16 07 Cyclox Circular

Forthcoming Events

Tour de Potholes event Sunday 14th August

Despite an extensive ongoing repair programme, Oxfordshire roads are arguably in the worst condition in living memory, which puts cyclists, in particular, in danger.

Cyclox, the voice of cycling in Oxfordshire, working with Oxfordshire County Council, is asking cyclists across the county to get onto their bikes on Sunday 14 August, from 10am to 1pm, to provide the council with accurate data on road and cycle path defects, using the FixMyStreet app.  Following on from this blitz, Cyclox plans to use FixMyStreet to track the speediness of repairs.

It is well known that there are many competing needs for County Council funds at this time, and with a limited budget for road repairs, this campaign will help to ensure that the worst potholes are prioritised. Cyclox hopes that this event could also provide evidence to enable the council to bid for additional funds to keep Oxon roads in good repair.

The initiative also aims to show cyclists how easy it is to use FixMyStreet if needed in the future.

Gary daLuz Vieira, Cyclox member said

‘I am both a recreational and club cyclist and therefore take a great variety of different routes. While I can generally avoid potholes by swerving, this can take me into the paths of motor vehicles which don’t always give cyclists enough space. I am often tempted to report the worst of the potholes, but have been reluctant to interrupt my ride when I was not sure that this would get the problem fixed. I think the idea of giving time specifically to address the problem, especially knowing that a large number of people are doing the same, is both worthwhile and more likely to have a positive outcome.’

The pothole busting team, along with any interested people, will then meet on Tuesday, 23rd August, at St Michael’s at the Northgate, 7.15pm to review results, discuss our response to the Councils policy on, and budget for, road repairs. We may also award some prizes for the biggest, zaniest, or most unbelievable potholes recorded. For more details please contact a.noel@virginmedia.com orcycloxchair@gmail.com

 

Cycling Jokes wanted for On Yer Bike article

Cyclox members have been writing the On Yer Bike column since March covering a huge range of cycling related topics. Aiming for an article in the August silly season, we wondered if members would like to contribute their favourite cycling jokes.  Could you post up your favourite cycling joke on Facebook or Twitter (for Twitter use the hashtag #cycloxjokes)? Or send to cyclox.circular@cyclox.org  We will acknowledge your contribution in the article if you like.
If you have a topic you would like to write about, or a burning issue that needs coverage contact Kath atcoordinator@cyclox.org. Articles should be 500 words long without pictures. Alison Hill’s recent contribution is at http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/opinion/columns/on_yer_bike/14569633.Cycling__and_singing__in_the_rain/?ref=rss ss

Cargo Bikes mean Business

20th September 7pm
Story Museum courtyard, Pembroke Street
Cyclox is getting a range of cargo bike users to show off their vehicles and if you ask nicely you may perhaps get to try them out.

During the evening people who use bikes for their business (deliveries, food stalls, transport) will be talking about why they set up with cargo bikes and what their experience has been.  We want to celebrate successes but also understand any barriers to growing the cycle based transport/delivery industry in Oxford.

Report from Leiden

Probably 18th October – to be confirmed

As part of a twin town visit to Leiden, three cyclists from Oxford City Council visited and reported enthusiastically on their experience. We are getting them to come to tell us about it and are just finalising details.

Campaigns and Consultations

 

Queen St consultation continues

As part of the Westgate development and proposals to remove buses from Queen Street, bus stops are being repositioned and a turning circle created in New Road. Graham Smith reports on some of the effects:

The roadway in the High will be reduced by a couple of metres, the intention being to install a bus-shelter.
https://consultations.oxfordshire.gov.uk/gf2.ti/-/696002/20591909.1/PDF/-/S000700066FEA000012_Rev3_High_Street.pdf

And the roundabout proposed for the corner of Nuffield College is here: https://consultations.oxfordshire.gov.uk/gf2.ti/-/696002/20786341.1/PDF/-/S000700066FEA000011_New_Rd_Rbt.pdf

Cyclox has expressed concern at the cycle unfriendly nature of this roundabout and we have asked what risk-assessment there has been for people on bikes, not least because it is a cycle super route in LTP4.

Botley Road

Relevant to many cyclists and probably many more would-be cyclists, the Botley Road cycle route is under review by the county council. We don’t think it comes near to meeting super route standards. Have a look – section 2.1.2 on collisions is sobering, and further down table 3.1 shows little change will be achieved east of Binsey Lane due to width constraints. Have your say: https://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/cms/content/connecting-oxfordshire-2015-2031-ltp4

Osney Mead consultation

Cyclox member Kit Thompson attended the consultation open day and had this to say:
The existing Osney Mead is not a lovely thing, and the proposed mix of research facilities etc. and accommodation for researchers seems all very desirable.  Clearly this is very early days, and who knows the University may take some note of comments.

My comments concern transport.

  • Concerning the construction phase of a very large project the transport consultant on hand (a) did not know where Osney Island was and (b) did not realise that Bridge Street would be a problematic entrance for 9 Cubic yard tippers and all the rest.
  • There are fine words about running the university shuttle bus round this new leisure and accommodation complex, but otherwise its the walk down to the Botley Road to catch a bus.
  • There is the implication that as part of the development there will be an extra foot/cycle crossing from Osney Mead and/or Osney island to the new development at Westgate. This is the only option with all green and no red comments on the board.   Closer questioning revealed these to be the County plans for a bridge from Osney Island which is apparently funded and a pedestrian/cycle bridge lower down which is in the Council local plan.  On a  scheme of this size I would imagine that a couple of bridges at least would be the sort of planning gain needed to gain any local support

Simon Hunt comments “Access to Osney Mead on foot and by bike must be designed so as to trump all other means of travel to and from there.  Attractive, convenient and inclusive routes across the railway towards the city centre, and connecting with the Rail Station must be developed.  Approaches using Active Travel modes from the West are just as important.   They must operate 24/7.  Cyclox will press very strongly for these vital improvements.

Unless the County Council executes a huge volte-face, CCAG2 money is already committed, dreadfully wrongly.  It will pay for the proposed better cycleway access from the towpath into Osney Mead and out onto Willow Walk behind Oatlands Rec ground.  County’s  CCAG2 map, attached.
To that extent it’s already integrated into Osney Mead development.  But CCAG2 must be spent long before the Mead is developed.

Funding for cycling improvements can only come from (i) fresh LEP-authorised money (some of which originates from DfT) and (ii) Oxford University, as site developer – which strongly supports cycling. 

Proposal
A cycle & pedestrian route from Osney Lane via Osney Island through to Osney Mead
This would start with a cycle-friendly Osney Lane bridge over the railway (has to be altered for the imminent rail electrification), then  lead across Mill Street into Barrett Street.  It could then cross the Thames with a new bridge (much much more useful than the projected CCAG2 Oxpens bridge) over to South Street.  Then the route would divide:
Either (1) turn south to the end of Bridge Street, through a new route across the present Environment Agency property into Osney Mead (EA likely to relocate soon)
or (2) continue through South Street, West Street, Swan Street to the primary school.
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1sninW-KSufUyvRgn941dHfim6V4&usp=sharing should show you this idea. Comments welcome!

News and Reports

Worcester Street Teardrop Junction

The County Council is seeking further information on cycling incidents (collisions, near-misses) at the “TearDrop” junction.  They say they want to improve it.

Please could anyone who has had a collision or near-miss since they painted the teardrop in February 2015 post their experience to contact@cyclox.org.  We will pass the reports on.

Oxford City develops its Local Plan

Oxford City Council is taking its first steps towards producing a new Local Plan for Oxford. The Oxford Local Plan 2036 will become the main planning policy document for Oxford. The Local Plan is important because it will shape how Oxford develops. It will set out how we want our city to look and feel, guiding new developments to the right locations whilst protecting and improving the environment and people’s quality of life.
This First Steps consultation offers the chance to give your opinion on the issues you think the Local Plan should address, and the ways it might address those issues.

On their website (www.oxford.gov.uk/localplan) the City Council has published background papers on key issues, a sustainability appraisal scoping report and a consultation booklet that poses some questions.

Cyclox Chair  LTP4 speech to County Council

The refreshed LTP4 is an inspiring prospectus and the officer mainly responsible for writing it is to be congratulated.  David Early has pulled together a good route map towards the objective, a mere 14 years from now, when walking and cycling in Oxfordshire will be much more common and enjoyable. The target is actually pretty modest: that 10% of all journeys should be made by bike.   At the moment it’s just 3.2%.  Cyclox wants to play a full part in the Active Travel Steering Group which will drive forward the Strategy set out in LTP4; and in the setting of standards for cycling infrastructure which LTP4 promises.  Prescribing good standards and then auditing their implementation by good quality control are absolutely crucial.

The revised LTP4 hits the nail on the head when it says (Chapter 8, page 57): “Cycling investment benefits everyone, whether or not they cycle. More people cycling means fewer people driving, which reduces congestion and makes a contribution to the reduction of air pollution.”  As we in Cyclox say, “Pedal your bike and Jump the Jams”!

Cyclox greatly appreciates the Council Leader’s commitment to support Active Travel, for example when he joined our recent bike ride looking at the cycling To-Dos as well as the Has-Been-Dones in the centre of the city.  Thank you.  Councillors, you too are to be congratulated for the way in which you all embraced, nem con, the original LTP4 last September.  Please do all you can to put your weight behind it now.

Having a good Plan, though, is no guarantee that the rosy future will actually come about.  Here are two of Cyclox’s concerns, raised by examples of what’s happened since September.  Access to Headingtondoes contain some good bits for cycling, but also much of it falls far far short of the standards needed for a Cycling Super Route.   There has been corner-cutting, and excessive compromise.  Full segregation or semi-segregation is so vital, yet in too many places it still relies just on painted lines that soon wear out, and prayer.  So disappointing, if this is to be how Cycle Super Routes are implemented.  We must do better than this.

Second: money.  In the Budget you agreed last January, the savings found by Environment and Economy – responsible for the Transport funding – were drastic, frequently depending on one-off transfers to Revenue from Capital.  To illustrate, the future budget for fixing potholes is on a downward path yet the condition of our carriageways and cycleways is already shockingly poor, sometimes third-world.  Novel revenue streams must be found, and Cyclox strongly supports the introduction of a workplace parking levy, as foreseen in LTP4.  Nottingham has shown what a difference this can make.  We want you to implement this ASAP.  We also want you to follow the shining example of Edinburgh.  There, the District Council has enacted a policy for increasing the proportion of its transport budget – both Capital and Revenue – to be spent on cycling.  From 5% in 2012/3 it has risen by 1% each year (now 8%) towards its eventual goal of 10%.  This has enabled steadier, longer-term planning, and the results are beginning to show.  Cyclox calls on you to enact a similar long-term-funding policy when you draw up the next Budget.

The revised LTP4 is full of statements like “when funds permit”.  Funds won’t permit, unless you, councillors, want them to.

LTP4 is, generally speaking, a good, a hopeful, blueprint.  By accepting it, councillors, you will be willing the end; now provide the means.

– Simon Hunt, Chair, Cyclox.  12 July 2016.  contact@cyclox.org

And finally …

 

Sharing the road amicably

As cyclists seek to claim their space in the roads, it may be helpful to think of the road as a commons, as proposed by environmental historian James Longhurst in his new book Bike Battles: A History of Sharing the American Roadhttps://entitleblog.org/2016/06/23/the-road-as-a-commons-an-interview-with-james-longhurst-author-of-bike-battles-2015/

 

Front Panniers free to a good home

Judith Secker is offering her Halfords touring front panniers (used only once) to someone who will make good use of them. Contact Judith on judith.secker@tiscali.co.uk  if you are interested.

Getting the long grass cut

The Oxford – Eynsham A 40 cycle track is overgrown with grass tall enough to snag handlebars and overhanging enough to irritate legs in shorts.If you experience this on any cycle track, can you make a report it on the County Council’s website here :-

http://fixmystreet.oxfordshire.gov.uk/?utm_source=FURL-1&utm_medium=report&utm_term=nil&utm_content=&utm_campaign=report

The county will probably simply say its a district council thing, but should pass it on. Over grown grass has got a mention in the online Oxford Mail so you might like to report it there too…
http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/14568513.Overgrown_grass_verges__where_are_the_worst_ones_in_Oxfordshire_/

Lies, damned lies…

This long but readable rebuttal of some recent claims about social class and road space given over to cycling in London is worth a read, though less applicable in Oxford where our cycle super highways are still at the planning stage.
https://cyclableblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/12/cyclings-dodgy-dossier/

And for a more angry overview of how funding for cycling is being cut:
www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/commentators/2987731/lies_damn_lies_and_the_national_cycling_strategy.html

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