accidental change. We have now contacted district borough councillors to see if they can assist us with raising the issue.
Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) responses
We had previously responded to Gloucestershire County Council on their TRO for Church Road along the A40 cycleway. We had highlighted the challenge of cycle movements onto Church Road being technically prohibited, as well as the need for signage reinforcing the need for motor vehicle users to look both ways. We highlighted problems with this section in our previous consultation response.
The council have responded that cycle movements onto Church Road cannot be allowed because of the design that was selected, and that they will be awaiting the outcome of the stage 3 safety audit before progressing any changes.
We also responded to an early engagement regarding a TRO near Ashchurch station, highlighting that proposed changes to parking could further compromise the already poor cycle path on the Western approach. We subsequently learned that there had been a complaint made by a local councillor regarding proposals to charge for car parking, and the scheme has subsequently been withdrawn. A later statement by the council says that it was advertised in error and there is no current plan.
County Cycle Forum
The campaign is still waiting to find out if it will be invited to attend the county’s new cycle forum and engagement meetings. The previous version of this forum grew out of a meeting set up by the local cycle campaigns, so the committee remains disappointed there has been a hiatus in connecting with us.
A recent information request has shown that the terms of reference suggests membership may depend on us “publicly supporting new cycling schemes, barring constructive political opposition”, and that this may be a barrier given our opposition to some county activities as a non-political entity.
We continue to attempt to engage with the county, and hope there will be a route for us to support cycling in Gloucestershire, even if we disagree on some issues and schemes. These terms of reference have not been widely distributed yet, and there may still be opportunity for revision.
The committee affirmed that our primary focus remains as being a voice for local cycle users in and around Cheltenham and Tewkesbury, and that this would not be compromised just for a ‘seat at the table’.
The free e-newsletter has been well received, and continues to grow. We encourage members to sign up, and also to share the link with others who are interested in cycling.
We’ll have news next month about our bike stickers to help local cycle users show their support for the campaign.