15 03 Cyclox Circular

Cyclox Circular March 15

Next event:  17th March, St Michael in the Northgate, 7.30pm:

Yoga and cycling!  A perfect blend for keeping fit and supple. Cyclox member and Yoga teacher Lucy Tennyson will offer advice on how yoga helps us cycle.

Joint meeting with OxPA

7pm Tuesday March 24

St Aldates room, Town Hall

Guest speakers Daniel Round and Martin Kraftl from Oxfordshire County Council will give a presentation about the new Local Transport Plan (LTP)  and answer our questions.  Consultation on the LTP has been extended until April 2nd, so our meeting is well-timed for us to make an informed response.  If you cannot come to the meeting and would like information about LTP, please visit www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/cms/content/local-transport-plan-2011-2030.

Hustings for bikes

7.30pm 21st April

Venue to be decided

We plan to hold a meeting with invited candidates for the parliamentary seats on 21st April. More details soon. This will be preceded by the annual survey of councillors’ views on cycling in the city.

Buses, bikes and pedestrians

Tuesday  April 28th

Not finalised but plans are for a meeting with the bus companies perhaps with Hugh Jaeger and Richard Mann?

Report on Cyclox meeting on the Dual network policy

In a packed hall our three speakers, Kevin Hickman (cantstandupforfallingdown.com), Richard Mann (transportparadise.org) and Danny Yee (wanderingdanny.com) set off a lively debate which will inform Cyclox policy. In essence the conclusion at the meeting is that our effort should go on getting the best cycle provision along routes that are heavily used by cyclists already – which largely means the main roads. Danny’s graphs showed the mismatch between real cycling what transport planners think goes on.http://wanderingdanny.com/oxford/2015/02/oxford-cyclists-actual-and-potential/

Cooperative bank account

Thank you to the many members who have changed their standing order to our new account. I will be writing specifically again to those yet to change and will send out a paper copy with our renewal notice in the next few weeks.

Helping with our stalls

As spring appears we begin to plan our stalls – and we need a few volunteers to make them a success – do get in touch with Kathryn kathryn@kmcnicoll.co.uk if you would enjoy chatting with cyclists about their experiences in Oxford.

Hythe Bridge St and Frideswide Square

After a few heart in mouth near misses, and even some collisions, the HBS junction now has a painted central reservation for bikes to hide in until they can go straight ahead. Not a great story and perhaps an indication of the prominence that cycling has in transport planning. Susanna Pressel deserves credit for acting promptly to ensure it was fixed. It prompted renewed consideration  of a Vehicle-free Hythe Bridge Street and routing motor vehicles instead via Park End. It would beclearly very much better for pedestrians, notably newcomers to Oxford using the rail station and the associated future bus/coach station in the Network Rail masterplan, and for cyclists. And there would be great benefits to public realm, not only of Hythe Bridge (desperately needs it) but also consequently for Frideswide Square (with only a single Eastern entry and exit for vehicles, the “Boulevard” concept would work much better; also Oxpens-bound vehicles would get a better route by disallowing Hythe Bridge and the left turn outside Oxford Hotel). These arguments were put by Cyclox and the Pedestrians’ Association OxPA in 2009-10 as part of Frideswide discussions. They were immediately dismissed by the County planners as beyond the scope of the Frideswide Square revision.  The main reason was probably the County’s fear that vehicle through-flows in FS would be unacceptably diminished.  The long grass into which our proposal was batted has continued to grow unmown. Frideswide is now roundabouted and pedestrians are struggling to find anywhere to cross. As at the Plain, ironically, bikes generally have an easier ride while roadworks are going on.

City Cycle Ambition fund- Oxfordshire’s successful bid – see attached plan

http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/top_news/11826377.New__bridge_over_Thames_will_provide_off_road_cycle_link_after_Government_puts_up_cash/?ref=rss&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Four million pounds or thereabouts, all for Oxford cycling!  But oh dear, miles off the bullseye 🙁

Simon Hunt writes:

Oxfordshire County Council, who are responsible for developing all transport infrastructure in both City and County, put in a bid for the second tranche of Cycle City Ambition Grant funding. This is the Government’s pot of money for cycling in cities (altogether eight around the country) that earlier paid for most of the Plain project now being implemented. They gave only four weeks between the publication of the quite strict guidelines for bid preparation (Dec 30th) to bid submission (Jan 30th). No cycling group was consulted on any aspect. The day before submission, Cyclox was asked to submit a letter of support.  We felt unable to.  The County scheme will (i) upgrade the Thames towpath from the Cherwell confluence, via Osney Mead estate, to North Hinksey and (ii) build a new bridge from the towpath to Oxpens just downstream of where the railway crosses the Thames.  It had some aspects of some value, but in our view it’s a lot lower in priority than other possibilities needed sooner and with much greater benefit for would-be cyclists.

The gulf in communication was drawn to the attention of Nicola Blackwood MP, who consequently convened last week a meeting of the most senior County politicians and officers with us.  It was agreed to make our voice heard better in future, by incorporating the Oxfordshire Cycling Network (the confederation of cycling groups which includes Cyclox) into discussions at the “top table” for funding transport projects shire-wide.  That should be a plus, but it won’t alter the towpath scheme.

Latest news:  the Department for Transport is very shortly to announce that the project will be funded, likely to be around £3 to £3.5 million from the Government plus some additional local funds.  It is truly marvellous that such a large sum of money will be spent on Oxford-related cycling infrastructure, but such a shame that more pressing needs will not come first.

Craig Rossington comments: As you know, we had an extremely limited amount of time to submit a bid for this second round of Cycle City Ambition Grant. Of course we thought about a number of alternative projects that could have been included in the submission but in the end we felt that the bridge at Oxpens and links to and from it fitted best with what DfT was saying the infrastructure would need to achieve. We needed to make clear links to growth and so Westgate, Oxpens and the rail station all fitted well with our bid. If we are successful, we’ll obviously be keen to hear from stakeholders about how we can get the most out of the money within the context of our submission.

Members views:

James Larminie

  • If you can improve things for cyclists without making things worse for other road users like buses, delivery vehicles and even cars, then surely that is a good thing, not evil.
  • People have opposed this idea as the route already “almost” exists, and is quite well used. That’s another thing in it’s favour! At the moment the route is made MUCH less useful by a small missing link. That’s why it’s such a good idea, it plays to something that is quite good, and makes it even better, by having a very difficult missing link (crossing the river) fixed. It takes a route that goes part of the way, and improves it so that it goes the whole way.
  • I thought that it was Cyclox policy to recognise that although most Cyclox members will prefer to use roads, we also need to have useful routes that are mainly off road, even if a bit slower. This is for the frail cyclist, the learner cyclist, the wobbly cyclist, the cycling child of a nervous parent, and even cyclists with special needs. There are many people who are NEVER going to cycle near a 10 tonne bus or lorry, and we should have something to offer such people.
  • I agree that the reference to getting to the station in the ‘Bid Summary’ is not helpful, but there are other good aspects missed – such as the link to Brookes Harcourt Hill, and indeed all of North Hinksey, West Oxford and parts of Botley, and as part of an interesting and scenic trans-Oxford route.
  • I think Cyclox should back  this plan with enthusiasm!

Liz Batty

  • I think it’s a huge amount of money to spend on some minor improvements to a mostly already existing route which isn’t useful for that many cyclists on that many journeys. £3.3million is about 4x the government contribution to the Plain, which was at least an effort to fix a key junction used by many cyclists on a daily basis.
  • It is great if we can improve things for cyclists without taking space away from cars, but I don’t think it’s great to push cyclists onto slow and circuitous routes rather than providing safe infrastructure for them on the direct routes. If this is to be a useful route for less confident cyclists to encourage them to cycle everyday journeys, then it would be much more useful if it linked into a safe route to the train station, or to an extension of the cycle lanes along Donnington Bridge/down Iffley Road to make it accessible from East Oxford, or linked up with a proper route across the Oatlands Rec Ground so you can get to the Botley Road shops bypassing Botley Road itself. I will wait to see detailed plans about how much they can improve the towpath, but encouraging lots of cyclists to use a route which is all shared with pedestrians seems bound to bring increased conflicts.
  • I don’t object to the changes that are being made because they’re mostly small to moderate improvements to that route (although I think improving the cycle route across the Friars Wharf bridge on NCN5 might be more beneficial than building an extra bridge).
  • I just think it’s a shame that the scheme isn’t more like, say, the Cambridge application: http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/info/20006/travel_roads_and_parking/68/transport_funding_bids_and_studieswhich aims to provide safe, direct, high capacity routes that will attract non-cyclists. I know that we are in a different city with different challenges, but it doesn’t seem like Oxford’s bid is anywhere near as ambitious.

Northern Gateway consultation

This hugely controversial development has all sorts of transport difficulties to overcome. Cyclox’ response is on our website:

http://www.cyclox.org/improving-cycling-infrastructure/c-northern-gateway/

Cycling and Walking Strategy success

Nationally campaigners have achieved a turnaround in policy by forcing the government to put active travel on a par with railways and cars by creating a cycling and walking strategy which will lead to dedicated investment. http://tinyurl.com/khy37cq

Cyclox Ranger on the beat

Cyclox member Michael Price offered to look at cycling problems in and around Rose Hill. He followed the cycle routes and created the attached map with blue dots showing where there are problems of which this is a classic:

He is working on  creating a live google map to illustrate these problems. He would be happy to help others interested in surveying their home patch.

Westgate development

Simon asks: Can anyone bear to go through the 198 planning documents at http://public.oxford.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=NANKHUMF0V100   to find the detail about the planned cycle Hub, and the still-inadequate cycleparking?

Thank you, Craig Rossington!

Quietly and slowly a few long-awaited improvements have happened:

On Queen’s Lane the awkward gate barrier has been removed and replaced with three neat posts, giving lots of options for cyclists and pedestrians arriving at the same time.

The High St / Longwalls traffic lights have a cycle only green phase. Not as dramatic as Cambridge but very welcome all the same.

Meeting with Nicola Blackwood

Oxfordshire’s cycle groups met with Abingdon and West Oxford MP. Nicola Blackwood MP arranged a meeting for us with Ian Hudspeth David Nimmo Smith of OCC.  This was in response to the Council’s CCAG2 bid being one that was not done in consultation with, or support from any cycling group. Also at the meeting were Nigel Tipple, Chief Exec of the LEP , John Disley, Policy and Strategy Manager at OCC. On the cycling side were Robin Tucker, Ian Leggett, Simon Hunt, and John Blackie of BikeSafe. We discussed our disappointment at the bid and how we shared an aspiration to create a vision of a future cycling network and a list of potential schemes.  Nigel Tipple suggested that a cycling representative join the LEP Transport Group.  Robin Tucker, chair of Oxfordshire Cycle Network offered to do this.

We also agreed to work with John Disley, responding to LTP4 and continuing work to develop a vision and plans.  He was particularly interested in the ‘Desire line’ modelling which provides an objective basis on which to plan a network.

Robin asked whether the LEP Transport Sub-group is the same as the Local Transport Board – No. The Transport sub-group is a LEP meeting chaired by the LEP Chairman and separate from LTB which has now been incorporated in to the Oxfordshire Growth Board. https://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/cms/content/oxfordshire-growth-board. Unfortunately no major transport discussions are visible since the last LTB on 4 March 2014.

Fresh air in a good cause

Oxford to London ride to the Climate March: Trinity Gates 7.45am, Sat 7th March

Meet outside Trinity Gates (Trinity College, Broad Street) at 7.45am to cycle 109km via a thrilling route down to London.  Once in London we will join with other cyclists in a slow procession to lead the #TimeToAct2015 Climate March. Note this is a do-it-yourself event i.e. there will be no signs/marshals/feed stops, you must be entirely self-sufficient.  Having said that if you are an experienced cyclist and fancy getting involved we’d love to have you along as it’s going to be epic! Full details including the route and sign-up can be found here:https://www.facebook.com/events/1407961612840958

Cycle Treasure Hunt Sunday 19th of April 2015

Charity fundraising event in aid of Missing People www.missingpeople.org.uk Cycle around the Oxfordshire countryside, solve the clues and be the first to collect the treasure. You will need to combine brain power and pedal power to beat the other cycle pirates…  There are two treasure hunts to take part in – with treasure to be won for both hunts. Push yourself in our ‘Challenging’ 26 miles ride or enjoy the hunt in our 11 mile ‘Family’ ride. Moderate fitness needed. Star prize for the team who is quickest to successfully complete both treasure hunts. A fun and challenging way to spend time with friends/family for a great cause.

Venue: The George Pub Littlemore, Oxford, OX4 4PU,

Registration: Doors open 10am Treasure Hunts Starts: 11am Prizes and raffle draw: 2.30 -3.00pm

Entry: Teams of up to 4 people Donation: £3 per person / £10 for team of 4

For more information www.cycle4missing.com

 

Strict Liability Law for Motorists

Many will know the importance of this legislation in changing driver behaviour, which RoadPeace has long campaigned for. 38 degrees now has a petition you may like to support:

http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/strict-liability-law-for-motorists

Team Beryl

Inspired by women? Interested in cycling? Want to hear inspiring female cyclists talk? Join Team Beryl at Zappi’s Café (upstairs at 28-32 Saint Michael’s Street) on Saturday 7th March from 7-9pm. We’re chuffed to be hosting three inspiring speakers telling us their awesome tales. All welcome and entrance is free! Purchase your drinks from the cafe from 7pm.  Talks will begin at 7.30pm.  All are welcome! Information about the event is on our website (http://bsbcoop.org/beryls-back-for-international-womens-day/) Team Beryl exists to help bridge the gender gap in the cycling world.  We are a group of female volunteers at the Broken Spoke Bike Co-op, Oxford’s own DIY (do-it-yourself) bicycle workshop that teaches people of all ages and backgrounds how to ride and repair bicycles.

 

Public bike pumps

There are public bike pumps in Melbourne and in London. A couple in Oxford (perhaps in the Broad, perhaps with a nice Cyclox logo on them) would be a welcome addition to the public realm. Cyclox will consider whether this would be a good use of funds. Further details: http://www.cyclehoop.com/pumps/ — London locations

Bike Boom crowd funding

Those who heard Carlton Reid speak last year will be pleased to know that he is writing another book and using the internet to fund it. Carlton writes: The project can be accessed at  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/carltonreid/bike-boom-the-book There are plenty of pledge levels, from £1 to, er, £1,095, and every penny will go towards making Bike Boom as good a read and as popular as my first history book. I appreciate the support I get from Kickstarter backers. They’ll get rewards, such as first edition books, but they’re also plugged in to the backer-only emails that will chart the progress of the book.